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Creativity as a Spiritual Practice: An Overview
by Sarah Stockton

For me, devotion to the creative life without conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit is like swimming toward shore without noticing the water all around me. I may still make my goal, but at the cost of overlooking the force, wonder, and very essence of what I am moving through, what I am immersed in, what I both grapple with and rest upon. The shore is the creative goal and swimming is the manifestation of my creative impulse, but the water is what makes the journey possible at all.

The impulse to create — an impulse familiar to so many — is part of our yearning to live. When we become aware of and then act upon our creative impulses, we recognize and align ourselves with the Holy Spirit, the Sacred Breath of Life, the Divine One, the Ground of our Being. For in the creative process we attempt to give life to our own understanding and experience of existence.

The similarities and interconnections between spiritual practice and creative practice are profound. People can create without conscious recognition or integration of spirit, but the process pales in comparison, and what is created lacks something of its essence. The creative process can become distorted, even destructive. A dimension is missing that robs both the creator and the receiver of the opportunity for transformation. Creating when immersed in spirit, becomes a pathway toward a closer connection to God.

A Suggested Creative Practice

In your chosen medium, create a representation of your understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role in creation. Using paint, cloth, images, sound, movement, found objects, words… whatever tools feel right to you … begin to describe and portray your definition and experience of spirit-infused creation. You might create a small fountain, or work with certain colors, or dance in the garden. Try not to overanalyze this practice before you begin. Just allow yourself to feel, and then let that feeling flow out of you in a creative act as you imagine “the spirit moving in me as Creator.”

A Suggested Writing Practice

Take a few minutes to reflect on your experience. Then, in a journal or a large piece of paper, or on a keyboard, begin to chronicle what this experience was like. This may come out in simple words and phrases or in paragraphs. Use whichever form feels right. You may want to ask yourself:

  • What unexpected image or feeling arose as I read and then practiced being creative in this way?

  • What avenue opened up that I want to explore?

  • What is my own definition of creativity as a spiritual practice?

Excerpted from “Creativity as a Spiritual Practice: An Online Retreat.”

Sarah Stockton is an explorefaith.org author, trained spiritual director, parent and teacher. She is the author of the explorefaith.org book A Pen and a Path: Writing as a Spiritual Practice. Visit her website at www.centeredpath.com.


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