Enlightenment and the Call to Awakened Creativity

Dear Toby,

Those of you in Asia I hope you had a nice holiday yesterday as Wesak, or Buddhas birthday was celebrated. The article below is the result of my own reflections on the creative process of enlightenment, thinking about the Buddha in particular.

Final call for those who may be interested in the 3 hour Mindful Self Leadership Workshop in Singapore this Sunday 18th May, 9.30am-12.30. Click on the link for details!

Yours mindfully and creatively,

Toby

PS: Click on the picture to find out about Buddha shaped pears!


Enlightenment and the Call to Awakened Creativity

I’m writing this article on Wesak day, or Buddha’s birthday, and the occasion has led me to have a go at expressing something that has been on my mind for a little while which is basically this; The great enlightened leaders of different eras for example Buddha, the Christ, Krishna responded to their experience of spiritual enlightenment with courageous creative acts of worldly innovation.

For example one of the things that the Buddha did was to create whole new class of citizen. Back in India 600BC as a man you had three options; either you were of the class of nobleman, or the warrior class or the servant/slave class. If you were in the tiny minority of noblemen, then life would have been good, but if you were a warrior or a slave you really were not operating with much freedom. If you were a woman the choices were correspondingly limited.
So what the Buddha did was to create a new class of citizen – the ordained Sangha – or community of monks and nuns who were essentially able to side step the three class options and live peacefully, supported by laypeople and focus on getting enlightened themselves and being of service to the community at large. It is difficult for us to appreciate fully today what an amazing act of social innovation this was on the part of the Buddha, as today we live in a very different society where, relatively speaking we have very different freedoms and limitations. At the time of the Buddha many, many men and women were socially liberated in the way through the creative this creative act of Buddha.

So then, the interesting thing to me is that while the truly great enlightened people and leaders innovate and act with dynamic creativity, the people that follow them mainly seem just to seek to follow the rules that got set down after their death – they do not seem to feel the imperative to act creatively, to take chances, to innovate, to respond to the genuine organic needs of their life and times.

To become spiritually enlightened means basically this; to be interested in developing your consciousness and to be focused on the process of seeing and integrating your inner and outer reality as clearly and courageously as you can. Spiritual enlightenment is a process with many levels of unfolding. I’m at a certain level of spiritual development; you are at a certain level of development. At each level I believe we have a responsibility not just to gain insight into our reality, but also to respond to that insight with action and creativity. This means to be taking active responsibility for expressing your own enlightenment (on whatever level you are at) in your life. Very often that will mean taking a chance, engaging in something a little experimental.

The main thing is that you get in the habit of expressing your enlightened creativity now, today, at least a little.

Happy Wesak day!

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