creativity is a property of consciousness itself

… awareness is endlessly creative,
continually creating everything
that arises in the universe,
and also continually destructive
in that every ‘thing’, which is
ephemeral, finally returns back
into that.

[The following article was written especially for The Awakened Eye website by author, poet and potter Colin Drake. Gratitude!]

The universe is the manifestation of cosmic energy, which is consciousness in motion, for energy is synonymous with motion and consciousness is the substratum in (and from) which all things arise, in which they exist and back into which they subside.  Another name for consciousness, when it is still, is awareness, for by definition consciousness is conscious and thus aware of everything occurring in it.  So ‘The Awakened Eye’ is a good definition of awareness itself which is always awake and ‘sees’ every movement (thing) occurring in it. So it can be readily seen that awareness is endlessly creative, continually creating everything that arises in the universe, and also continually destructive in that every ‘thing’, which is ephemeral, finally returns back into that.  For all motion arises in stillness, exists in stillness, is known by its comparison with stillness, and eventually subsides back into stillness.  For example, if you walk across a room, before you start there is stillness, as you walk the room is still and you know you are moving relative to this stillness, and when you stop once again there is stillness.  In the same way every ‘thing’ (consciousness in motion) arises in awareness (consciousness at rest), exists in awareness, is known in awareness and subsides back into awareness.  Awareness is still, but is the container of all potential energy which is continually bubbling up into manifestation (physical energy) and then subsiding back into stillness. [1] This can be seen to be the case in the natural world which contains endless variety and in which all things are impermanent.  Within this, living organisms are continually reproducing and evolving which is proof of their creativity.  This shows that creativity is a property of consciousness itself and this can especially be demonstrated in the human species which is continually discovering, inventing and creating.  Judaism actually regards that humans are partners (and instruments) of God (consciousness) in creation:

Genesis 2 v.3 states that ‘God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day he ceased from all the work he had set himself to do’.  Jewish commentators read this to mean that God left creation unfinished so that man could serve as ‘a partner to God in the act of creation’. [2]

So it is not surprising that we all feel the urge to be creative in small ways, such as the way we cook a meal, up to the grander schemes such as writing an opera or designing an opera house … When we can give reign to our natural creativity this naturally makes us feel go(o)d and when this is stifled it creates frustration and feelings of low self-esteem.  It is often posited that if Adolf Hitler had been accepted into Art College when a young man, then World War Two and the Holocaust would not have taken place!

Luckily today many of us live in a world where we can give free range to our creativity, whether it is in writing, cooking, sewing, painting, building, potting, gardening etc. Not only that but, due to the internet and social networking, we can display the products of our creativity for all the world to see. In my case I have been especially fortunate having spent the last 30 years as a potter and for the last 11 years I have combined this with writing. If it were not for the internet my articles and books would never have been published.

When it comes to non-dual awareness, that is when we recognise that at the deeper level we are awareness itself in which thoughts/mental images/sensations (body/mind) come and go, this can be very useful in the creative process. For then the small self (ego) is no longer in the way with its petty judgments, self importance, self concern, self interest etc. When this occurs we see things as they truly ‘are’ and the natural world is much more engaging when seen from this viewpoint:

For instance we have all had glimpses of this at various times in our lives, often when seeing a beautiful sunset, a waterfall or some other wonderful natural phenomenon. These may seem other-worldly or intensely vivid, until the mind kicks in with any evaluation when everything seems to return to ‘normal’. In fact nature is much more vivid and alive when directly perceived, and the more we identify with the ‘perceiver’, as awareness itself, the more frequently we see things ‘as they are’. [3]

In my case all of my prose and poems on non-duality are the direct result of my meditations/contemplations, and are thus written from the ‘awakened’ viewpoint. I must hasten to add that I do not claim to be totally awake and I still ‘nod off’ from time to time when I re-identify with the body/mind. Luckily writing on this subject keeps one awake, whilst it is taking place, as one is continually ‘aware of awareness’ whilst writing about awareness itself. So for me it has been a great boon to be able to continually ponder and write on this subject. I would urge you all to write down your own discoveries whilst investigating the nature of self-identity and awareness. For the pondering of these and writing new findings will help to keep you awake.


Colin Drake: wood fired teapot

With regard to my other activity which would commonly be considered to be creative – that as a potter – I find that this is enhanced when the small self, and all of its concerns, are absent. I produce a range of restaurant ware which consists of throwing multiple copies of the same item on my kick wheel. This occurs effortlessly when it happens automatically i.e. when the body and working mind work together in unison without the discursive thinking and mind-spinning of the ego occurring. Sometimes this is the case spontaneously and I work happily with a still mind (except when it is needed to consider the work in hand) and when the mind is busy with fruitless activity I listen to the radio, or a satsang tape, to give it something to focus on whilst the body gets on with the work.


Colin Drake: wood fired, salt glazed bowl

 For many years my wife and I produced a range of domestic ware all of which was wood fired and some of which was salt glazed. Unfortunately such ware went completely out of fashion and we no longer fire our large wood kiln. The beauty of this ware was that the colour (glaze) on the exterior of the pots was almost entirely produced by the firing process itself, that is by the red flashing of the wood flames and the natural ash glaze created as wood ash floated throughout the kiln and settled (then melting) on the pots. In some cases this was enhanced by throwing large quantities of salt into the firebox at very high temperatures, when the salt would decompose and volatilise. The sodium vapour produced was carried throughout the kiln by the flames and pull of the chimney and this reacted with the silica in the clay body to produce a glazed finish. The iron in the clay body would resist this process causing the characteristic mottled ‘orange peel’ finish. The great thing about both of these techniques was that the potter had only limited control over the outcome and the glaze on the finished products was as much due to nature itself as to the skill of the potter. Thus they were all unique and had a feel of spontaneity about them.  In this respect they were the outcome of the small self (the potter) being negated and allowing nature to take its course.

– Colin Drake

[1] Colin Drake, Beyond The Separate Self, Tomewin, 211, p.43
[2] Colin Drake, Humanity Our Place in the Universe, Tomewin, 211, p.16
[3] Colin Drake, Beyond The Separate Self, Tomewin, 211, p.15

Text and images copyright Colin Drake

Colin’s books can be sampled, purchased and downloaded at


Colin Drake: Beyond the Separate Self

Beyond the Separate Self
Colin Drake

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