Q: What happens to creativity (writing painting music… ) when you awake from the dream of dualism ?
A (Peter): What happens to waves when they are known to be nothing but water? Do all waves lose their distinctiveness? Do they suddenly freeze mid-motion?
It is an error to believe that either there is a blank, distinctionless ‘non-duality’ or a rich, exciting, variegated universe. There is only consciousness and every exciting, beautiful thing – gross and subtle – is an expression of it. The painting, the act of painting, the impulse to paint, the paint, the brush, the painter are all an expression of the secondless, non-dual consciousness.
A (Ramesam): An excellent question that really touches the heart of Non-duality.
And who can answer it better than an Artist and an accomplished Non-dual Teacher, Rupert Spira!
In the finality of the things you come to understand that Love, Beauty, Art and so on, which are all expressions of Creativity, whenever and wherever they may occur, are just synonyms for Consciousness.
Rupert discusses with Chris Hebard the convergence of Art, Beauty, Intelligence and Non-dual Consciousness taking as examples the Poetry of William Blake and another poet, Paintings of Cezanne, landscapes in nature and also Ceramic Art by himself. The beauty of this dialog haunts you forever and so does the way the conversation is ended with the reading of the Poem “The Unknowable Reality of Things” – a poem about writing poems. Chris refers in their talk to the beauty of a Concerto or a feminine figure too. Thus all forms of creativity get covered by them.
Here is the link to the July 2009 Interview of Rupert by Chris Hebard on the subject of Art and Consciousness (about 47:30 min):
It will be presumptuous to add anything more if one watches the above Video and enjoys it fully dissolving oneself into the scene savoring – at least as much as I did – each word spoken there.
But if some words of explanation are still needed, however tasteless they maybe, well, here they are.
Creativity does not happen in duality as you seem to have assumed in posing this question. It is not a particular “person with a name and form” that creates. You see, you may have the most colorful and technologically sophisticated telephone sitting on your table. If there is no human being talking through it, you can hardly expect any sensible conversation to happen. The instrument cannot think of a word by itself, forget about any creative expression emerging out of it. The human body is not superior to or better than any of those gadgets. Otherwise, even corpses should have been able to write poetry or create wall paintings. So to say that the body and its identifying descriptors of a ‘personality’ write poems, do paintings or sculpts art is basically wrong. Creativity comes from the formless and nameless Consciousness. Art is Consciousness expressing Itself unimpeded by all those fallacious appearances of a “Me” or “I”. The body is merely a tool through which Consciousness speaks when the ‘ego’ is absent.
In ancient India of Vedic period, it was more customary not to make “authorship” claims for any ‘creative’ work by an individual person in deference to this understanding.
The Chicago Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks of “flow” when a person is not conscious of himself/herself and acts in total dissolution of his personality within a situation. Such an action, whether in sports or art, turns out to be highly creative and shines as the best of their creed. On the other hand actions done by a person highly ‘conscious of himself and keeps a ‘me and my ego’ at center stage will be effortful and are usually beset with problems.
[This is not any pejorative comment on the present day society which has developed a set of norms of IPR and assignment of credits to persons as a means of providing sustenance to individuals within the prevailing economic rubric. The whole social structure is based on a different logic at the present day unlike in the olden times.]
So let us be clear that all expressions of creativity emerge from Consciousness and not a ‘person.’ It is not a question of ‘before or after’ enlightenment. In fact, the moments of ‘creative activity’ can be considered to be glimpses of Oneness manifesting through that individual when (s)he is not lost in the dream of a separate ‘self’.
A (Meenakshi): To start with, awakening from the dream of dualism is only through knowledge. There is no other awakening. Realization, nirvANa, awakening etc are the ubiquitous terms which attract people, though these are figurative terms. The real awakening is cognitive.
Once we wake up from sleep, we have a cognitive appreciation of dream being unreal. Nothing else happens. We do not literally kill the ‘dream tiger’ or destroy the dream world. We negate it as unreal.
After gaining knowledge, one understands with conviction that one is the ultimate truth. The reality is here and now. There is no seeker left since the seeker himself is the sought.
What happens to the world then? Unlike the dream world which vanishes, the waking world continues. One’s bank account, spouse, property, job etc all still exist. If one is living a life of a recluse, then his few possessions continue, along with the world. There is no change in the external world. It is as it was before.
Creativity will not diminish. What one does out of it, might or might not change. An artist may choose to continue his art form. At this stage, though his creativity is the same, his appreciation of Ishvara as the total may help him more in his art. He admires the total in a dew drop, in a musical note, in the stroke of a brush, in every word and meaning. This helps him express his resourcefulness even more.
On the other hand, one who has come to cognize the truth may choose to discontinue his art. Post knowledge one may choose to live a life of a recluse which is traditionally called vidvat sanyAsa (e.g. Ramana Maharshi, Swami Tapovanam). Some may choose a philanthropic work instead. Others might take to teaching what they have learnt.
Creativity will remain as such but the willingness to unmask the talent may subside.
A (Sitara): As I am not an artist, I would like to refer to an enlightened one who is: Rupert Spira. On his website there are lots of talks on art. One in particular, I think, is worth reading regarding this question:
A (Dhanya): What happens? If the question is what happens to the creativity of the individual who is either a writer, a painter or a musician, then my answer would be, “I don’t know.” No one can say with certainty what the future will bring.
However if you are asking in a more general way—which is what I think you are doing—then I would say nothing happens.
Creativity, as you call it—being a good writer, a painter, a musician—all of these are considered to be vibhutis, i.e. glories of the Lord, glories of the creation, of duality.
If one is endowed with one or many of these skills it is considered to be an aspect of one’s prarabdha karma (the karmas which brought one into this birth and which will follow one through to one’s death).
On a practical note, it seems to me that if one continues on with these activities, one will become even more skilled in a sense, or let’s say one’s creativity would be less inhibited.
What I have seen with my own eyes is that jnanis seem to become even more focused and more effective at whatever actions they are doing because their minds aren’t getting in the way. Not that their minds aren’t functioning, because they are, but rather because the exhausting mental chatter of a mind obsessed with pursuing likes and dislikes has calmed down and subsided.
If one recognizes ‘all of this is myself,’ and at the same time acknowledges that duality is the play of the Lord, and that from the point of view of action, one is an integrated into that play or flow, then it seems to me that the attitude would be, ‘Whatever happens will happen,’ which would include making music, art, or writing. One goes along with it, watching in wonder and marveling all the way, knowing it is all the Lord’s glory.
A (Dennis): My immediate response would be that enlightenment entails the realization who-you-really-are is responsible for the appearance of the entire ‘creation’. Man’s petty attempts to write music or literature, or use pigments to make marks on paper, pale into insignificance in the vastness of this vision. Practically speaking also, one does not acquire skills that were not there before. One’s body and mind were determined by prArabdha karma and this will work its way out until the death of the body. The key point about enlightenment is that all of this is now known to be so. One mitigating factor which might influence things could be that one’s mental and emotional impediments tend to diminish so that there might be more freedom of expression and consequently the appearance of an increase in creativity. But, again, this is not really of any consequence in the scale of things.
But here is a link to an extensive comment on this topic posted to NDHighlights the same day you sent the question: http://www.gornahoor.net/?p=5381&cpage=1. I suspect this might give you more of the sort of answer you were expecting (hoping?) to hear.