Thursday, December 18, 2014

Creativity & Spirituality

By: Rebecca DiLiberto
Graduate Student
International Center for Studies in Creativity
Buffalo State College

Although current research recognizes the existence of multiple types of intelligence (Gardner, 1993/2006), traditionally, cognitive intelligence has been the most valued in western culture. The values embodied by western culture and recent advancements in technology, offering access to information only a keystroke away, may be reasons both the value and capacity of cognitive intelligence continues to reign supreme. There is an imbalance of the types of intelligences in our culture. The quantifiable, concrete and fact driven types of intelligence remain primary while less tangible types of intelligence, such as Spiritual Intelligence (SI), have gone neglected. This mentality, compounded by our pursuit of individual rights and our quest to be the best, has narrowed our perspective on what it means to live a creative life and left us yearning for a sense of purpose. It is no wonder that despite easier and faster access to information, our culture increasingly yearns for a deeper sense of meaning and connection to the world. This cultural intensification of yearning for meaning suggests there is a lack of spirituality. “Spirituality is becoming an important part of life, not only for educators, psychologists, philosophers and scientists, but for countless individuals who want to search for meaning in their lives” (Sisk & Torrance, 2001, p. xi). People in all walks of life appear not only to desire and appreciate a higher level of spirituality, but are eager to learn about how to develop their creativity, enhance their sense of purpose, and connection to the world.           

Sisk and Torrance’s book entitled Spiritual Intelligence: Developing Higher Consciousness, drew upon a variety of topics extending from the foundations of psychology and science to Eastern Mysticism and paths of SI. Sisk and Torrance (2001) identified SI as:

A deep self-awareness in which one becomes more and more aware of the dimensions of self, not simply as a body, but as a mind-body and spirit. When we employ our spiritual intelligence, we reach the extraordinary place in which our mind no longer produces data of the type wanted or needed and the need for intuition becomes accelerated. (p. 8)

Sisk and Torrance highlighted four areas that resonate with the authentic meaning and concept of SI; Inner Knowing, Deep Intuition, Oneness with Nature and the Universe, and Problem Solving. Below is a brief explanation of the four focal areas and approaches that can be investigated further to cultivate SI and creative growth within each.

  • Inner Knowing. “Inner knowing is to know the essence of consciousness and to realize that this inner essence is the essence of all creation” (Sisk & Torrance, 2001, p. 11). Inner Knowing builds our innate capacities of consciousness that are prevalent in creative thinking skills, imagination, intuition, incubation, and dreaming. A parallel between developing Inner Knowing and techniques to enhance deliberate intuition can be found with the intention of unlocking different levels of consciousness. Another important skill to SI, intuition, and Creative Problem Solving (CPS) is the presence of mindfulness. Using mindfulness in CPS allows for a greater self-awareness of physical, emotional, and mental intuition, present in the affective skills, and unites them with the cognitive skills.
  • Deep Intuition. SI assists in overlooking the egotistical self to employ our deep intuition in developing solutions for the greater good (Sisk & Torrance, 2001). Our rational mind can hinder the ability to access higher states of consciousness that transcend true awakening and connections to the Universal mind. To nurture Deep Intuition it is essential to remove the clutter from all levels of consciousness. The benefits of meditation have been significant and are commonly associated with creative and spiritual growth. There are a variety of methods and “in every technique of meditation, the process takes you out of the conditioned mind and opens up access to the nonconditioned mind” (Chopra & Simon, 2004, p. 79). Learning to silence the mind allows for Deep Intuition to connect to an unlimited source of creative power that is guided by the universal greater good.
  • Oneness with Nature and the Universe. SI harmonizes with nature and the world around us to find a purpose in life that is intrinsically motivating (Sisk & Torrance, 2001). To approach life in a creative way, one must seek experiences of spiritual growth. A key component for finding opportunities for growth is inspiration. Inspiration successfully blends SI and creativity with the intention of fostering fulfillment through intrinsic motivation. Applications of self-awareness are just as important as the connectedness with the world around you. Harmonizing your internal journey with your external life will aid in promoting positive change while leading yourself and others in achieving their personal best.
  • Problem Solving. SI guides our life’s purpose and meaning throughout the entire problem solving process (Sisk & Torrance, 2001). Creative spiritual leaders such as, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa, understood creativity was an essential part in finding solutions to problems of meaning and value. Creative spiritual leaders exemplify certain essential qualities and skills. In the course of my research, there was one defining quality that stood above the rest; love with intention. Torrance (1995) said, “one of the most powerful wellsprings of creative energy, outstanding accomplishment, and self fulfillment seems to be falling in love with something – your dream, your image of the future” (p. 131). Love nurtures creativity within oneself and others. Our intention allows love and creativity to flourish and extend our meaning and purpose towards a greater good. What’s more, love with intention is a prevalent factor in SI, creativity, and leadership, as well as a quality that will prepare individuals to contribute to world of creativity.
SI is a multisensory ability to maintain one's sense of purpose or inner and outer peace across different contexts and situations (Sisk & Torrance, 2001; Wigglesworth, 2012). The interdependence between SI and creativity share common characteristics. Inner Knowing, Deep Intuition, Oneness with Nature and the Universe, and Problem Solving are representative of SI and concepts that are advantageous to creativity. Therefore, it is reasonable to think that developing one's creativity is quite relevant to developing SI.

Read the entire Master’s project paper in the ICSC Digital Commons

Chopra, D., & Simon, D. (2004). The seven spiritual laws of yoga: A practical guide to healing body, mind, and spirit. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: New horizons (Rev. ed.). Basic Books.
Sisk, D., & Torrance, E. P. (2001). Spiritual intelligence: Developing higher consciousness. Buffalo, New York: Creative Education Press.
Torrance, E. P. (1995). Why fly?. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.
Wigglesworth, C. (2012). SQ 21: The twenty-one skills of spiritual intelligence. New York, NY: SelectBooks

Rebecca DiLiberto holds a Bachelors of Art degree in Art, specializing in design, with a Minor in Computer Applications from SUNY Cortland. She currently is pursuing a Master of Science in Creativity from the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC) at Buffalo State. While exploring her creative potential she has become intrigued on how to promote positive change while leading others in achieving their personal best. Rebecca’s vision is to blend her career experience and passion for creativity to nurture, develop, and support creative behavior, innovation, and leadership.

1 comment:

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