07. January 2016 · Comments Off on Theologian Matthew Fox and Creativity · Categories: Uncategorized


Recently read Theologian Matthew Fox‘s book Creativity. The whole book is beyond great! I am placing my favorite quotes (in no particular order) here.

Page 185, “Let the struggle of other artists support you in your struggle. Develop imaginations together. Read the biographies and autobiographies of artists to learn what their lives are really like. Ask them questions. Seldom have I found artists to have an easy life. Those who find balance of an interior kind have often found it at a great price: by living as hermits for a while; by honoring their own mistakes; by admitting when they have trusted too much or gone too far; by taking risks and sometimes failing. The artist’s life is not an easy one, especially in a culture that respects creativity less than it does competition and rationality.”

Page 31, “Creativity and imagination are not frosting on a cake. They are integral to our sustainability. They are survival mechanisms. They are the essence of who we are. They constitute our deepest empowerment.”

Page 24, “Gratitude is the ultimate enabler. Gratitude moves us from apparent laziness to heroic giving. Never underestimate the power of gratitude. It can move mountains. It can build great things. It can arouse us to action. That is why gratitude is the ultimate prayer, as Meister Eckhart tells us when he says: “If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you’ that would suffice.” It suffices to get us moving, get us giving birth, get us creating.”

Page 174, “….Learning is one of the most spiritual, ecstatic, mystical, and prayerful experiences available to us all. I write books in order to learn. That is what makes it so fun even when much drudgery is involved. Learning (unlike education, alas!) is non-elitist-we can all do it. It is available to everyone with senses and with a mind still intact. Our minds were made for learning just as our stomachs were made for eating, and, like eating, our learning ought to be delicious and healthy.”

Page 134, “Meditation teaches us not to fear being alone. In meditation we learn to calm the mind and its infinite powers of distraction and projection so that stillness might be entertained on a regular basis. With the stillness comes Spirit. Silence gives way for Spirit to arrive. “

Page 179, “To reconnect to wonder is to awaken the child inside…”

Page 179, “Play is a kind of meditation, for it takes us back to the Source of all things, including joy and beauty.”

Pages 180-181, “Carl Jung felt that creativity comes from play and fantasy. He is right. The true artist plays with his or her tools, inspiration, intuition, forms, colors, musical instruments, even mind. Play takes us to realms that are preconscious and prejudgmental. Let judgment happen later , after the play. Give play its due. In play our imaginations not only get refreshed, they also get set up to connect with new and untried possibilities. Play is the mother of surprise. Surprise is a sure sign of Spirit at play, Spirit at work.”

Page 102, “Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann comments on the relationship between the prophet and the artist when he says: “Every totalitarian regime is frightened of the artist. It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of imagination, to keep on conjuring and proposing alternative futures to the single one the king wants to urge as the only thinkable one.” And Thomas Aquinas felt that the proper language of the prophet was always metaphor and symbol. Thus, there are no prophets who are not artists.”

Page 220, “Whether our everyday lives and the countless decisions they demand of us are creative or not depends most of all upon our attitude and our sense of self. We can choose or not choose to be creative. Navajo painter David Paladin put it this way: “Look at yourself as magicians, as healers, as lovers of humanity, as givers and sharers. From that perspective living becomes an art in itself. Then everything you do becomes magic!”

Page 147, “There are some wild things I cannot do. I cannot handle rattlesnakes or anacondas or live among the wolves as one friend of mine, a filmmaker, carver, and painter, does. But I do renew my creativity by walking near the sea as it rages and by walking near the waters when they are calm, by reading the mystics, who are wild poets of the wild soul, and by learning to laugh at self, soul, and others. “

Pages 146-147, “Awe is about chaste fear, healthy fear. Not a fear that freezes us or shrinks us into non-action or addiction or defensiveness or denial, but a fear that invites us to stretch and grow and trust. This fear results in courage, for it challenges us to explore, not to run away. And in the exploring come new learning and new growth. This fear grows our souls instead of shrinking them.”

Page 145, “For where creativity is lost, soul is lost.”

Page 139, “This is why all art work can be meditation itself: It is a discipline that opens us up to the joy of Divinity at work.”

Page 209, “Fun belongs everywhere in a postmodern time. The more dire the times, the more we need fun in our lives and in our culture. By letting imagination in, we are letting fun in. When fun returns, fantasy finds its healthy place, options are put before us, possibilities return. Hope happens, for hope is about the possible, while despair is about the impossible. Creativity banishes despair-at least for a while.”

Page 206, “As long as we ignore the imagination of the cosmos in our classrooms, we will have an Imagination Deficit Disorder.”

Page 196, “If Otto Rank is correct when he defines the artist as one who wants to leave behind a gift, and if all of us are artists in some way, then we all want to leave behind a gift.”

Page 89, “The liver cleanses and recycles. The artist, too, cleanses and recycles the toxins in a culture. Artists turn pain into insight and struggle into triumph and darkness into light and ugliness into beauty and forgetfulness into remembering and grief into rejoicing. Artists add awe to awe and beauty to beauty and wonder to wonder. When the liver is healthy the person is healthy. The artist is to the community or body politic what the liver is to the human body; a cleanser and recycler of waste and toxins.”

Page 26, “”Creativity” may be the nearest one-word definition we possess for the essence of our humanity, for the true meaning of “soul.”

Page 76, “I recently saw a slogan that I like a lot: “Quit whining and read. “ “Study”, which I define as the disciplines pursuit of our holy curiosity, is a necessary part of remaining alive and remaining creative and resisting cynicism. We must pursue truth, work at it, sweat for it, just as we have to work at keeping our bodies healthy. The mind requires no less attention. The imagination can grow stale and flabby and weak if we do not seek out healthy food with which to nourish it.”

Page 75, “Creativity stands up to temptations to guilt for disturbing the peace. Many in a culture do not want to hear about innovation and new direction that creativity unleashes. Creativity takes courage.”

Page 54-55, “A return to our origins is long overdue for all professionals but especially for artists, because their task is to lead the rest of us in moving through perilous times of cynicism, boredom, and despair.”

Page 19, “It is not the essence of the human to be passive. We are players. We are actors on many stages. We initiate contacts, ideas, movements, inventions, babies, institutions, sport, exercise, relationships of all kinds. We are curious, we are yearning to wonder, we are longing to be amazed, we are eager to grow, to learn, to be excited, to be enthusiastic, to be expressive. In short to be alive.”

Page 136, “In a culture where Muzak reigns and the void is always being filled with noise of some kind, one must go out of one’s way to find solitude and learn it. This is the role of mediation. Meditation becomes more important than ever for the survival of the imaginative mind. It is difficult to imagine creativity without it.”

Page 11, “…The number-one survival issue of our time: the sustainability achieved when creativity is honored and practiced not for its own sake but for justice and compassion’s sake.”

Page 9, “As the Dalai Lama has put it: “We can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion.”

Page 9, “To allow creativity its appropriate place in our lives and our culture, our education and our family relationships, is to allow healing to happen at a profound level.”

Pages 7-8, “Chaos is a prelude to creativity. We need to learn, as every artist needs to learn, to live with chaos and indeed to dance with it as we listen to it and attempt some ordering. Artists wrestle with chaos, take it apart, deconstruct and reconstruct from it.”

Page 90, “Was it not a good thing for Adam and Eve to have the courage to eat of the tree of good and evil in order to know the difference, to taste the difference? Why should they be punished for acquiring wisdom?”


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