Earlier, I wrote about how I worked as a ghostwriter for many years, not realizing that the entire time I was exercising some nascent form of psychic ability. One detail that I didn’t bring up in the earlier post was that the portal through which my “ideas” came in is the exact same one through which my psychic data streams…
I put “ideas” in quotes because I don’t gel with the concept. I think when you’re in a creative flow, you get more than just ideas. You’re accessing a wholesale illusion; you’re drawing intuitive and emotional materials from a source beyond your ordinary consciousness. Ideas are the product of the conscious mind. There are good ones and bad ones, but ideas in service of a larger and deeper vision cease to be ideas the way we commonly recognize or understand them. They become a fluid form of truth and beauty, beyond encapsulated, individuated notions.
For example, while cooking, the chef may think, “I know what I’ll do! I’ll add salt!” And that might be a good idea.
But it’s but one component of a more complex process, one by which rapid-fire decisions as to sauces, seasonings, oils, pots, pans, and temperature settings are being made. At a certain point, the ideas are coming so swiftly, and so dominating the chef’s awareness that she likely cannot tell where one idea ends and the next begins. It’s all just a flow. A dance of consciousness.
So it goes with the artist. Thinking isn’t the point. Non-thinking is. With your mind out of the way, you can really start to dance.
I noticed this a lot back while ghostwriting. Reason being, I had nonstop projects and deadlines. The clients brought content, but the demands on me to deliver fresh ideas, notions, constructs, and sentence formations were immense. I had to keep regenerating. Had to constantly, on the daily, be inventive and productive.
And I realized that I had no time to contemplate ideas.
So I accelerated. I trusted. It’s like that game we used to play as children, when we closed our eyes and fell backwards into our friends’ arms. I did the same with the writing. Every day, I put my ass in a seat, confident that as I started to work things out, all the “ideas” I needed would simply come to me.
And you know what? They always did.
Thinking would have been deadly. It would have frozen me out. All the least productive and accomplished artists I know are big-time, dead-serious thinkers. Their foreheads bleed from the strain of their idea production. And their work (if they ever get it done) is usually unemotional, because they’ve overworked and overcooked it. As a ghostwriter, I had no time to do that. I had to keep it moving. Keep typing, writing, generating, whipping up fresh music.
In the course of developing the trust to do so, I realized that I was tapping into something deep.
It’s an endless well. And it’s available to all of us. There aren’t any “ideas” down there; the well finds the idea of ideas offensive. No, the well offers everything. Everything you need, that is, in your spirit, to create. All the scenes, all the notes, the moments, the insight. It’s available to everyone if we’d just stop thinking.
Filmmaker David Lynch speaks of experiencing this, in his own meditation practice. He speaks of “catching big fish.” That’s exactly it. You dip in, plunge down, see what comes up. Ideally, it’s relaxed and joyful. In the worst cases, it’s self-serious and prideful.
Dave Chase spoke of it, too. Chase created “The Sopranos.” He said that in the course of planning each episode in the series’ writers room, he’d eventually find himself lying down on the couch and suddenly seeing the whole episode flash across his mind in a clean, organic succession of sequences and scenes. It always happened. Then he knew he had it. Its form and fluidity couldn’t be denied. And mind you, this was the greatest TV show of all time.
So it goes, of course, with psychic ability. It walks in through the same door as creative “ideas.” With me, I can pin it to a spatial area: all the creative and psychic stuff seems to flow in near my right ear. But it needn’t be an audio-visual thing; you can apprehend the process however your mind and heart feel called to. The idea is to give yourself over to a knowing that resides beyond the confines of your brain. It’s about trust. And about not forcing things.
When giving psychic readings, I’ve learned to trust the very first thought that flashes across my mind. In the beginning, I’d try to upgrade, refine, or otherwise revise the thought, but then I’d mess up the reading. No, it was the first one; it’s always the first one. At a dinner party, you’re ill-advised to just say the first thing that pops into your head; that’ll often be rude or silly. In a psychic reading, though, you better believe the information that comes in hot off the skillet. That’s the one. It’s the truth.
It’s the thing you thought to think of, when you weren’t thinking.