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Understanding the forces driving the creative process and inner reality of creators
At one point, I thought most people who were creating content were narcissists.
This was especially the case in the spiritual realm of creators. If you’re so enlightened and really know who you are then why would you need to tell everyone about it? It seemed rather egoic to me.
Part of this perspective was a reflection of my own consciousness at that time which was just projecting back to me. I now see that more broadly all creators are merely doing things from different subjective levels of consciousness. This revelation has impacted my own creativity, consumption habits, and inspiration to create.
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The easiest way to think about the concept of different levels of consciousness is that there are different inward paradigms within the human experience. The inward paradigm directly impacts not only how we perceive the outside world, but also how you move through it and even the rules that govern your experience.
In the earlier stages of evolution our perception is that the outer world dictates our inner world. This thing happened and I am mad!
Then at some point a shift occurs where the inner world becomes a more dominant focus making the outer world more benign. Eventually, at very high levels of awareness we end up with an opposite perspective from where we started where we see the outward world is dictated by our inner world.
The Human Consciousness Continuum
After moving through many different inward experiences that are now recognized, you become aware that the human experience has somewhat of a predictable evolutionary model that is dictated by consciousness. I like to think of this model as a continuum where at different parts, there are different common characteristics.
Think of it like driving down a highway from north to south. As one starts to head south, the weather starts to get warmer. There may be different types of trees and wildlife on the side of the road then where you were previously. It’s not that these are inherently better or worse than the characteristics of nature up north. They are just different and how it tends to be in the south. This is exactly how consciousness works.
I have been extending and adapting the idea of a unified model of consciousness that occurs on a continuum in the context of my own subjective experience. This idea has been articulated by many great wisdom teachers like David Hawkins and Ken Wilber which I have written about before. I merely seek to build upon these ideas so they are more relatable to the context of modern life and the transformation process is more approachable.
Here is part of my own working model where you can see the names of stages of consciousness juxtaposed to common inward experiences and beliefs at each stage.
As one views this scale, often the subject is unconscious of the true context of their inner experience because they view things at a surface level. For example, maybe someone gives money to charity every year. They might look at this at this continuum and place themselves at in contribution citing their motive to helping others when more accurately there is an underlying motive to receive acknowledgement (self-enhancement).
Lately, I have been feeling lots of inspiration to contextualize this model in a relatable and applicable ways to different parts of modern life.
For this post, we can apply the model to the creative process and creators behind it.
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Context Not Context
With any activity whether it’s drinking a coffee or hosting a podcast, understanding the integrity of something and the extent to which it is beneficial life is almost always less about the content and more about the context. The context is a derivative of the inner paradigm or consciousness. This was something I internalized following David Hawkins who I deem to be one of the great western spiritual teachers of modern times.
For example, there is nothing inherently bad about creating a video on spirituality. But the context or motive to create that video can vary widely. One person may be creating something for self aggrandizement or to feel special, while another person may be creating it out of a genuine desire to serve others. At even higher levels of consciousness, the creation may be consciousness acting through someone as a clear channel to disseminate information into the world. As the creator, this feels like a process occurring in a spontaneous, thoughtless state that you just observe flowing out of you.
In all cases, the content is the same. A human is creating a video which just is what it is.
So when we think about what we choose to consume or the act of creating, we must seek to understand the context of the creation. In most cases, the context mirrors the level of consciousness of the creator which invariably affects the integrity and content of the work.
Is this a dude just trying to get rich and famous? Is it someone acting out of service? Is it a high being channeling information so that the greater collective consciousness of humanity can continue to evolve and expand?
Understanding Creator Consciousness
Below you can see an extension of the consciousness continuum applied to creators and the creative process. By creators you can think of YouTubers, bloggers, authors, instagram influencers, actors, directors, and even entrepreneurs in some respects…you get the idea!
Each stage and their different characteristics have completely different inner textures and outward expressions.
For most of my career, I was operating at the consciousness level of self enhancement. Before starting Troops, I had started a blog and a podcast that I grew to around 20k email subscribers and 100k downloads a month in less than 2 years on the back of sheer will.
I would read all these different articles on ways to get email subscribers, write catchy headlines, and adapt my content in ways that I thought would grow my email list. The whole thing was very contrived. For example, I would do joint webinars not because I actually liked doing them, but because it was a quick way to grow my audience. I was still proud of the work I was creating because the content was good. But the intent behind creating it was primarily to get something. At the time, I told myself that I wanted to build an audience so that I could sell more products and inspire more people. Due to the constraints of my awareness, I was unable to recognize what was actually driving my thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. This is how consciousness works.
What I now see is that I was chasing a temporary sense of self worth and acknowledgement that helped me avoid facing the unconscious belief that I was worthless. Again, I was not able to see or understand this while this was all going down.
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I compare this to how I feel now as I pen these keys and it’s a completely different inner experience. I write these articles and create videos just because I just fucking love it. It’s nice when people read them and say nice things, but if no one does it’s really all the same to me. There is joy and purpose in the potential of serving others, but without conditionality or a sense of duty like you might experience in contribution consciousness.
For the most part, I don’t really sit down and plan out what I am going to create or read things on ways to optimize the content. There is a deep knowing that everything I need is already available in my consciousness so why would I go look elsewhere? The creation process itself is very spontaneous where it feels like things just flow out of me without any thinking or need to edit. Eventually I proofread and edit things before clicking publish, but everything before that is just flow. The whole process is full of spontaneous inspiration and a creative spark which I find to be one of the most delicious parts of life. This experience compared to the last time I was creating is much more characteristic of a transpersonal stage of consciousness.
One interesting thing about the creative process in this state of being is that there is much more flow and openness. At the level of self-enhancement and even contribution, there is an illusion that control, rigorous thinking, and analysis is required to produce something great. It’s very “left brain”. It’s not that this mode of being is incapable of creating something effective. Most of what we see in the world has been created from this paradigm. However, my experience is that creations from this paradigm are much more limited and often void of a higher intelligence. Physicalists in society like to attribute the source of creativity as “right brain” activity instead of acknowledging a higher divinity which is consciousness itself.
To access this state, one must let go of the desire to control and relinquish the grasping so that whatever wants to emerge from consciousness can emerge. In many instances, this expression is different from what someone’s egoic preferences may have wanted. This juxtaposition is what I call the level 3 surrender dilemma where one is given an opportunity to choose between the personal, egoic will or the divine will. At first choosing the divine when it’s incongruent with egoic preferences usually feels scary and like a drag. However, at a certain shift in identification it no longer feels like you are acquiescing with the recognition that more effective and harmonious choices come from following the inner guidance.
For example, I recently was guided to write a book. The thinking, egoic mind loves to deliberate all the reasons why this is a bad idea.
You don’t get rich off writing a book about spirituality!? Think about the time that would take that could be spent on something like building another software company!
Hell, I could create a course in 1/5th the time and make 10x the money on the same ideas.
And who are you to even be in a position to do something like this?
Well let’s at least do some research and create a market map of what hasn’t been said and how you could position it to be a success?
I could go on and on about the mental knife fight that one may encounter, but you get the idea. As one’s consciousness evolves on the continuum it’s not that this inner chatter goes away overnight. It just starts to quiet down and be replaced by a more supportive level of trust. And when it does rear its head, it’s almost like you see the ego voice as a whiney little kid vs. your identity.
The headspace I am in now is to simply trust the guidance that comes through. I don’t need to figure things out and just need to sit down and let things flow. And when I allow this it all just comes out of me with ease. When I get stuck on an idea of how to articulate something the perfect words will just pop into awareness later in the day.
Over time you start to realize that when you are aligned to the flow of life things are taken care of for you. There’s much less need to try and figure things out and you see that the notion that one must effort to achieve things is a concept that has been conditioned from earlier stages of consciousness.
It is easy to read this and think that this makes no sense. How can one accomplish something without effort? First, you must recognize you are viewing this and all statements from the filter of your own subjective experience of reality which is unique. This recognition is the entire purpose of the consciousness continuum or any unified model of consciousness.
Second, it’s not that you don’t perform actions. It is the notion of there being a struggle or it is difficult to accomplish something that is no longer present when you are aligned to the intended highest expression of yourself which emanates from divine guidance. It is when you fight against or are out of alignment with the divine will that you encounter lack of harmony and things feel like effort.
This way of living is very interesting and exciting. It kind of feels like if you were wearing glasses where you can only see just far enough in front of you to make sure you are still on the path. At first, it feels scary that you can’t see in the distance. What if there is a predator or something!?!?!
Over time, you begin to see that you’re always led in the right direction. This recognition allows trust to emerge and any fear that you might walk off a cliff eventually fully evaporates. The unknown is embraced and the extra energy spent worrying and trying to control everything is reoriented to the present moment to spur higher levels of creativity.
Both approaches can result in a book. They are just being brought forth into the world at different levels of creator consciousness. Again, it is not that one is better than the other, they are just different. Having spent lots of time at the level of self enhancement, I must say that I find the higher levels of creation to be much more enjoyable. There is a lot less stress and conditionality. Moreover, the ideas that emerge seem to be much more intelligent than anything which I could have previously put forth.
Sometimes I feel like people may be wondering, why is this dude so interested in consciousness and the notion of stages!? From my perspective, consciousness and its evolution is completely fundamental. Every part of your experience from thoughts, emotions, actions, relationships, capacities and beliefs flows downstream. I mean how could one not be interested in exploring this to its fullest depth!?!?
There is a lot more that can be said on creator consciousness and many patterns that block creators from cultivating their highest expressions. I plan to write more about this and extend the consciousness spectrum to articulate many other elements of modern life and personal interests such as entrepreneurship, health, investing, relationships, and even spiritual growth.
If this sounds interesting or there are other areas of life where one is interested to understand how consciousness expresses itself let me know!
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