Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #44
Delivered by Eric Butterworth on August 12, 1975
Recently I talked with a man who had been released from his job. He hadn’t been told why, but judging from the nature of the work, he guessed it was his lack of creative ability. You may be interested in reading of some of the ideas that came about from that conversation.
You have a creative potential within you that is equal to any demand life can make upon you. This potential can lead you on to success and achievement and fulfillment of your own uniqueness.
Have you noticed yourself admiring the mind and apparent talents of another, even to the point of envy? This habit, shared by most of mankind, is counterproductive, and is based on the notion that someone either does or does not “have it”. We test and categorize people into compartments labeled “inferior”, “average”, and “superior”, with gradations in between.
If man is what he is and can’t be more, then there is little help and no hope for him. In this context the purpose of much of religion has been simply to teach us to be resigned to the inevitable. Tradition says that God made some rich and some poor, some healthy and some sick, some with great minds and some with simple minds, and that all we could do about this was to adjust to it. But this is not the whole story.
God doesn’t make people into such categories. God creates us all as expressions of the infinite, limitless life and we are ever in the process of unfolding it. We may, it is true, be on different levels of expression, but there is greatness within us at every moment, just as there is creativity and wholeness, and no-one can predetermine how long it will take for the unfoldment.
A great mind doesn’t come from ancestors, but from life itself, from the thought and action of each individual. There is only one mind, and each individual is a state of consciousness within that mind. True, that consciousness is always changing, but each person has his own essential unity with God, and it is at the point of that unity that is found his creative potential.
Paul refers to this: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” He’s not just talking about Jesus, but also the unique person that you can be. Developing and releasing creative potential means developing an awareness of this Christ-level. This is the great need in education—to help the child to know by careful instruction that there is a mind in him that knows and can guide and direct him in all his ways toward becoming an important and successful and responsible adult.
This doesn’t mean that everyone can become a major league ballplayer or an opera star or a bank president. What I am saying is that you are a unique expression of God, and have the power to project that uniqueness. You have the mind-power to become what you really ought to be, without regard to rich or poor, great or small, brilliant or simple. Dostoevsky says that man is preeminently a creative animal, predestined to strive consciously for an object and to engage in engineering... to make new roads wherever they may be.
We all have a creative urge, and success in life depends on following the urge. Fulfillment depends on trying novel and ingenious ways of doing old things, and above all delving into the wilderness of the inner self. Everyone has his own mind-frontier. On the near side of it, everything is known; the well-worn path is clear and the work is understood. On the other side lies that of you which has not been explored; this is the area of great creativity and new adventures.
The fellow you have looked up to is no more creative than you are—he is simply more daring. He is bold enough to attempt new things, and to break free from conformity and challenge his entire being with new experiences.
A great Bible story is of the episode in which the young shepherd, Moses, comes upon a bush that appears to be on fire. He tries to examine it when, from within himself, comes the voice of his own self-realization saying, “Do not come near; take the shoes off your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.” While his companions saw only a common bush, Moses, in a flash of insight, was made aware of his own creative potential. The revelation for us is to remove the materialistic covers from our understanding so that we can view the truth. You are standing at the point of inspiration, and you have this beauty and creativity within you. You are the burning bush. Elizabeth Barrett Browning pondered this legend when she wrote, “Earth’s crammed with heaven,/ And every common bush afire with God;/ And only he who sees takes off his shoes./ The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.”
There has never been a time when so much obvious creativity has been expressed as in today’s world. It is all around us in the arts, media, technology, etc. Yet, though every bush is afire with God, we have become a race of blackberry pickers. We think only of fruits and not enough of causes, only of successful creativity and not enough of the power of mind behind it. Cults of fine art, music, philosophy are followed with sheep-like conformity, with few really understanding. We surround ourselves with that which suggests the superior. How much better to resolve to suggest prosperity, success, confidence, and creativity to yourself...accept it, expect it, and demand it! Picture yourself as creative and believe the picture. There is a pattern of greatness within everyone, a potential, a possibility, deep down within us that will lead us to creative solutions to all of life’s problems if we just learn to release it and let the creative potential be expressed.
Usually we are limited in our expression because we have inhibited our natural abilities through fear or feelings of inadequacy. We should believe more in ourselves. Frank Mosely tells of a toddler trying to get over a fence to retrieve a ball. Mosely picked him up, knowing that the child could never get over the fence, which was twice as high as he was. But the mother asked him to let the child make the discovery of its inability on its own. Sure enough, while the adults mused over the event, the child pushed a chair to the fence, and after failing several times with that technique added a box on top of the chair, and finally hoisted himself up, hung for a minute, and then triumphantly tumbled to the other side. From there, he picked up his ball and grinned with prideful triumph. The fence was too high for him, but since he didn’t know it, he was able to get over it.
Creative potential is within you beyond anything you have imagined. Yet sometimes you must become as a little child and approach your needs without the constriction of knowing “it can’t be done”.
I talk with many persons who are facing obstacles and who have corresponding inward feelings of defeat or insecurity. Always in one way or another I try to encourage them to turn on the green lights, to convince them that they can succeed if they are willing to work at it and if they have faith enough to act as if they had faith enough. I always stress to them the importance of putting their prayers into action, converting their positive thinking into positive expression, and doing it now. Positive thinking is only as good as the action it generates; just thinking is sterile and leads nowhere. “Be ye doers of the Word and not just hearers only.”
There is certainly a need for balance of praying and working, in thinking and accomplishing, of giving and receiving, and of faith and acting upon faith. The key to your creative potential is in believing that you are a creative being, expressing a creative mind, living in a world that is completely creative. Believe this, then act upon your belief. Act positively in the direction of your good, expecting creative solutions to all of your problems. Creativity is not something to be developed, it is something to accept and use. We all have creative potential within us as our own inherent nature.
© 1975, by Eric Butterworth