Creating within Chaos
Enter The Eye Of The Tornado
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A question was posed to me by one of our fellow compass-holders. The essence of the question was, “How do we create within chaos?” I will attempt to offer my thoughts to her question. I am certain this is just the beginning of my answer, and I will start by painting a bird's-eye view, offering more practical applications in future writings. This is a publication to stir the wheels of deep questioning, so take your time with it.
Creating, whatever form that takes for you, is the portal to understanding what is this life we all share. At times, we create with the tools of grief. Other times we mold with the hands of joy.
But what do we do when we are overwhelmed by chaos? How do we pierce through the absence of inspiration chaos often brings? How do we wrangle the intense emotions and anxieties that often accompany chaos in order to create? Should we even attempt to create within chaos? Perhaps we are best to allow the rapids of chaotic rivers to take us where they wish.
When you find yourself being swept away by a chaotic river remind yourself that silence between notes creates music. Similarly, we would not exist without the space of silence. Creation depends upon silence, and the spaciousness that silence holds is the ground of everything that has been, and will be, created. Spaciousness breathes life between the notes, between our thoughts, between inhales and exhales, and between the rise and fall of endless waves of emotion. What is the best way to block creative flow? Resist the natural flow of spaciousness by grasping with emotions and expectations for things we want to control.
For example, a skilled martial artist knows to keep relaxed in battle, to allow mind and limbs to move in a seamless grace of intense focus by staying spacious and receptive. She or he does not grasp to control herself or the other. This approach gives the martial artist the flexibility to respond and not react. And that makes all the difference.
The warrior knows that spaciousness allows the pouring in of creativity from the Creator to activate our hearts and minds into creation. It’s not just the excellent skills of a warrior, every skilled act of excellence requires spaciousness yolked to a steady mind.
If we could behold this spaciousness with a steady mind and place our ear to the chest of silence, we would hear the heartbeat of compassion calling to us without pause. Compassion never abandons us with a patience only wisdom can bring. Compassion won’t tire, and in time, we all return home to it.
But where is this compassion when the tornadoes of chaos bust up our homes, pick us up only to thrash us around until we can’t distinguish what is up or what is down? Where is compassion within the tornado when we lose sight of where the moon beams her light, or where the ground stretches out? Where is compassion when we lose that which anchors us into a steady and healthy mind?
In a tornado, we lose our anchors that we lean on, that we rely on to give us safe boundaries. Yet in the very center of a tornado, there is a still point. It’s a space of no movement, a place where the boundaries of safety aren’t dependent upon our familiar walk on the earth when chaos lies dormant—those blissful times tornadoes do not siphon life upward into the sky.
This center of a still point inside the winds of chaos is a portal to the silence of compassion—a portal to allow ourselves to fall into her call of loving-kindness. It is a portal ushering us into a calm state where we can create despite it all.
My account of compassion may irritate some, because the reality of finding a silent spaciousness of compassion is often elusive, especially during chaos. Because of this, finding that center-point is a real and difficult challenge even in the best of times, and is even more difficult when chaos muffles our voice, binds our arms and legs, and steals our joy.
So, what can we DO to recover our creative walk when we find ourselves living in chaos?
Let us consider compassion as light, and chaos as clouds. The clouds may be dark and oppressive, creating mayhem with torrents of rain. The clouds may also be mere wisps of obscuration. Even so, the light exists in either case, and eventually, all storms part, and the light is felt once again, and soaks into our skin.
From my experience, keeping this truth of the eternal light of compassion in our awareness reminds us we are irrevocably yolked to the light, making it easier to cultivate faith, which guides us to our seat within the tornado's eye.
This faith rests on the observation that in our personal lives, compassion makes us more joyful and happy. We come to see this as truth, a truth not reliant on doctrine. With this type of faith, we can navigate life in confidence, knowing a compass of compassion is a direct way to peace. Faith in compassion guides us to the eye of the tornado, which is the ultimate safe-space—a space not reliant on doctrine, but born from direct observation of what is true. The eye of the tornado is ultimate freedom. This freedom is a silent, spacious, and compassionate freedom full of calm and peace and joy. It is a steadfast freedom, forever our guardian no matter what we, or others, or unfortunate circumstances are thrown our way.
The further question then arises: “How to find that center?” Or, as the great yogis of India may state it, “how to yolk to the center?”
In line with the stated mission of The Creator’s Compass, I refuse to sugar-coat what I view the answer to be. I refuse to placate us only to make us feel better on the surface and never touch the roots of the honest answer. I care too much for you to lie by omission just to bring a momentary lick of ice cream when what we need is a lush salad grown within the rich soil of loving-kindness.
In my view, there are two major ingredients that set the ground of compassion, or build the launchpad so we can rocket into the center of the tornado and create with freedom no matter what chaos we find ourselves in:
A dedicated practice of training the mind into an unwavering stillness, formally referred to as meditation.
Philosophical study and contemplation.
These ingredients intertwine and support one another like roots of a tree, and are often strengthened by the rich soil of a healthy community.
Our skills navigating the trials of life mature with meditation and contemplative studies, allowing us to confidently keep our ship afloat during rough seas. With a strong spiritual practice, we learn through experience all dark clouds are bound to part, and we steer our ship through storms with faith, navigating by the light of compassion. I, again, won’t lie. This path is not the easy path, but we if are enough of a bad-ass warrior to take it, we can create even within the chaos of wind and torrential downpours—our warrior’s sword cutting a path for both our personal fulfillment and to be of service to others.
In other words, once our creative rocket blasts off from a launchpad of compassionate ground nurtured by study, contemplation, and meditation, we create with inspiration to serve both ourselves and others. As a result, we behold a state of effortless joy and peace.
When I create only for my happiness (which I do sometimes), inspiration is short-lived, and I peter out, leaving me morose and frustrated. When I create for myself and others, inspiration may rise and fall, but it never leaves, and its flame burns with boundless oxygen.
Finding what inspires us as individuals to embody compassion for self and others recovers our inspiration to create.
When we discover which compassionate path calls us, we begin to steady ourselves in the tornado's eye. And here, the power of compassion takes over, flooding us with endless inspiration. If we continue to feed only our desires, we remain outside the tornado’s eye and are whipped around into a confused state, and our creative inspirations become diseased. I know, because I’ve been there, and still I find I lose my ground from time to time.
I believe we can recover our energies and inspirations in order to create amid chaos. I know it’s difficult. I recognize in myself how sometimes my launchpad is broken and my ground barren. I witness in myself and others how inspiration is sometimes here and sometimes gone. But we can continue to make the ground of compassion richer, to make our launchpads more steady and powerful. And we can only do so by merging to the sound of compassion’s silent call that echos in our bones. To allow compassion to breathe us into her center-less center of her heart. To have faith and confidence that compassion never waivers in her wise patience born out of unbounded loving-kindness.
Let us not forget we need each other. We need to hold each other with compassion and without judgment, and even more so when tornadoes of chaos whip into our lives. Never be shy or afraid to reach out for help. Help can be in the form of a therapist, a community, or a spiritual friend. Sometimes severe depression sinks its teeth into us as an aftermath of chaos and/or trauma and we need to seek extra help from highly qualified teachers or therapists.
Thank you for being here, for engaging with your mind and heart. If you would like to help spread The Creator’s Compass to insure its longevity, the best way to do so is to talk about it with friends and family and share this link. And if you haven’t already, subscribe below for free, and you will never miss a publication.
May all of us rest in the stillness of compassion’s love.
With all my love,