I have a friend who lives in the English countryside in a small town called Ely. It’s just north of Cambridge. When I visited him, he took me to the historic Ely Cathedral.
The massive building dates back hundreds of years — most of it was finished by 1200 AD. The site was originally founded in 673 AD as a shrine to Etheldred, a “queen and saint.” The place has history.
We planned to attend a choral performance in the main hall, which promised to be enchanting given the acoustics and spirit of the place. Right before it started, I asked my friend where the bathroom was.
We surveyed the holy and ancient hall and he replied, “anywhere is a bathroom if you’re brave enough.”
I struggled to keep myself from laughing throughout the performance.
After visiting Cambridge, I took a train into London for the third weekend of Supercoach Academy. This weekend’s theme was Creation. Here are two of my biggest insights from the weekend.
1) Humor is more than just funny
Aaron Turner was the guest teacher this weekend, and he’s one of the clearest Three Principles teachers I know. Something I didn’t know about him before this weekend was that he’s hilarious. He’s a 3P comedian. For a good portion of both days he presented, the entire room was full of laughter.
Everyone loves to laugh. Comedic performances are amusing and enjoyable. This weekend helped me realize that there’s more to it than just enjoyment though.
At one point, Aaron was describing his understanding of the principles of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought. There was a point at which I found it hard to follow, and I wasn’t quite clear on what he was saying. I could feel the cogs beginning to turn as my intellect geared up to try to analyze it, compare it to what I had heard previously, and decode the riddle.
I noticed that that process actually came with an uncomfortable sensation. It came with the heavy feeling of “I don’t get it,” and “I need to understand better,” and “this is complicated.” Have you ever tried to learn a very challenging subject, like calculus? This was the same feeling.
And then, something great happened.
Aaron said something that had us all in stitches.
And suddenly, I didn’t care that I “didn’t get it.” That feeling left me. And since the feeling was gone, I was back in the place of “I do get it.”
The reason that’s so great is because I know the feelings of “I don’t get it” and “this is complicated” aren’t true. In fact, it’s only the thought of “I don’t get it” (and the ones that follow) that makes us not get it. It’s a heavy thought, one of smallness. In my experience, when I do feel like I “understand” the Principles, it comes with a feeling of lightness and simplicity. That’s when my grounding is deepest.
It’s so easy to get caught up in intellectual processing of the Principles. But what Aaron’s humor did was short-circuit that pattern. Laughing is inherently an act of lightness and joy. Those simply took the place of my confusion.
I completely skipped over “I don’t get it” and returned to the nice feeling that comes when I do “get it.” I didn’t need to return to try to figure it out because there wasn’t anything in particular that needed to be solved.
Because thought is the only thing that takes us out of our natural, simple aliveness, I knew that going to a place of confusion and heaviness wasn’t based on true thoughts. And the reason I remembered that is because I laughed.
Humor is more than just funny. It’s a reminder of how at any moment, life can become simple and graceful again. It’s a divine gift that inserts us back into that beautiful space. So thanks for cracking us up, Aaron.
2) Creation is our natural state
I took one of Michael Neill’s courses called “Living from Mind” last fall. There was a module about Decisions, in which we explored the fact that decisions come naturally and easily to us. We make thousands of decisions every day. And for the vast majority of them, we do so without thinking deliberately about them. We think about them in the sense that we decide what to do and when, but we don’t “think” about them in the sense of measured deliberation and weighing of pros and cons.
It’s when we feel a decision merits particular attention that we separate it out from the flow of life in which we are always making decisions. That’s when we get caught up with it. In the course, we explored the possibility that decision-making is natural to us, and not something we have to learn how to do properly.
Like decision-making, our minds have other natural strengths, such as focus, flow, and connection.
Another is Creation.
We are creating all the time, every day. We can think “I’m not creative,” but that’s just an arbitrary thought that we’ve gotten used to. Everyone is creative because we are constantly creating our lives.
An Arnold Patent quote goes something like, “We don’t create abundance. Abundance is always present. We create limitation.” There is a similar sentiment behind the famous Rumi poem, “Your task is not to seek for love. Your task is to seek and find all the barriers you have built against it.”
Both of these quotes point to the fact that we are innately loving and creative beings.
This weekend, we explored the space from which creativity flows. By exploring it, and knowing it’s there, and becoming familiar with it, we remove some of the illusion about our apparent lack of creativity.
When we decide that there is something specific we want to bring into the world, we often do the same thing we do that breaks us out of the daily flow of decisions. We grasp hold of it and try to force it. But creation doesn’t work by force. (It’s not that you can’t create something by sheer willpower, but you just won’t have the power of the universe at your back. And it certainly won’t feel easy and graceful.)
Creating by forcing it is ultimately unsustainable. That’s how people burn out, sell out, or drop out. And it’s one of the ways we come to believe that there are limits to our creativity.
Creation is the natural state of the world. Everywhere we look, things are continuously coming into the world from nowhere. From the nothingness flows everything, and eventually it all flows into the nothingness again.
Look at the way each person on the planet made it here. Two cells meet, a cascade of chemical events occur, and somehow — without intention or strategizing (though not without difficulty! thanks mom) — a human being emerges nine months later.
We’re all living reminders of organic, intelligent creation.
What if everything we create from a natural, organic place is like that? We give birth to our creations. We usher things into the world. By not taking the reins and controlling the process, we stay in touch with the source of creativity. This source feeds us inspiration. If there is an action to take, we’ll know. But we are not in charge. While that might be a hit to the ol’ ego, it’s also tremendously relieving.
Maybe you know the feeling. You sit down to write and the words flow from an unknown place. You wake up and hear a song idea in your head. A new business idea hits you and you effortlessly start taking steps to bring it to fruition.
The energy that animates us is also the source of creativity. It’s inside each of us. The more we work with that force, the more we can gracefully bring our creations into the world.