I’m a Buddhist so you might find it a bit weird for me to talk about the concept of divinity. But this summer it has been my new favourite word.
What is divinity?
This depends on your religious and philosophical points of view. If you look up “divinity” in the dictionary you’ll get a definition that refers to God. Similarly the word “divine” has several references to theology.
But you will also get this definition:
“To foresee or foretell as if divinely inspired. To have forebodings. Instinctive foresight, insight, an intuitive perception.”
This is the side of divinity that I am talking about.
For me divinity is about trusting the wise power within you, the part of you that is totally in sync with the universe. Your divinity is your greater self, the part of you that already has all the answers that you need.
Your divinity is your inner Yoda. It is your great creator at work in your life.
Incidentally I believe that this is the same as what the Buddhists call Buddhahood. It’s our greater self, rooted in daily life but fully endowed with wisdom, courage and compassion. You don’t have to look outside yourself for these qualities and you don’t have to spend lifetime after lifetime earning credits to the Buddhist promised land.
It’s a state that you already have and you simply have to reveal it.
How did I get curious about the concept of divinity?
It’s all down to Elizabeth Gilbert. In May I attended one of her creativity workshops, based on her book, Big Magic. (This is a wonderful book about the creative process and worth a read even if you aren’t a fan of her other work.)
Big Magic has 6 chapters – Fear, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. Gilbert says that these are all selves within us and throughout the workshop we wrote a letter to ourselves from each of these perspectives.
For the first one we imagined that Fear was sitting across the kitchen table from us and we were letting it speak. It got to say everything that it needed to, we didn’t interrupt and we didn’t talk back. We just let it speak and heard what it had to say.
Enchantment is the fun, adventurous part of us. It might like to go for a walk in the woods or camp at the edge a lake. Its curiosity makes us do things for the sheer joy of doing them and not for any serious or financial reason. This is the self that nurtures our creative spirit and likes to do things “just because”. It is interesting that everyone’s enchantment letter included doing something in nature.
The permission letter was written to us by someone authority who gave us permission to explore our creativity. For persistence, even if we were flighty in some areas of our lives, we recognised the times where we had hung in, solved problems and survived difficult situations.
Trust was about promising to Enchantment that we will find ways to feed and nourish our soul.
And then came Divinity!
This was powerful. This is the side of yourself that ultimately knows that everything is going to be OK. The letter came from deep within ourselves and answered the issues raised by fear.
Here’s a snippet of what I wrote:
“Yes you are sensitive, Yes that has been hard in the past. But your sensitivity is your greatest gift. You are a seer of humanity. Stand up in your light. Your light will cover all weakness. Stand up in your light. I love you.”
The wisdom of your divinity will amaze you.
Your divinity can give you the answers you need right now
Last month, in the depths of my despair of being so constantly exhausted, I repeated this exercise of writing a letter from each of the selves. For each of the first five I wrote only half a page. However, for Divinity I scribbled away for four and a half pages. My inner wisdom had a lot to say!
I learned that part of my exhaustion was because I was trying to do everything myself. I could see that I needed to trust the web of people that were already there. As part of the exercise I realised who those people were and gave thanks for them.
How will this help your creativity?
My recent divinity letter also gave me timings of how my writing would go over the next few weeks. I am working to this plan and so far divinity has been correct. One thing less to panic about!
Creativity can sometimes be a lonely business and to proceed with it we have to constantly face our fears.
Imagine having a wise friend who knows you intimately, including those deepest fears, and who understands what you are trying to do creatively. Imagine having this person on tap to guide you when you hit an impasse in your work and to comfort you when you are scared. Imagine having a confidential dialogue with this person.
You already have this person inside of you. You have all the wisdom you need. You just need to access it. Your divinity understands your creative desires and what drives you to pursue them. Your divinity can help you negotiate a realistic path through things you have to do in life verses what your soul would love to do.
How to access your divinity?
I can heartily recommend the exercise I described above where you write letters to yourself from fear, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust and divinity. If you haven’t read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert then add it to your creativity reading list.
Sometimes you have to take time away from your schedule to check in with yourself. You don’t have to go on a retreat to the Himalayas to do this; half an hour in your favourite coffee shop will also do the trick. Spend time in a place that nurtures you, whether that is the perfume hall at Selfridges or lying on the ground looking up at the trees.
Consider a prayer or meditation routine. If you have a religious faith, use it as a tool to access your inner wisdom. (Click here if you want to find out more about Buddhism.)
Meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting alone cross-legged, trying not to think mundane thoughts. Walking, running and swimming are also meditative. The repetitive movement of these activities allows you to tune in to the present moment and clear your head of superfluous rubbish.
Your divinity is something you have to make effort to listen for. It might take practice to access this side of yourself and you might need to test it out a few times in order to trust what you come up with.
Your divinity allows you to see your own truth and have the means and courage to express that truth in your art.
Here is a final thought from my divinity letter:
“So the secret for the now and immediate future is to just be. Be you. Compare not. Plod gently through each day. Be the gentle warrior that you are – that you have always been, that you always will be. This is your gift to you, the world and the universe. How amazing. Wear your gift with pride.”
If you found this post useful then please use the buttons below to share it.
If you are new to The Gentle Creative and you like what you see then subscribe in the box below so that you’re the first to hear when the next blog is published. You’ll get a free copy of The Gentle Creative Manifesto.
Every month I also share the ups and downs of my own creative journey – but only email subscribers get that insider view. Sign up now.