When I began this research project almost ten years ago, the question I was concerned with was, is there a spiritual nature to creative activity? As I have written in my introduction, I had personally experienced contact with what I have come to call a spiritual guiding force both in my writing and in my painting practice.
In a pilot study I worked with five artists exploring the question “Describe Your Experience of Being Creative.” Though I did not directly ask these artists about their spiritual experiences, I found that many of their descriptions reflected glimpses of such an understanding. These glimpses then became my motivating focus as I asked myself, do others experience their creative work as essentially spiritual? If so, how is this experienced? This is what brought me to the research presented here.
As I explored the literature in the field, I came upon the voices of many writers, theoreticians, spiritual practitioners, and artists, all of whom described experiences of the spiritual in their creative work. The question was no longer whether creative activity is spiritual but how it is experienced as spiritual. This led me to the question I asked this group of artist participants, “Describe Your Experience of Being Creative As A Spiritual Practice.”
The next phase of my work definitely brought with it some surprises. Many of the descriptions I received felt uncannily like my own voice. It was as if I had flung a question out into the universe and received back my own voice, an echo off the canyon wall. Some of these Experiential Expressions were: Being in Nature; it is a connection with a larger, more abundant reality … Most enduring is the deep satisfaction I feel simply being in natural places. As I repeat