Accessing Your Inner Creator:
The Way of Beginning

©1996 by Carlisle Bergquist, MFCC, Ph.D.c.

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"In the beginning . . ." lights faded and the timbre of anticipation congealed into a rhythmic clap.


Engulfed in darkness, a rhythmic pulse increased in speed and amplitude. Small beams of lights appeared, swinging through space as if they were floating in the blackness. Each moved hesitantly to a separate position and then disappeared again into the darkness. A unified rhythm formed becoming still more thunderous until at last it broke into thousands of smaller cadences babbling in a cacophonous roar. That, too, vanished into the darkness.

"In the beginning . . ." curiosity drew me to this place, a chance invitation.


I knew little about what would unfold from the darkness before me but my hands, too, joined in the rhythm of the night. They found their own cadence, and then settled back at my sides in the silent cover of the night. Tints of lime green and a rich lavender slowly appeared from the darkness, washed over the area, and flooded my eyes. Vivid colors pierced my separateness and stirred the core of my being.

"In the beginning . . ." I was furious. Why him instead of me? Why not me? If not me, what am I to do? No answers!


Internally, order crumbled; meaning I believed I had found, dissolved: again, I stared into void. Two hours passed as the figure entranced the crowd. I hated the way I loved his act. Still no answers! I recognized the way his music knew me. It touched me in spite of my defenses. Out of order I returned to chaos and chaos I recognized. I wasn't at the end: I was in transition. I hadn't stepped from the looking glass nor from the spotlight. I was the receptive aspect of the creative process and just as vital in this moment of creation. I was the living "feedback" in a system larger than the experience to which I surrendered. I was personally "In the beginning . . ." .

Beginnings, like births, are hard painful experiences. The event described above was for me a moment of re-creation, of re-birthing from a perspective as a performing artist, to an understanding of the creative process as an inseparable duality. Creativity is a spiritual process that unfolds around us and requires our action and compels the participation of our audience. It is the dual dance of the spirit in the creative process I wish to address in this writing. Creativity is ostensibly like a Mobius strip, the one-sided plane of Euclidean geometry that casts the illusion of duplicity, yet, is infinitely one.

Accessing our inner creator is a sympathetic process with which we learn to resonate. Thus it replicates itself, and beginnings beget beginnings.

People commonly view creativity as something possessed by some (those in a spotlight whether scientific or artistic), and not by others; yet, creativity equally mystifies those "who have it," and those "who don't." Creativity is transcendent yet it is our ground of being, natural and inescapable. Our human creative ability is but a part of a larger universal pulse.

I do not claim to prove what creativity is; that continues to elude. Rather, I seek to stimulate a new view of creativity that shows the unity in perceived duality; and diminishes the separation between those who feel they lack creative ability, and the artist-scientist-creators (from here on called creators), who are banished to live in the spotlight.

It all starts....


. . . In the beginning this world was merely non-being. It was existent. It developed....It was split asunder. (ChandogyaUpanisad)


. . . In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void . . . (Genesis 1: 1-2)


. . . In the great beginning, there was non-being. It had neither being nor name. The One originates from it; it has oneness but not yet physical form....That which is formless is divided [into yin and yang].... Through movement and rest it produces all things....Being one with the beginning, one becomes vacuous (hsu, receptive to all), and being vacuous one becomes is then united with the universe. (The Chuang Tzu)

There is a striking resemblance amongst creation stories: order emerging from chaos. Balance is ever represented in them. Western religions focus more on order while other religions see the void as the ultimate. They all indicate that polarities, whether physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual, are attributes of creation. Creative individuals also balance a paradox of polarities.

The ability to conceive of antithetical ideas simultaneously, that is, bringing together "habitually incompatible frames of reference," for example, light and darkness, is called "janusian thinking" or "bisociation" by Albert Rothenberg and Arthur Koestler respectively. Creation involves polarities and the emergence of form through their bisociation.

Taoism provides a clear example of this in the formless, nameless Tao, its supreme ultimate. From the Tao emerge first yin and yang, and then form. Being from non-being. One may think of the Tao as the chaos of non-being but the void is unitary. Can there be chaos in unity? I believe this Chinese metaphor proposes another role for chaos in the duality of the creative process.

Yin is the receptive principle and yang is the creative principle. (Since the name creative principle may cause confusion I will refer to yang as the projective quality and yin as the receptive quality. Creation involves yin and yang equally.) Interaction between yin and yang produces form, and thereby, order: they are an intermediary step between non-being and being. I suggest that chaos emerges from the Tao as duality and that from the interaction of duality comes order. Chaos is fixation in either extreme of the yin-yang polarity.

Figue 1

Figure #1 illustrates these fixated positions. Imagine, if possible, being solely at either the yin or yang pole. The experience at either extreme is chaos.

  • If you fixate in yang, everything projects and moves away from you without constraint or return. It is like staring into the void.
  • From the yin pole the opposite would be true. Everything is drawn in, introjected. It is an onslaught from which nothing escapes.

Within the physical universe, one might think of quasars (yang), "stars" that seem to project matter endlessly, and blackholes (yin), gravitational fields that draw matter in without escape, as metaphoric examples. Chaos has a distinctly different face at either extreme.

If chaos exists at both poles, then form and order must inhabit the territory between them; accordingly, form (whether a poem or universe), arises in the interactive tension between the two extremes.

Figure 2

Figure #2 illustrates this range where order is created and suggests that varying degrees of balance are possible between the poles. A contemporary creation story - chaos theory - may be a metaphor to explore this range of tension. Chaos theory addresses the multi-dimensional aspect of creativity, but for simplicity's sake I will discuss only the original pair of opposites, the receptive and projective principles. I will first detail the stages of the creative process and then relate them to the projective/receptive duality.

Graham Wallas began a model of the creative process in The Art of Thought. The stages in this model are: Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, Verification (see Figure3).

Figure 3

  • In Preparation, everything draws together with intention. If the product is artistic, you formulate an idea, equip yourself, and try combinations of the collected parts. Nurturing, research, and continuous input characterize this stage.
  • During Incubation, input of information, nutrients, or ideas becomes difficult: all is satiated to the point of compression. Incubation is the mysterious "black box" stage in which the creation forms but remains inseparable, unknown and unable to survive independently. It is symbiotic.
  • The aggregate gestates and concludes with sudden Illumination or output. Ripened and settled, the accumulated resources thrust into a new state of being. It is independent and takes on a "life"of its own. Illumination is glamorous, appearing easy, as if the creative product springs forth effortlessly.
  • The final stage, Verification, reviews, refines, and adjusts the product of Illumination to the realities of reason: it must actually work in its applied field. This stage separates fantasy from creation.

Unencumbered, creativity is a natural process that flows through the stages repeatedly like a rhythmic pulse.

Figure 4

The wave form in Figure #4 shows the rhythmic pulse of the creative cycle overlaying a simile of the Tai Chi, the Taoist symbol of the interplay of yin-yang. This portrayal suggests the quality of the interplay in each stage of the process.

The I Ching (Book of Change), further illustrates the qualities of this interplay. The I Ching uses lines depicting yin (-- --), and yang (-----) to build hexagrams (six lines stacked vertically), that show the pattern of change applicable to a specific question. The lines are either young (as shown above), or old, shown as follows: yin(--O--), and yang (--X--). Old lines change into their opposite.

In Figure #4, preparation and incubation dip into the lower hemisphere: yin most strongly influences them. Preparation is like young yin; that is, it is in the seductive "flower of receptive youth." Incubation, like old yin, has matured and begun to lose its attractive power. Illumination and verification arc into the upper hemisphere which represents yang. Illumination, like young yang, is active, aggressive and projects the ripened product outward. Verification then, like old yang, seeks validation as its strength wanes until it reverts into yin.

The cycle requires both yin and yang: neither principle dominates exclusively. Form dances on the border between the two faces of chaos.

Mystic teachings refer to this narrow path along the border. It is the terrain a creator must traverse . . .

Continue to Part 2

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Experience Carlisle Bergquist's creativity in his current book - "The Coyote Oak:  Burgeoning Wisdom."  Available here, at,  and booksellers worldwide.



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Article Summaries

The Coyoté Oak: Burgeoning Wisdom

The Coyoté Oak: Burgeoning Wisdom (Preview Chapters)
by Carlisle Bergquist

A modern-day parable for planet in transformation.

"The Coyoté Oak:  Burgeoning Wisdom by Carlisle Bergquist lives up to its name.  Like the trickster Coyoté, this fanciful read informs with unpredictable authority.  The visionary novel weaves deep ecology, shamanism, quantum physics, Native American spirituality, Taoism, mysticism, and even Christianity into an engaging healing adventure.  No small accomplishment as its wisdom rings loud and exquisitely clear.  The author’s vivid descriptions engulf the senses; you can almost taste the pancakes, smell the moss, see the sunsets and you will certainly fall in love with the characters.  Expect to be drawn in deep, transformed and left howling for more." Share Guide - San Francisco, CA

Available wherever books are sold

ISBN:  0-9791750-6-2
Published by Reality Press

Transcendental Creative Systems:

An Exploration Using General Living Systems Theory

Creativity is the merger of matter/energy with new information.  The process of bringing something new into existence, is an inherent characteristic of life.  To live is to create whether we do so unconsciously, or with full awareness.  This essay is an academic approach to the creative process using James Miller's General Living Systems Theory to model the course from non-being to created work.

A Comparative View of Creativity Theories:
Psychoanalytic, Behaviorist, & Humanistic

Three streams of thought in contemporary psychology view our humanness is distinctly different ways.  This is nowhere more evident than in their efforts to explain creativity.  This essay explores and compares these divergent views and provides a foundation from which to develop a new transpersonal theory of creativity.

Dancing With The Whole:
A Theory of Creative Entrainment

The holistic theory models entrainment as a communicative occurrence. Examples are given from several disciplines and four stages of entrainment are delimited. The essay compares theoretical quantum physicist David Bohm's notions of order with the realms of spirit, mind, and body. It proposes stages of entrainment operant throughout these realms and suggests that they perform cumulatively in the creative or unfolding process. The systems perspective develops the thesis that humankind is an iteration of a larger system and that entrainment is a central factor in the transduction of information between individuals and across system levels.

Doorways In Consciousness:
An Exploration of Resonant Being

Many cultures around the globe embrace sound in their exoteric and esoteric traditions. This essay reviews the role sound plays in the religions, creation myths, and sacred technologies of various peoples. This review connects creativity with healing which is considered an act of regeneration thus creating health in the body. Several varieties of healing through sound are discussed including music, drumming, toning, chant, instruments, Kabballah, and prayer. The essay proposes that techniques of sound healing and therapy currently rely on the intuitive ability of individual practitioners. Acknowledging the need for effective healing modalities, it calls for research that can qualify the elemental effects of existing sounds, tones and prayers. Such categorization may help construct an applied holistic healing technology.

Building A Better Thought Trap:
Nutrition for Colossal Creativity & Peak Performance

Colossal creativity is a state of balance amongst the mind, the body, and the spirit that actuates human potential. This article concentrates on the vitamin and nutritional components of our system so that they resonate more clearly. The focus is on the brain which rests at the focal point of our physical, mental, and spiritual worlds. It traps and interprets inspiration that comes from deep within, transforming it from one world to another. Colossal creativity unfolds when we nourish every part of our being. Digest new thoughts and ideas to nourish your mind. Develop a daily practice -- whatever your faith -- that invites active participation from your Spiritual-Self.

Accessing Your Inner Creator

An essay for general audiences that explores the creative process comparing it with the duality described in many philosophical and spiritual traditions. Techniques are given to apply these strategies to ones individual work.

Creativity, Healing, & Shamanism

An academic, yet deeply personal essay about exceptional encounters in Brazil with alternative healing and spiritual tradition. It details a dynamical systems (chaos theory) model of creativity: at "The Valley of The Dawn" a spiritual healing community; in Amyr, a physical medium; and in my experience using Ayahuasca with "The Santo Daime Doctrine" in Rio de Janeiro.

Guest Articles

How Money is Created

by Paul Krumm

Toward an Economy Based on Curiosity and Caring Instead of Greed

by Paul Krumm


  • While the network of money transactions around the world is very complex, the way money works is really rather simple, and is understandable by the ordinary person.

  • The study of the operation of money is pivotal to any discussion of cultural values and social justice, as money is the basic language of economic relationships, and the values built into this language impact all social relationships.

In this paper we will describe how the present money game is structured.  We will show that the idea that money is value neutral is not correct, and go on to describe how money functions to promote greed.

Some preliminary suggestions will be given, based on theory and what has worked in the past, to change the values built into our money to ones that are more congruent with a curiosity and caring driven economy.

We will also show how the present money game is not sustainable, note that the same changes that lead to a curiosity and caring based system are the same changes that make money and our economy sustainable.

Transforming Reality Through The Arts

by Coni Ciongoli-Koepfinger

Could this be the key to CREATIVE EVOLUTION?  Is the creation of a society that questions the reality of its fiction and the fiction of its reality be but a page turn away. Conceivably it is no longer a question of controlling what is real; instead, is it a question of controlling the market analysis that controls what the individual assumes to be real? Perhaps then, we will able to give birth to the new science that is no longer bipolar in its relations of the art and the social – a new science that is born out of a culture that was modified to be the perfect blend of both fact and fiction.

Staying Centered in Peace
by Lisa Hepner

An essay written in the wake of events on September 11, 2001.  This piece addresses the struggles we experience to see beyond the pain.  The author draws together the thoughts of many personal growth writers into an inspiring tonic for our wounded souls.