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  • Andrew Lewis

Living Creatively.

Updated: Jul 3

In a 1990 publication Shangharakshita /Dennis Lingwood wrote this:

'Personal development means ceasing to live reactively and learning to live creatively........virtually every minute of the day we have to choose whether to react or whether to create. Suppose, for instance, someone speaks to us a little unkindly. We can either react, by getting angry or feeling hurt, or we can respond creatively, by trying to understand what has happened ( perhaps reflecting on why he or she spoke like that), by trying to sympathize, by trying at least to be patient. If we react we will remain as we are or even deteriorate, but if we create we will take a step forward in our personal development.'

The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus ( c.55-c.135 AD) who endured a life of harsh slavery offered a creative response to the above scenario:

'If anyone tells you that such a person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you, but answer : "He was ignorant of my other faults, otherwise he would not have mentioned only these,"'

Epictetus is suggesting that we may feel happier choosing an egoless, considered response rather than an inflamed, angry reaction. There is even a touch of humour where it might least be expected.

Living creatively rather than reactively means that we can have choice over our actions and the mood we are in, keeping control and freedom. It may not always be easy and we may not always succeed but we should practice and not give that choice, that control, that responsibility, that freedom away lightly.

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