Read interviews with Laurie Conrad about her books and recordings
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Image: One of Diana Souza's illustrations for Visits With Angels.
One of my beautiful meditators, Kristin is writing a paper for an honors seminar at Ithaca College, over the course of a semester. She asked if she could interview me on the topic of creativity and mystical states, and I agreed. I thought this interview might of interest to some of you, so I have added it as A Mystic's Journal entry.
Kristin: Those who we consider to be highly creative individuals (mystics, painters, musicians, etc.) experience the Soul in a very profound way.
How do you think of the Soul? Is the Soul connected to creativity?
Laurie: The Soul is our true Being, our true Self - and it is in some mysterious way connected to God. God (or the Divine Mind, or Divine Consciousness) and the Soul are the Source of all our perceptions and thoughts. We would not be able to perceive our universe and world without the ego - but without the soul there still would be no perception, no thoughts, because there would be nothing to light up the personal ego. So yes, the soul is connected to creativity - the soul is connected to our every perception, our every thought.
The creative genius perhaps is closer to the soul's Light consciously, for at least those periods of genius. You could also say that the genius is at times thrown into a higher state of consciousness in those moments of genius. However even in those high moments of genius, the ego is not fully transcended - there are still forms for the genius, whether they be visual or aural or mental thoughts. In the highest Mystical Experiences there are no forms, only the Divine Light.
Kristin: Do you consider your clairvoyance to be a mystical experience?
Laurie: Not necessarily. There are many levels of clairvoyance which I discuss in Realms of Light; there I also speak of the dangers of the lower psychic experiences, how they can confuse and unbalance us. However, even my usual, every day clairvoyance can evoke a Mystical Experience. Clairvoyance means clear-seeing. True clairvoyance, i.e. Clairvoyance brought to its highest - means seeing the Divine Light everywhere, i.e. seeing through this physical, mundane reality to True Reality. The substratum of this physical universe is the Divine Light, and the advanced clairvoyant can see this Light through the so-called material physical forms we find on Earth. By "forms" here I mean "material, physical things", physical bodies, the lamp, the fireplace etc.
Kristin: How do mystical states affect one's creativity?
Laurie: The high Mystical states and Experiences affect everything in our lives - even how we wash the dishes, how we brush our teeth. In those true Mystical experiences we experience higher states of Consciousness. The ego, our personal selves, are transcended during those high Mystical Experiences and we are flooded with Divine Light. Our physical minds and bodies are transformed. Nothing is the same afterward.
Kristin: How do you define a high mystical experience (a mystical state)? What is your experience with mystical states of being?
Laurie: I speak about some of my mystical experiences and mystical states in A Mystic's Journal - as well as in my printed books. Mystical states are not easily defined or described, for the simple reason that we humans do not have words for the Mystical. One of my more memorable Mystical Experiences, fairly early on, was seeing the forms of this "physical" world floating on the indescribably Radiant, Luminescent and almost Blinding Divine Light. In that experience I was given a Glimpse of the Divine substratum of our physical universe. However, using a different definition of "mystical experience", we could say the supernatural fragrances we have been experiencing in meditation class and at other times - are also mystical experience. In other words: mystical experience can also be defined as events or happenings that transcend the physical laws of our physical universe.
To define a high mystical state is not such an easy question, men and women of all religions and philosophies have been trying to do so for millennia, starting with the Rishis of old. Briefly: in my personal experience, in true Mystical Experience we are thrown into a Higher Consciousness. In the highest Experiences we know the Divine, Radiant Light of the soul through direct perception. It is then, and only then, that we know who we truly ARE. Some say we can also contact God in these experiences, others say we can only contact the Soul. Others say we achieve the Divine Higher Consciousness, the fourth state of consciousness which the Hindus term turia. It does not matter which it is, or what we humans call it, the Experience is so far beyond anything we can even imagine in our usual waking state consciousness...
Kristin: For my purposes, creativity is thought of as the expression of the Soul. Essentially, the Soul is not a "thing" or an "object". Instead I will insist that the Soul is an activity - the activity of coming into being, a creating. We do not have a Soul, but rather our experience of existing means we are a Soul. So, our existence is inherently creative because we are the Soul.
Laurie: I do agree that "our existence is inherently creative because we are the Soul" - well said. And I also agree that we do not "have" a soul, rather we ARE the soul. And that life, our lives on Earth, is the activity of coming into being, a creation by the soul. Beautifully thought out and expressed... Yet, we do also have a vehicle for this incarnation on Earth - and decisions must be made, effort must be made to most perfectly live what we have been given.
Kristin: This is a more general question about the focus of my paper- Do you think I should include my musings about the Soul? I originally wanted to include the idea of the Soul as a creative activity because I believe in the presence of the Divine in everything and I long to find a way to frame creativity as Divine for my readers.
Laurie: I would definitely include your musings on the soul. In my opinion, it is the Essence of your work and of the paper.
Kristin: What do you think of the idea of the Soul as analogous to free will?
Laurie: They are not the same. However: will is a power given to the soul, a power embedded in the soul. Free will however, by its very definition belongs to the ego. We, our individuated smaller ego selves, make the decisions, every moment of every day - what we think, how we act and so on. This does not mean that on some occasions the soul cannot come and make a decision for us - or whisper truths to us, just as the soul can give us mystical and creative experience beyond and above the ego. But the whole meaning and intent of free will is that the individual makes the decisions, and hopefully tames and purifies the ego into Obedience and Holiness. Our main job, in the arena of free will - is to the best of our abilities align the personal, individual self with the soul's wishes and abilities.
Kristin: This idea reveals the agency of all humans - we, as humans on Earth, participate in the construction of reality. Our construction and experience of reality is a creative activity. So, maybe these ideas (mysticism and creativity) are tied, but only loosely?
Laurie: Yes, our thoughts and actions do create a reality, as well as action and reaction from the world around us, and this is the result of free will. However, free will - on its own - as I said earlier, belongs to the ego. The philosopher would say that there is a Divine Plan which the soul obeys and which manifests in our lives - but this is still separate from free will. We can, from free will, try to disobey or even work against the Divine Plan, consciously or unconsciously. (For most people it would be unconsciously.) And this topic could be its own book...