Extricating ourselves from the Slough of Despond

The whole and healthy Creator archetype is clearly evident in the person whose work is a joyful outpouring of love for the creation and everything in it. They regard every pink-with-pregnant-promise dawn as yet another opportunity to share their gift, whether it is painting, writing, sewing, dancing, singing, composing, building, carving, forging …whatever skill almost seems to burst through them like an irrepressible waterfall of grace and blessings, how ever large or small.

Our acts of creation, when they are in line with our destiny, are generous expressions of the endowments that we received from our “fairy godmothers” at our births. You may recognise that scene from the fairytale Sleeping Beauty. It is a metaphor about the ancestral talents with which we all come into incarnation. The baptismal presents of silver spoons or engraved plates are symbols which represent the otherworldly beneficence from the forefathers that the infant brings with it. The newborn baby carries these gifts from the other realms like perfumed essences or seeds which, when they flower, fruit and, ultimately, fall will fertilise the “soil” of the family line with new richness and meaning.

However, most of us spend most of our lives in using those gifts to satisfy the needs and agendas of others.

As women, we experience our ultimate creativity in giving birth, and it certainly is an act of supreme and miraculous creation. However, our lives are then taken up with looking after the children and the house, and often working in a job as well, and then coming home to cook the supper, wash-up and put the children to bed. So there is no time left at the end of the day for any other works of creativity.

It is not much better for the male of the species; he has to work hard to sustain the family home which gets increasingly larger and larger over time as more “acts of creation” are birthed into the brood. And so then he has to toil harder and harder, and longer and longer, to earn enough money for the family to survive.

Both parents can often end up feeling as if they’re in a viscious cycle where, like the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, they are having to run just to stay in the same place.

So it is often not until late middle age – really, when nobody wants us anymore! – when we finally are free to pursue the creative works that are in line with our destiny. Then we have to cast around our memory banks frantically searching in order to rediscover what it actually was that we came here to create.

 Until then, we are stuck in the shadow of the Creator archetype, wondering why we keep getting writer’s block or dancer’s knee.

In the shadow of the Creator archetype, we find no inspiration to pursue life, or even sometimes to continue to live. Human existence can seem as flat, pointless and monotonous as the movie Groundhog Day.

This depressive state of mind is described in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress as the Slough of Despond, a sort of marshy pit from which it is difficult to extricate oneself without help, because the more one struggles, the faster one sinks into the mire.

And so when we are stuck in the Slough of Despond, what better solution could there be other than to appeal to the Creator god in our prayers and meditations? This is a very powerful Vedic mantra which honours the Creator god Brahma who, it tells us, created the Creation from an outpouring of love and ecstasy.

“Brahamanda swaroopa, isha jagadisha, Akhilananda swaroopa, isha maheswar.”

Here it is being sung beautifully by Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev.

I love chanting this mantra, whenever I feel stuck. It certainly raises the vibration, and banishes all doubt and worry about the creative process, and gets the joyous waterfall flowing again.