The Book of Doing and Being
eBook - ePub

The Book of Doing and Being

Rediscovering Creativity in Life, Love, and Work

Barnet Bain

  1. 224 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (adapté aux mobiles)
  4. Disponible sur iOS et Android
eBook - ePub

The Book of Doing and Being

Rediscovering Creativity in Life, Love, and Work

Barnet Bain

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With clarity, humor, and insight, award-winning filmmaker Barnet Bain guides readers to unlock the raw power of the creative self. Sharing creativity principles and practices at the leading edge, The Book of Doing and Being offers a life-altering map for stepping beyond what we already know and into a dimension of imagination from which innovation is born. Known for his inspiring movies and documentaries, as well as his popular creativity workshops, Barnet Bain makes available his teachings for the first time in book form. Discover how will and action come together with imagination and feeling to form the very foundation of creativity by working with this treasury of more than forty transformative exercises. Each one is designed to spark new creative connections by challenging our usual ways of thinking, feeling, and perceiving.These lessons, tools, and techniques serve to unlock great reservoirs of creativity in every individual, whether it's jumpstarting or completing a project, launching a new business, creating a work of art, experiencing more fulfilling relationships, or making other dreams come true. Bain's motivational guidance includes: rewiring your brain to unleash ultra-creativity; finding freedom from self-criticism, perfectionism, and other obstructions to productivity and creative expression; harnessing the two forces of creativity: inspiration and action; discovering your emotions as the doorway to creative aliveness and ingenuity; and heeding the call of your Real Work, regardless of age, education, or experience.Step by step, you will make the discovery of a lifetime: how to stop being ruled by your past and start consciously creating your present and future. You will be surprised and energized—by your next creative impulse, the next idea that excites you, the next experience that moves you—and you will live a creative life.

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Atria Books


Freedom from Conditioning

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher
and pupil are located in the same individual.
Creativity matters to everyone, but conventional wisdom holds that creativity is the special gift of poets, painters, sculptors, musicians, and other culturally ordained elites and that there are limited outlets for creative energy.
My view is that everything is a process of creativity. Maybe you’re not interested in creating a comedy routine, a symphony, or an off-Broadway play, but you probably have a desire to create loving relationships, a vibrantly healthy lifestyle, or perhaps a business as an outlet for your skills and interests. Business is one of the primary forms of creative expression in our culture today. Although you might feel blocked or uninspired from time to time, you can’t really stop the flow of this force. Each of us is always a creator, and we are all creating all the time. When we let in the implications of that, it changes everything. We discover that everything matters. What we think, what we feel, what we believe, what we say, what we choose, and what we do—these are the instruments we use to create and shape our lives.


Creativity is worth our attention, as well, for reasons that reach beyond our own lives. We all sense that we are living in a world that is changing at lightning speed. Some days it seems as if we are in the third quarter of an endless game and hopelessly behind. To meet the challenges of a world that is becoming new, to effectively address problems that appear to have too few solutions, creativity must be awakened. We need innovative responses and new skills. From business and politics to the way we tend to our personal lives, we need to stretch our imaginations beyond outmoded practices.
This requires an education in creativity itself. Opening our eyes to new potentials, creativity gives us the fuel to transcend conditioned ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Nothing and no one is left behind when we lead creatively.
Fortunately, we can all become “weapons of mass creation.” It is the birthright of every human being. There are solutions in the making, and some of them may very well come from you.
First, it is important to find out how we have gotten ourselves into a creative straitjacket . . . and what it takes to get out of it.


A common assumption about creativity is that you must have conflict for it to emerge. I am as responsible as anyone for propagating this notion, along with most of my entertainment industry friends and colleagues. In particular, comedians and comics say, “If I don’t have my neuroses to feed on, then I’m afraid my creativity will dry up.”
Freud had a big hand in building this thought structure, but it reduces us to mere vehicles of expression of our neuroses. Not long after Freud, Carl Jung said that creativity is the expression of a duality of functions: it’s both personal and an expression of the underlying archetypes that reflect our collective human experience. Archetypes are universal patterns of energy that transcend time and place and contain the raw power at the heart of all our stories of love and courage. In the popular mind, certain archetypes are widely recognized, such as the lover, hero, warrior, judge, as well as the artist. Jung’s view affirms the individuality of the artist, yet recognizes that he or she is also an instrument in service of more powerful forces.
Abraham Maslow placed creativity in the top tier of his hierarchy of needs, after all other needs have been met—after shelter, safety, security, love, belonging, and self-esteem. Inside his model, creativity exists within the domain of self-actualization, a need that one can’t understand until all the other needs have been fully mastered. I understand why Maslow would prioritize hunting down your next meal before going to the dance around the bonfire. But it’s my view that going to the dance first might bring the creative inspiration needed for a fruitful hunt. Engaging your creative urges is causative; it creates more flow in relation to meeting your needs. Dance itself is a creative and generative act. Only through creative acts can we rise above our conditioning.
That is a really big one to let in.
Picasso said that creativity is, first of all, an act of destruction. Creativity first shatters our conditioning, our unexamined beliefs, and our assumptions, which naturally exposes how much we take for granted.
I often look at how much I take for granted, how much I am a product of my conditioning. I would like to ask you to do the same.
If you were to draw me an alien from another dimension, you would probably create something wonderful and weird, but it would likely be vaguely humanoid, like something from the bar scene in Star Wars. More than 99 percent of the time, that is what happens. And while there is nothing wrong with that imagery, why not draw something we wouldn’t recognize as a life form at all?


The reason we tend to draw inside the lines is because we have inherited those lines and perspectives. We are products of our families, peer groups, schools, entertainment streams, and religions. We are shaped by the movies, TV shows, songs, news bites, stories, and art forms offered to us by other people—expressions of the tragedies and triumphs that seem to dictate the reach of our imagination. Some call this structured imagining, which is our unconscious adoption of other people’s thinking, feeling, beliefs, and values. We are mostly unaware that we have acquired a hand-me-down worldview.
If structured imagining is a major block to conscious creativity, how can we ever create anything beyond our conditioning? First, we need to understand the power of conditioning. The following demonstration will make the point.
Right now, wherever you are sitting, lift your right foot a few inches off the ground and then start moving it in a clockwise circle. At the same time as you’re doing that, raise your right hand and draw a number six in the air.
What happened? Your right foot switched directions, didn’t it? Try it again. The reversal will happen every time!


The implications of this exercise are that our habituated patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving become a part of our brain chemistry. As we repeatedly activate the same neural pathways, we reinforce our current understanding of creativity and of ourselves.
In business settings, this can be seen in the creative framework that makes up a company culture. Although corporations pride themselves on having cultures, they are often, though not always, based on longstanding values and ingrained approaches to facing change.
A good illustration of this comes out of post–World War II Japan. As Japanese manufacturers turned their attention from military goods to civilian goods, they focused on improving not only their products but every organizational process as well. They effectively reshaped the manufacturing of electronics and cars and served as an example that led to the introduction of Japanese-style manufacturing in the United States. The core message of what became known as the Quality Revolution was that, by improving quality, companies would decrease expenses and increase productivity and market share. Although this philosophy was an unprecedented advance over previous patterns of thinking and responding to change, it was nonetheless an improvement of past practices rather than a quantum leap forward. It still existed inside the framework of what we already know, and what we already know is only a fraction of what is possible.
The jump to altogether new territory can be seen in the shift from snail mail to email, for instance, or in the difference between manufacturing using metal lathes and 3-D printing. These are not simply creative improvements, better versions of what was. They are disruptive advances that we call innovations.
Innovation is the discovery of anything that is beyond the horizon of what is—whether a new invention, a company, a marriage, or a self. We can get wedged inside structured imagining and miss out on innovation because the patterns of structured imagining are hardwired into our circuitry, but there are many things we can do to positively alter our brain chemistry. Throughout this book, as you work with the raw materials of your thoughts, beliefs, choices, decisions, attitudes, feelings, and emotions, you will be rewiring your creative neuronet. You will be working with each of these in fun and engaging ways, through discussion, processes, and practice. When we consciously make a new habit through practice, new brain patterning follows and old patterns begin to atrophy.
In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, author Malcolm Gladwell describes what he calls the 10,000-Hour Rule. Gladwell makes the case that it takes a lot of practice to master a skill, from the Beatles performing live in Germany amassing more than 10,000 hours of playing time over a period of four years, to an adolescent Bill Gates gaining access to a high school computer and spending more than 10,000 hours learning the art of programming. Any parent knows the rapport that children have with their digital devices, having surpassed 10,000 hours with ease, dwarfing the skill level of their parents.
But more important than the specific number of hours devoted to an activity is consistency. Committed practice develops mastery. Whether learning to tie your shoes, pilot a plane, or communicate effectively in relationships, after a point of repetition new habits and new brain circuits allow you to do these things with excellence. You develop a new talent or skill by focusing attention on it and establishing a practice around it. This is one of the great secrets of all creative processes, and a major purpose behind each exercise in this book.

Taking the Lid Off Structured Imagining—A Self-Inquiry Practice

The more that we as creators become aware of the limitations of our structured imagining, the more power and choice we have to move beyond it. Just as we can’t sell a house that we don’t own, we can’t be free of structured imagining until we become aware that we have been structured by it.
This awareness is the first critical piece of opening to your fuller potential. Paying attention to your thoughts and feelings is the starting place for expanding this awareness.
The following self-inquiry practice can be used any time you have a sense that conditioned modes of thinking and feeling are limiting your creative drive or inspiration.
STEP 1: Bring to mind a creative project or goal that you are either working on now or planning to begin in the near future.
STEP 2: Are you experiencing any challenging or difficult thoughts and feelings related to this project or goal? Are these thoughts and feelings stopping you from taking action or diminishing your confidence? If so, briefly describe them.
STEP 3: Spend ten to fifteen minutes reflecting on the following questions and writing your answers in your journal:
■ Are these thoughts and feelings hand-me-downs, or are they originating with me?
■ Am I being loyal to thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that I have outgrown?
■ Am I willing to give up old perceptions, feelings, and attitudes when something more valuable shows up?
This practice will remind you to respond creatively rather than out of habit. It can empower you to realize that you have choice where, before, no choices seemed to be available. Not long ago, I received a call from a colleague with whom I was involved in a writing project. We had been facing challenges that threatened to derail the project. My knee-jerk reaction was to avoid his call, but after remembering this practice, I realized that my concerns about the situation were hand-me-downs from the past. Was I willing to give them up? Yes, I was. I picked up the phone and dealt with the situation quickly, which led to a positive outcome.
If you decide to keep certain hand-me-downs, it’s not necessarily a problem. There is nothing good or bad about making that choice; just make sure it works for you. Also, you will be more attuned to the “something more valuable” from Step 3 as you become clearer about your values in the chapters ahead. One of the fundamental truths of creativity is that we can’t be valuable creators unless we have clear values. Paying attention to your values on an ongoing basis increases your creative intelligence.


Into the Wilds of Creative Imagining

Do not seek the because—in love there is no because,
no reason, no explanation, no solutions.
I was in line at my neighborhood store to get a coffee. Next to me stood a man whose wife was buying a couple of kiddie pails for the beach. He told me they were from Seattle but had just driven down to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara. He referenced a tragedy that had taken place the previous week: a young man had gone on a rampage near the University of California campus at Santa Barbara, wounding thirteen people and killing six others.
I thought he had said that a friend’s child was one of those slain in the attack.
“No, it was my child,” he said.
“We’re going to take her ashes and scatter them in the Pacific . . . I don’t know why I’m telling you this,” he continued, “but it helps to say it.”
I was unglued. I saw my conscious mind grasping for a logical framework to make sense of what this grieving father had told me. But below the level of my rational mind, I felt something else. I knew something.
His pain and my pain are connected. His ability to love and mine are connected.
Below my logic and reason, something more true in me had been triggered—an unfamiliar intelligence.
There is nothing logical about it.
Our creative lives are always a back-and-forth between what makes sense to the logical mind and something more, beyond the borderline of structured imagination.


Intelligence Quotient, or IQ, is a numerical score based on standardized tests that attempt to measure human intelligence by focusing on our cognitive abilities. Yet we know that there is much more to intelligence than verbal and mathematic...

Table des matiĂšres

  1. Cover
  2. Dedication
  3. Introduction
  4. Chapter 1: Freedom from Conditioning
  5. Chapter 2: Into the Wilds of Creative Imagining
  6. Chapter 3: Foundational Creativity: Energies of Creation, Part I
  7. Chapter 4: Creativity and the Body
  8. Chapter 5: Creativity in Balance: Assessing Your Life Wheel
  9. Chapter 6: The Most Amazing Thing
  10. Chapter 7: The Four Anesthetics
  11. Chapter 8: The Faces of Obstruction
  12. Chapter 9: Emotional Mastery
  13. Chapter 10: Engaging the Muses: Stepping into Creative Flow
  14. Chapter 11: Image Making
  15. Chapter 12: Jump-Starting Vision
  16. Chapter 13: Accelerated Creativity: Energies of Creation, Part II
  17. Chapter 14: The Guardians of Ultracreativity: Paradox and Confusion
  18. Chapter 15: The Uncommon Senses: Rediscovering Intuition
  19. Chapter 16: The Five Creative Talents
  20. Chapter 17: Your Real Work: Where Personal Innovation Meets Purpose
  21. Chapter 18: Your Life as Art
  22. Acknowledgments
  23. About Barnet Bain
  24. Index
  25. Copyright
Normes de citation pour The Book of Doing and Being

APA 6 Citation

Bain, B. (2015). The Book of Doing and Being ([edition unavailable]). Atria Books. Retrieved from (Original work published 2015)

Chicago Citation

Bain, Barnet. (2015) 2015. The Book of Doing and Being. [Edition unavailable]. Atria Books.

Harvard Citation

Bain, B. (2015) The Book of Doing and Being. [edition unavailable]. Atria Books. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Bain, Barnet. The Book of Doing and Being. [edition unavailable]. Atria Books, 2015. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.