Creating Space for The Creative

I have been reading The Creative Act by legendary music producer Rick Rubin, and I am finding so much wisdom in the book that I thought I would share some of what I'm learning. 

Rick Rubin has produced albums from many artists over the years.  His discography includes albums from Johnny Cash, Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, Slayer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Neil Diamond. 

I saw an interview with him recently where the interviewer asked him about his skills in the recording studio, to which Rubin replied that he didn't have any.  

He admitted he couldn't run a soundboard, didn't know how to mix songs, and didn't know his way around too many instruments.  And yet, he has produced some of the most iconic albums ever. 

Rubin modestly states, "I just know what I like." But there is much more to his artistry, as he reveals in his book: 

How do we pick up on a signal that can neither be heard nor be defined?  The answer is not to look for it.  Nor do we attempt to predict or analyze our way into it.  Instead, we create an open space that allows it.  A space so free of the normal overpacked conditions of our minds that it functions as a vacuum.  Drawing down the ideas that the universe is making available. 

There is so much in this quote to unpack, but the first place I went was the absolute spirituality that permeates Rubin's thoughts on the creative process.  

In another place in the book, Rubin speaks about "ideas whose time has come" to explain how creativity can strike like lightning, producing ideas and art waiting for what the Bible calls "the fullness of time." 

I've been thinking and writing about God and our connection to the Divine for a long time.  This quote from Rubin encapsulates so much of what I believe.  

For so many of us, we spend so much time seeking God, trying to make ourselves worthy of God, earning God's favor, and experiencing God's presence, and so often, we find such efforts lead us nowhere.  

I realize that when Jesus told his followers to "Seek first the kingdom of God," he essentially told them to make space for the Spirit of God to lead them to shalom, or God's peace on earth.  

When we create space in our hearts, minds, and spirits for the presence of God, when we seek openness and a willingness to learn and grow, that is when the Spirit is felt most acutely.  

This is also when the creative force of the Spirit fills us with possibility, hope, dreams, and longing for more. 

When we choose to live in heart-forward and open ways, we soon discover depths of the Divine within us and without us that we never would have had we not created space for the Spirit. 

Jesus once told a young man who had followed all of the religious rules of his day to the "t" that there was one thing he lacked---to sell everything and give the proceeds to the poor so he could follow Jesus. 

The young man went away sorrowful because he was wealthy.  His work to earn favor with God never really got him connected to God.  Jesus urged him to let go of his security and live with an open heart, but he wouldn't. 

Imagine how different our lives would be if we let go of trying to please God by jumping through the hoops of religiosity and instead merely opened our hearts to desire God.  

It could change our lives, for sure.  And almost certainly the world around us. 

May it be so.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and always. Amen.  


  1. Beautiful words and truth. Open and focused back on Him is all we need.


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