Highly functioning people understand the creative process, but they also join networks larger than themselves to bring their plans to fruition. In truth, the creative leader transcends the limited self and engages with the Self of the universe, also conceived as God, nature, or the All. Friedrich Nietzsche, in his brilliant interpretation of Greek tragedy, sees the poet as the “Genius of Nature,” who draws inspiration from Life itself. The poet doesn’t work from the limited self or ego, but becomes a channel through which the forces of nature surge. The artistic genius, the saint, the entrepreneur all have in common the ability to see themselves more as a hallway or transit station for features of existence that are larger than the limited self. These leaders have the ability to join with other people, join with nature, and join with the Divine. The person who restricts creativity to the limited self or ego will necessarily suffer a diminution of power, while the person who opens herself to the All will harness much greater influence. The self in isolation is weak: the Self in connection is strong.
The network that the adept harnesses should be more than just an immediate circle of acquaintances. The expanded network includes non-human animals, the natural environment, departed ancestors, and spirit guides. Tremendous things happen when inspired individuals transcend the usual boundaries of social groupings, national affiliation, and even species membership to create a better world. Connection with the All shatters boundaries and limitations, so that the individual merges with the Cosmos itself. Such a person cannot be defeated, for the limited self has ceased to become a consideration. This amounts not so much to self-abnegation or self-denial but to an expansion of the self to include the whole universe. This deliberate expansion becomes the goal of guided meditation.
Physical space will also manifest an individual’s inner sense of constriction or expansiveness. A depressed person trapped in tamasic, depressive and destructive energies, will also have an atrophied relationship to physical space and the physical body. A diagram will help to illustrate this point:
This diagram illustrates what depression and lethargy look like in relationship to geography. A person trapped in such a state has a diminished ability to interact with the physical environment and a diminished ability to use his or her body. Most likely an individual with such a lifestyle will also have a whole host of limiting beliefs as well as many physical and mental health deficiencies. In order to address aspects of health, the individual’s map of physical and social space must be expanded. Rich surroundings and a rich social, intellectual, and emotional life produce a healthy mind, which, in turn, produces innovative and interesting work. An atrophied psycho-social-geographical network will eventually manifest itself in poor physical and emotional health. One can live in such a diminished state for years, even decades, but eventually the penalty must be paid, usually in the form of chronic health problems.
By contrast, a healthy individual gets into touch with his or her surroundings, in terms of both inner and outer “landscapes.” The healthy individual lives in a variety of contexts, pursues varied interests, and interacts with a variety of people. The difference can be illustrated as follows:
This individual will be factually busier than the one pictured above, but will feel much less exhausted. This is due not only to the rejuvenating effects of physical exercise, but also due to the more stimulating environment provided by social situations and contact with nature. The activities pictured here are used as examples only: the actual activities may vary. What counts are the number and quality of connections that the individual makes with his or her surroundings, to include connections with people and with non-human nature. Notice as an aside that when individuals have expanded relationships with physical surroundings, the community will also grow stronger as the overall number of connections increases. The effect on mental health cannot be overstated, as the individual with a varied and interesting environment will be smarter and more creative. The brain functions best when it receives adequate stimulation.
The implications for personal development should be clear at this point. The person who has an atrophied relationship with physical space and embodiment, who suffers from an overdose of tamasic energies, will not be able to muster the enthusiasm necessary to change careers, to start a new business, to write a book, or to go back to school. His or her projects will suffer from a lack of inspiration and a lack of social backing. By contrast, the person who has an expansive psycho-social-geographical network will feel more buoyant and receive more inspiration. When the person in the first scenario fails at something, he or she will be much less resilient and will have no space in which to retreat when things go wrong. The person in the second scenario has many resources on which to draw in times of trouble and will be more likely to find the next strategy to move things forward. Of course, both of these sample networks exist in a state of flux, and all networks will expand and contract. The only true problem comes when an individual cannot move out of a diminished network and gets stuck there permanently. As a side note, the physical size of the network doesn’t matter: someone could stay within a city block and have a highly expansive network or travel the world and have a highly diminished network. The quantity and quality of connections count the most, not the geographic “spread” of the network.