REMARKABLE PEOPLE, laurel clark
reprinted from the May 2000 issue of Thresholds Quarterly
A Direct Link with the Hightest Source of Creativity
All her life Laurel Clark has embraced the pursuit of education. The urge to share what she has learned with others has been an integral part of her life, from her early years as a tutor in elementary and high school to a teaching assistant and facilitator in college. She has been a faculty member of the School of Metaphysics since 1979, serving as vice-president for many years.
Thresholds: Dr. Clark are the author of Shaping Your Life: The Power of Creative Imagery. I know you hold a doctorate in metaphysics, and you are well-rounded in your field. What made you focus on creative imagery as the subject matter for your first book?
Dr. Clark: A lot of it came about from my experience in teaching. In my teenage years and my early twenties, a lot of the accomplishments in my life seemed to work really well, things went my way. It seemed like thats the way it should be. So when I started teaching people, and I came across people who had a very hard time being prosperous, or having things go their way, especially in terms of finances, people who were always broke, or struggling to make ends meet, or it seemed like their life was consumed by just taking care of their basic physical needs....I really wanted to be able to help people. It seemed like a waste when I saw people who were obviously very talented, obviously very creative who could have been doing all kinds of wonderful things with their life, and all of their energy was consumed with struggle, just struggling for survival. So in the process of teaching what I began to learn, and to make more conscious, was the step-by-step process of creating anything. I know a lot of people when they hear the word creativity think about art - fine art, music, painting, dance. They dont think about it in terms of raising a family or being able to organize a room well. What I wanted to be able to give to people was a way to really be able to use their own creative energies in productive and practical ways.
Thresholds: What kinds of changes do you anticipate someone who reads your book will be able to make?
Dr. Clark: One is that in whatever they do in their lives, when they have a desire for a deeper fulfillment they will be able to identify whats missing, and then fill that. I have gotten a lot of feedback from people who have told me that this book has really helped them to change their outlook on life, to get a better job, to remember things that when they were a child they had imagined at one time, and had given up on, or put aside. It stimulated them to believe in themselves again and to believe in their dreams, to fulfill dreams that they have. I see it as a practical kind of book that people can use in whatever they deal with every day, whether its wanting to create better harmony with their kids, or be able to start a business, or do better in the work situation that they have.
Thresholds: What would you say separates your book from all the other books on visualization? What makes it unique, outstanding?
Dr. Clark: I think one is that its very down to earth. When youre in harmony with the Universal Laws, and there are universal laws of creation, it seems like things are magical. When you know how those work so that you can consciously be in harmony with them, it doesnt take any of the magic away, but it also gives you a kind of security that its something that you can cause. Its not something that you have to hope will happen, or fear that it wont happen, and the book provides that, knowing step-by-step how to cause miracles to come about.
Another distinguishing characteristic of the book is that it describes who we are as spiritual beings, and helps people to understand that the purpose of creating things, relationships, physical circumstances and so forth is ultimately for us to become closer to God, to our own creative essence. Thats what life is all about.
Thresholds: Do you have anything to say to someone who is a real, kind of a self-proclaimed skeptic or realist or a, I guess in some cases, cynic that thinks that all of this stuff about visualization or imagery or dreaming or day-dreaming as just a waste of time, and night dreams are just the brain clearing the trash out of your neurons, or whatever? Do you have that kind of person often that seeks you out, and if you do, what do you say to them?
Dr. Clark: Thats a good question. Yes, people like that seek us out. Sometimes because they want to argue, and thats kind of entertaining for them. But I think moreso its because they are attached to ideas, and wherever they got those ideas from, theyve built their identity around it, but they dont work. Because they have experiences that they cant explain. It might be one experience that they had that they couldnt explain that kind of plagues them. Its like a thorn keeps pricking at them. It might be that theres someone they knew years ago with whom they were very close; all of a sudden one day they just think about that person. And then the next day, they find out that their old friend died. And its so dramatic that even though they have convinced themselves that telepathy doesnt occur and that once someones dead theyre dead and thats all there is to them, it just keeps kind of pricking at their consciousness, and they wonder why that happened. I think thats why people ask those kinds of questions, that they really do want to know whats beyond the physical existence.
Thresholds: That there is no doubt though that people can become confused, in other words they can imagine things that are not real, that arent there even when youre talking about intuitive or psychic realms. You know people can make believe or make things that are only in their own imagination, thats the only place that they exist. How do you tell the difference?
Dr. Clark: The best way is through discipline. By discipline I mean learning first of all what your attention is, and where your attention is. And that requires a lot of practice. I mean, people throw the word attention around but to even know what your attention is requires practice with some kind of concentration exercise. An example is, sometimes you might see someone kind of staring off into space and you ask them what theyre thinking; they come to and they say, I dont know. Their mind was somewhere, but they have no idea where it was. So in order to know when youre imagining something, and by that I mean you are forming it in your mind, or when you are receiving a thought that somebody else is thinking, you need to know what your attention is and where it is. If your mind is still, and if you know your mind is still and there is a thought that seems to appear in your mind thats not yours, and you know its not yours because you know how you think, then you can trace where that came from or who is thinking the thought that you received. And it requires discipline with the mind to be able to do that and with the attention.
So what I would recommend to somebody like that is that they do some type of exercise to exercise their attention, to develop concentration, to develop listening which is a use of attention and concentration, and then try it out, experiment with it. Learn how to interpret dreams, and maybe for a six month period of time, practice remembering their dreams, writing down their dreams, and interpreting them, and see what kind of sense it makes.
Thresholds: What do you think about in the case of someone who will not be disciplined who either doesnt know how, or just refuses. What do you think about the use of drugs in order to bring a chemical balance so that theres not the craziness that can go on with some peoples creative urges, where the creative urges are way out of line and can even be destructive?
Dr. Clark: I dont really know. What I do know is that drugs themselves, psychotropic kinds of drugs that affect the consciousness ultimately are harmful because they inhibit or destroy the use of will-power. I know that another thing that they do is actually dull the mind. I had a very good friend when I was in college who was labelled hyperactive as a child and they gave her drugs like Ritalin that were supposed to slow her mind down, and she hated them. She said that she couldnt think, it was like walking around in a cloud. So in that way, I think that they are harmful. I do know some people, though, who have been at a point of severe depression almost to the point of suicide, and counseling and other things like that were not solving the problem, where temporarily restoring a kind of chemical balance to the brain got them in a condition where they could get counseling and get something straightened out, so that then they could get off the drugs.
Thresholds: You think there are chemicals in nature that can do that as well as man-made ones?
Dr. Clark: I do. And I also think that there are dietary changes that can affect the nervous system and the balance that can do that.
Thresholds: That would be something asked and answered in an Intuitive Health Analysis?
Dr. Clark: An Intuitive Health Analysis would be the best place, and yes that could be answered.
Thresholds: How long do you think it will be before these analyses are more widely used among the status quo, the so-called traditional medicine thats only existed during the last 50 years or so?
Dr. Clark: Unfortunately, I think it will take longer than Id like it to. I do see that within the past five years that kind of information has become more accepted by the medical profession than lets say the previous five years. And I think that has been stimulated by a combination of things. There are some books that are out, and people on the lecture circuit who talk about intuitive diagnosis, and so therefore there are more people who are asking about it, and who ask their doctors about it. But I think also, its the frustration on the part of medical professionals. People sometimes can say cynical things about doctors. You know, theyre just in it for the buck and all that, but I think most people go into the medical profession because they want to heal people. And then they get entrenched in the medical system which is extremely physical, and does not treat people, it treats bodies as if they were machines. And the doctors are not able to do what they want to do. They cant heal people that way. So, I think that there are some doctors and other medical professionals who are themselves looking for alternatives and something that they can use that will truly help people.
Thresholds: Do you think theres a link between creativity and health or healing?
Dr. Clark: Yes. Healing is growth, its causing the generation, sometimes the re-generation of life. And thats what creation is.
Thresholds: Isnt that the intention of the School of Metaphysics Spiritual Initiation Sessions? Particularly the late summer session you mentor on creativity. From what Ive heard and experienced, those weekends are the kind of transformative experience you are talking about, the quantum change someone can experience when they begin to direct their mind and utilize the minds power. Why does it happen?
Dr. Clark: I think the primary reason is that when people are creating they are so happy. Theyre alive. Theyre stimulated, theyre stimulating. Theyre interesting to be around. There is always a creative urge that people have, but what Ive seen is that a lot of people learn early on to either deny it or shut it off. As it was described in one of the intuitive reports for a young man who is only in his twenties, the creative mind is in chains. The report gave him keys to be able to break the chains and really exhibit the creative genius that hes capable of. Thats the kind of world that I can imagine living in, a world where everybody has the full use of their creativity, and uses it for very productive ends not only for themselves, but for the benefit of other people. So I see it as a session thats really fundamental to peoples well-being personally as well as all of humanity, the kind of society that we want to live in.
Thresholds: You made a leap from creativity to genius, do you think theyre the same thing? Or do you think they are sequential?
Dr. Clark: Thats a good question. I think that genius is when somebody has a direct link with the highest source of their creativity or God. And I think thats what all of us are designed to be is like a channel for God in whatever way we experience it or express it. I think people who exhibit true genius are ones who know how to discipline their mind so that they can cause the conscious mind to be still, and to be able to use all of the energies that are available. I think there are a lot of people who have flashes of genius that seem to come upon them, and oftentimes its not disciplined and so they kind of swing from one extreme to another, where they can create something thats astounding, and then go for long periods of being depressed or in a kind of black hole as far as their creativity is concerned. So I think theyre linked, but I wouldnt say theyre exactly the same thing.
Thresholds: Who comes to mind when you think of creative genius by your own definition?
Dr. Clark: I think of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; he is the first person that comes to mind. Because what I believe he was doing when he was composing music was drawing upon knowledge, whether it was conscious or unconscious, of universal truth in regard to vibration. Because the experience of listening to his music is very soothing, energizing, and inspiring. Universally people report that when they listen to that music it produces or stimulates a certain state of consciousness in them. And Ive always believed that its possible for people to learn how to align their own individual conscious mind with universal truth, universal vibration. I think thats what any kind of genius does, it brings whats universal into some kind of form, and depending on what the form is, people use it in different ways.
Thresholds: And Your Souls Signature is dedicated to exploring genius and cultivating individual creative consciousness?
Dr. Clark: Yes. Its quite astounding because a very broad range of people are coming together for these sessions. Athletes, musicians, housewives, college students, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, healers. In our most recent Souls Signature session, one woman who is a translator originally came from Finland; another was a chiropractor born and raised in China. One man, a university fundraiser by profession, experiments creatively in his spare time by playing several musical instruments, singing, and filmmaking.
In regard to what we were just talking about in terms of creating something that would help other people, there was one young man who came who was just about to graduate from high school and begin college. He got some valuable information about helping other people with his creativity through an intuitive report that is a part of the session. This report describes the state of the individuals consciousness in regard to how he or she utilizes Creative Mind [see Akashic Library article page 3-Ed.].
Thresholds: Being familiar with the Intuitive Reports - Past Life and Health Analyses - given through SOM, I suspect the kind of information revealed about the consciousness of the participants also has a strong universal essence. Are you able to encourage people to embrace these truths as well as those described in their personal intuitive analysis?
Dr. Clark: Yes. One of the universal principles in this recent session is that the whole point of creating is not to create a thing or an experience, or something outside yourself, its to create yourself. And its in forming you, your own consciousness, in developing qualities in yourself through whatever the thing is that you are creating, that thats the whole purpose for creation. Thats what brings about the fulfillment in creation, and its also what gives somebody the key to being motivated, continually motivated. [The key] is to have some kind of ideal of who you want to become, or how you want to become transformed in whatever it is that you are doing. That was surprising to everyone present.
Thresholds: How do you receive that realization and make it real in your life? How do you live it? You know its one thing to have it, and its wonderful to hear it, but its another to really allow it wash over you so that it becomes second nature to you.
Dr. Clark: I think in order to do that its really essential that somebody practice some kind of mental discipline, because youve got to be aware of who you are in order to use what you have thats productive to cause change. And listening is a very good tool, listening to your words, listening to your thoughts so that you have a way of becoming aware of how you even identify yourself. For example, one mans Creative Mind Report said his creativity was in chains. It said the way that he chained his creativity was by making excuses and that this was very unconscious. It further described that by listening to himself speak he would become aware of those excuses. The first step is awareness of what you want to change and the next step is to imagine what you want to change to, causing that very purposefully.
One thing that helps people is to make decisions, to decide - this is a quality I want to develop. I want to be more loving. I want to be more loyal. I want to understand integrity - and then to do that purposefully.
Thresholds: Do the changes initiated during these weekends endure beyond these sessions? Do you stay in contact with the people who attend Spiritual Initiation Sessions to see how their lives have been enriched or changed?
Dr. Clark: I have. A suggestion offered to one woman was to nurture her ideas all the way through to completion. It said that she was very good at coming up with ideas, but as far as really bringing them to fruition, she would stop short. It would be kind of like somebody deciding they want to grow a plant. They plant the seeds and they forget to water it, and so the plant dies. Thats kind of what she was doing with her creative ideas. So one of the things that she did was to purposely establish in her life creative projects that she could do with the intention of carrying them all the way to completion. There is a story that she had been thinking about writing for awhile and so she has been working on that. She has been working with some video production for that purpose.
Theres another person who in some ways was kind of the flip side of this womant. It said that he had difficulty initiating things, but once he got started, he was very good at being able to bring them through to completion. His stumbling block was being decisive and starting things. So he gave himself a practice to make a certain number of decisions every day for the purpose of building his will and being decisive with the intention of learning that he can change. Part of his difficulty in making decisions is that he thinks that once he makes a decision, he is going to have to stick with it forever. He becomes very attached to the things that he has. So thats what hes been experimenting with, and its been working really well for him.
Theres another person who came to the session who then came to some other sessions that we had in the fall because it was such......For her it was an extremely transformative weekend, and it even showed in her physical countenance. She looked five years younger at the end of the weekend than she did at the beginning of the weekend.
There was one person who was not a student in the School of Metaphysics when she came. In fact, this was her first introduction to the School of Metaphysics, and she decided to become a student so that she could learn more about how to discipline her mind, more about using the inner levels of consciousness to create more completely.
Thresholds: Lets talk about those inner levels for a moment. You are an intuitive researcher, having given thousands of Past Life Profiles and Intuitive Health Analyses. How do you view consciousness from your own personal experience in terms of the creative element of intuition and what the possibilities are?
Dr. Clark: I think theyre very much linked. I know that this is true in my own experience, and I think its true universally that when somebody is creating, its not just their conscious mind thats involved with it. How people experience it is very different. It could be that all of a sudden they have an intuitive flash of insight where things come together. I know that especially when I was in college, I used to experience that quite a bit because I took many different courses from very different disciplines. And in fact one experience I remember clearly because it kind of paved the way for me knowing that I wanted to find a place like the School of Metaphysics was when I was taking a class in psychology in which I was reading Carl Jung, who studied and wrote a lot about universal symbols that he called archetypes. I was also taking a course in fantasy literature that was in the English department, and we were reading myths, fairy tales, ghost stories even. Then I was taking a class in the Religion department that may have been called the Psychology of Religion. We read books describing peoples mystical, religious experiences. And everything came together, the things Jung was describing in universal archetypes, they were showing up in these fairy tales, and they were showing up in the mystical visions that people had. At that time I had never even heard the word metaphysics, but it was as if everything crystallized and I knew that what I was looking for was universal symbols and what they meant.
That was also part of what led me to begin writing down my own dreams; knowing that although I didnt know what dreams meant, I knew that there was something going on with dreams that was symbolic, that they werent just literal. What I know now is that part of what occurred then is that my conscious choices were stimulating past understandings. What I mean by that are things that I had learned prior even to this lifetime, and that was why I was so fascinated. There were other people in my classes who were reading the same things, the information was the same, but it didnt produce the same kind of urgency to see where that would lead and what to do with that kind of information.
Sometimes people will purposely do something because of an intuitive kind of experience theyve had. For instance, theyll have a vision, and they may not understand the vision or know where it came from, but they know its meaningful and then they will start looking for a way to satisfy the desire for meaning. I know that scientific discoveries, many of them come about in that way. Either that someone is looking for an answer and they work with it consciously and then go to sleep and they get answer in the form of a dream, or they have a kind of vision that occurs to them. Or sometimes, theyll have a vision first, and then seek to create what it is that theyve envisioned, or sometimes a combination of both of those.
Thresholds: What do you think causes those intuitive flashes? You mentioned the creative impulse for people like Mozart, scientific discoverers or inventors, how much of their creativity, or our own for that matter, is luck or good genes? Do you think its God appointed, or to what do you attribute that kind of spark of creative genius that obviously not everybody exhibits, but certain people do?
Dr. Clark: Thats a good question and Ive thought about that quite a bit. I dont think its luck. I do think that, because I believe in reincarnation, people who want to use that creativity choose environments to help stimulate it. Mozart, for example, had a father who was a musician, and he was taught to play instruments (Im not sure whether it was harpsichord or piano) when he was very young. If he had been born into a family of woodcutters, lets say, he might never have used his music in a genius type way. He might have, but I dont think it would have been as easy or natural to do that. I know that Ive spoken with people who were born into families, and its kind of interesting because usually it wasnt their mothers, it was their grandmothers who were very psychic, who would have visions or talk about dreams, or have clarivoyant types of experiences. Ive seen this with many students of mine, that the ones for whom its very easy to trust their intuitive abilities, the ones who have kept those alive, were encouraged to do that when they were young. Whereas other people may have had intuitive or clairvoyant experiences when they were young and were told, thats not real, or thats just your imagination, or you shouldnt say things like that; they learned to turn it off or to deny it. Then it takes some work to reawaken it.
Thresholds: You think it can be reawakened then?
Dr. Clark: Yes, most definitely.
Tresholds: You believe all human beings have this capacity? This creative urge?
Dr. Clark: Right.
Dr. Clark: I think its part of what were made of and why we were made. I believe that we came from a creative source, a creator, God is what we call it in this society, and every culture has a name; it doesnt really matter what you call it. There is a creative source that we come from, and our nature is creative and because of that its part of the seed that were made of. The urge is, its a kind of continual flow of energy that comes from that seed idea of who we are. And what I do believe is different from person to person is how much conscious awareness people have of that. Some people are very acutely aware of it, and some people are not. Some people are also much more disciplined than others. In general, the more disciplined someone is, the better able they are to direct that and to channel that. Which is kind of funny because the classical description of an artist is someone whos very undisciplined, and very volatile in their creativity and bordering on insanity sometimes. And there are a lot of people who create like that, but they tend to get burned out pretty quickly.
Thresholds: And to tell the truth often their creations dont really benefit humanity either. However, you dont have to be doing something new in order to create. Correct?
Dr. Clark: Right. Any time that you are using your mind to create an image, and any time that you are bringing things together into a form, that is creative. What kind of form you bring it into, and what kind of substance you use, thats a matter of choice and people make a lot of different choices.
I hope that more and more people will begin to appreciate the process of creativity and learn that it is the creative process itself that is important, not whether they have initiated an idea or been first to imagine something. Some people think they should be somewhere that theyre not. They can stifle what they have going for them because they think they should be beyond that. And its really important for people to appreciate what they have and where they are, and by using that thats how they are able to ascend to the next step. One example that comes to mind is one of the people who came to the Creative Mind session. What it described in her intuitive report is that she had a very great capacity for imitating, that she could see what someone else had created, she could imitate it, but she didnt just reproduce exactly what they had done. She would put her own flair, her own stamp on it, and in that way that was how she would bring out her own creativity. What it suggested to her was that the best way for her to transform at this point was to raise her standards of who she would imitate. By imitating people who could do beyond what she thought she was capable of, she would find that she could imitate them and in that way, already raise her own level of creativity. Then by her going beyond that, she would be transformed.
Prior to coming to the session, she had already done a lot of reading and a lot of studying about many different aspects of metaphysics. And she had the idea that she should be inwardly motivated, and not outwardly motivated, that that was bad or not very evolved to have to depend on someone else to stimulate her. The Creative Mind report told her that she wasnt there yet. At her stage of awareness she was using her ego, which is your motivator, to use imitation as a form of stimulation, and that there was nothing wrong with that. In fact, there was something very good with that because she used it very well, and it was important for her to use that. And I think thats a very good lesson for people. I dont remember the exact words, but theres a passage in the Bhagavad Gita that talks about doing your own duty, your own dharma, and that its much better to do your own duty and do it well than it is to covet someone elses dharma. And I agree with that.
Thresholds: From what you see, on a whole, what would you say that humanity is creating right now, standing at the threshold of the century, millennium? Tell us what you see.
Dr. Clark: One thing that I see is in a way creating the kind of condition that will stimulate a deeper need. I already see it happening to some extent, but I think its going to happen even more. And what I mean by that is that in this society in the United States, we have the means to create pretty much any and every physical thing we could want. And we are doing that. I mean people create all kinds of machines, all kinds of computers, not too long ago there was a big uproar in the news because scientists were creating bodies through cloning which I think has probably been occurring for a while, but it finally got to the attention of the news media. Because we have the technology and the know-how to create anything we want physically, its stimulating people to ask questions about why. You know, why we even have creative power, what creative power is, what our responsibility is, are we God, do we come from God, if were not God, then what is our relationship to God? I think that those kinds of questions are very important for people not only to ask, but to answer. And to have their lives be a way of living out what that answer is. I think that people want that. I think people want to be more responsible, I think they want to be more aware of themselves as spiritual beings, and not just physical beings. And I dont think that as a whole we are creating that state of awareness yet, but I think were creating the conditions that will stimulate the need for people to create that awareness. My hope is that as we move into the next millennium we will create that awareness, and that people will be a little bit more sensible about what they need and what they want, instead of doing everything that they can do physically just because it is available, being a little bit wiser in the choices they make about what they are going to create, and why, and for what purpose, and the long term effects and the far reaching effects of what theyre creating.
Thresholds: Would you say thats a great part of your motivation in being a teacher?
Dr. Clark: Yes. Most definitely.
Thresholds: I know youre also a quite a humanitarian in terms of how you utilize your time, and how much of yourself you give to humanitarian endeavors. Of those, where do you see yourself putting the most creative energy, I suppose in the future, in the next ten, fifteen years?
Dr. Clark: I dont know if this will extend for the next ten to fifteen years, but certainly in the next couple of years, one thing that I want to focus on is writing for children. There are a lot of reasons for that. One is that children are so open and so receptive and so needy. And I really hadnt been aware until recently (because theres a young child who lives in my environment) that whats available for kids to read is very disappointing to say the least, destructive at worst, in terms of the kinds of messages and the kinds of images that are taught to children.
I mean some of [the material available] are funny and some of them are cute, but there are just ideas and images that kids dont need to fill their brains with when there are so many other much more stimulating, much more encouraging, much more inspiring things that children could be learning. And they want to. Theyre so hungry to learn that they ought to have something where they can learn about the truth, and learn about what will be hopeful, and what will be inspiring. Another reason why I appreciate that kind of venue for writing is that its simple and clear. Simplicity has always been really important to me. I think that communicating truth in simple ways is something thats valuable, not just for children but for adults. I know that in my lifetime reading has been very important to me. I can remember books that I read throughout my childhood and my early adolescent and adolescent years that had a very big impact on me in all kinds of ways. So I think that writing for children is part of being able to produce something that will pave the way for the future, because children obviously are going to be the next adults in the near future.
©1998 School of Metaphysics, Thresholds Quarterly Vol. 16 No. 1
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