Excerpt from Poetry Myth and Vision by George Jisho Robertson

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This full essay was published in our Fall 2014 print issue and is available for digital download here.

‘CREATIVE AWARENESS’ (sometimes I call it Poesis and sometimes Samantabhadra) is our pure innate original nature that excludes nothing and excludes no one. Ever responsive and responsible, it interweaves the lights and shadows, appearances, and possibilities of our senses, thoughts and dreams into a dynamic field of vision or mandala of energies and intelligences we call self or world. We experience the world as we see it mirror to mirror dancing. To release these energies we must again and again surrender our hard-won self-world vision to allow a new and immediately responsive sense of what is present to pour through, transforming us as it transforms. This is the way of child’s play, of adventure, a courageous dance of sense, perception, feeling, thought and mind into the realm of the new; it is discovery, it is awakening. In this dance, birth, growth and bereavement join hands and dance in a round, like night and day, delusion and enlightenment. We are each moons to one another’s sun, suns to one another’s moon. Moon draws our waves and sun illuminates them. In this, dream and awakening are partners in their dance and each moves within the other. This is the way of Love.

    Creative awareness is the real meaning of what the Buddha calls mindfulness, which is so often confused with attentiveness; attentiveness selects in order to focus, where mindfulness opens and includes; it is the energetic source of how we see the world of the self, see the world as the self and take responsibility. Here nothing is fixed. The mandala of energies is always transforming, has its shadows and mysteries, and is a web of inclusive relationships where the light and the dark, the joyful and the sorrowful, the cruel and the tender may be related and harmonised. Many ancient myths, creative artists, shamans and shamanic cultures present their mandala as a community of presences, such as totems, avatars, spirits, incarnations, angels, gods and sacred messengers. These take a form and speak with a voice given by the dream intelligence (which does not only operate in sleep, but in samadhi and even in waking and hypnagogic states for many, and for the natural child). Creative artists may draw on these sources to develop their own mythic vision or on their own experience. In music, song, sculpture, painting, poem, dance and drama, these mythic, archetypal, historical, real and invented presences, even a stone, a house, a road or a drop of dew, present the wisdom of our intelligences, awakening the readers to conscious active life, challenging denial, suppression and complacency.


George Jisho RobertsonGEORGE JISHO ROBERTSON is an 81-year old poet and photographer who lives in South East London. He was a Senior High School Principal for 18 years and then a Zen priest. He now devotes himself to writing and photography, and to family and friendship. The core of his work is about the nature of creativity and how it informs our lives and has informed human culture.