Discovering God With Julia Cameron’s Advice

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Seeking Wisdom" by Julia Cameron. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you want a relationship with God? How can Julia Cameron’s book Seeking Wisdom help you discover God?

In Seeking Wisdom, Julia Cameron teaches you how to unblock and maximize your creativity through spirituality. Cameron explains that to maximize your creative potential, you must first get in touch with divinity through prayer.

Read Cameron’s advice on discovering God from Seeking Wisdom.

Discovering God

Cameron explains that the first step in maximizing your creativity is to find and connect to your own image of God. (Cameron refers to her concept of the divine as “God,” but explains that you can refer to your divine image as anything you like: God, the universe, Allah, the force, and so on.) She elaborates that most people grow up with an image of God that’s imposed on them by their parents or community, but this isn’t always the image that works best for them creatively—especially if this image of God is punitive, judgmental or clashes with their identity and values. Below we’ll explore the key to discovering God and how to start praying.

(Shortform note: For clarity and consistency, we’ll use Cameron’s original term and refer to the divine as “God.”)

Thinking About God May Stifle Creativity

Cameron claims that most people grow up with an image of God that’s imposed on them and that this often stifles their creativity. Recent research exploring the link between religion and creativity may support Cameron’s claim. One study found that followers of monotheistic religions, mainly Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, became less creative when instructed to think about God. Researchers believe this is because people feel like passive followers when thinking about God rather than active participants in their lives and creativity. Cameron might argue that this happens because their image of God is pre-ordained and distant rather than personalized and intimate.

Creating Your God

To find your own image of God, Cameron recommends first identifying the image you grew up with, then brainstorming what you’d like your ideal God to be like. To identify the image of God that you grew up with, answer the following questions: 

Did this God have an image? If so, what did God look like? Describe this God’s characteristics. For example, was God supportive, encouraging, scary, judgmental, strict, comedic, or angry? And so on.

To identify your ideal image of God, Cameron recommends brainstorming a list of characteristics you think a creative, supportive, and benevolent God would have. For example, maybe your God loves to sing, has limitless love and understanding, is wise, gentle, and always listening. Maybe your God has an afro, looks like Harry Styles, or is just formless energy. The most important thing is to build an image of God that you can consider a best friend. This is one that’s always listening, that’s never judgmental, and that you can be completely open and child-like with.

Cameron explains that doing things you love, like being in nature, reading, or listening to music, can also discover God. She adds that it’s also ok for your image of God to change over time in order to meet your current needs. Ultimately, your image of God should be whatever works best for you.

Talking to God

Cameron explains that once you’ve discovered God, you must figure out how to address and pray to God. We’re often instructed to address God formally, using phrases like “Dear Lord,” and to pray with rigidly prescribed words or hymns. However, Cameron says that you should address and pray to God in whatever way makes you feel most comfortable

You can speak to God with formal titles and prayers, or you can call God “Dude” or “Mama,” for example, and speak to God conversationally. Maybe you pray while driving, hiking, or cooking. Maybe you pray best while connecting with nature or singing. There are endless ways to pray. Explore and do what feels best.

Four Techniques for Harnessing God’s Creative Energy

Cameron explains that in addition to your own unique prayer to discover God’s creative energy, there are four techniques that you should use regularly

1) Morning Pageswrite three long-hand pages every morning within the first 45 minutes of waking up. These pages can be about anything—last night’s dreams, your plans for the day, things you’re excited or worried about, and so on. Don’t worry about making these coherent or well written—just consider them a “brain dump” before your day begins. This will clear your mind, give you direction, and increase your productivity. 

2) Writing—once a day, sit down and ask for guidance through writing. You can ask God a question or for advice and simply write down the reply you hear in your mind. While the answer you receive might be simpler than you think, trust your intuition. Cameron warns not to get too caught up in whether or not you’re truly hearing God. Whatever reply you hear was sent for a reason.

3) Solo Adventures—take yourself on at least one solo adventure a week. For example, you can visit a new place, take yourself to lunch, or visit a pet store. Cameron recommends planning these activities in advance so you don’t forget and can look forward to them. Solo adventures are the perfect opportunity to connect with God, receive signs, make personal discoveries, and find creative inspiration. 

4) Walks—take a solo walk without any distractions like music or pets, and try to do this at least twice a week for 20 minutes each. This is the best time to be alone with your thoughts and to connect with God. Cameron says that she often goes on a walk with a question or topic to discuss with her God, and she’s received an answer by the time she returns.

Discovering God With Julia Cameron’s Advice

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  • How to channel your spirituality into your creative endeavors
  • How to begin communicating with the divine
  • The types of prayers you should practice

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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