He was once a pop star with the band Faithless. Now he’s a creative guru who knows how to turn bad traits into superpowers
“Use your inner demons”
Jamie Catto sold several million records in the ’90s as a founding member of dance act Faithless.
But in 1999 he realised he was less interested in success itself than in the process that led to it.
Leaving Faithless, Catto travelled to 50 countries in four years with his multimedia project, 1 Giant Leap, jamming and philosophising about the creative force with Indian gurus, the chiefs of African clans, and stars including Dennis Hopper and Bono. He shares his findings in documentaries, workshops, books… and interviews.
THE RED BULLETIN: So how do we go about exploiting our creative potential?
JAMIE CATTO: By retreating to the castle of your childhood.
What do you mean by that?
When we are born, we’re completely open, curious, adventurous and limitless. Metaphorically speaking, at that point each one of us is a castle with a thousand rooms. Then we start boarding up rooms to please others. Most of us end up as grown-ups thinking we’re a three-bedroom flat in need of work.
OK, so how do we get back to our castles?
Firstly, by not denying your inner demons, which is something that’s drummed into us. Turn towards them instead. More than that, learn to use them as superpowers. Give me a seemingly negative character trait…
That’s simple. All envious people have one great skill in common: they’re excellent observers. And the best thing is, it’s the same with every weakness. Every demon comes with skills, but most of the time they’re ill-used. Did you know that in ancient Greece, ‘daemons’ were considered divine helpers rather than problems?
What about aggression, unreliability or meanness? What positive character traits do we get from those?
First, you must communicate with your inner demons. You can only change them once that’s the case.
And how do we do that?
By cultivating the ability to drop into emptiness. You just sit and watch your mind. After two minutes, your thoughts will be thinking by themselves as you watch. At this point, you realise you’re in control of your own mind and not just a puppet on a string.
Sounds like a rather long and arduous path…
Not at all. To start with, it takes just 10 minutes a day: 10 one-minute moments. You say to yourself, ‘Whenever I use a key, or whenever I flush the toilet, I’m going to stop for 60 seconds and be totally present as the watcher.’ Then you carry on with your day. The more of those moments you can fit into a day, the quicker the watcher part of you will be cultivated.
Catto’s book Insanely Gifted is out now