What’s So Important About Inspiration?

This is a question I often get asked so here is my latest answer for you

Even from a young age I was aware that life seemed to fall into two categories. Most of the time, life was normal. Most things that happened were variations on the familiar and my thoughts and feelings stayed within a certain range.

But every now and again, I would have times of bliss, times that went far beyond normal happiness. I would feel elated, filled with joy and wonder, as if lifted up to see much bigger horizons. Sometimes the beauty in belonging to this universe would take my breath away.

These times were very special to me. They became defining moments – high points from which I could navigate through the lowlands.

I noticed that my energy and motivation would shoot up and my confidence was boosted. Creative ideas arrived without effort and I found solutions to vexing problems. I gained the clarity to see what is truly important in life which helped me make wiser decisions.

Because I was curious, I began to take a deeper interest in what was going on. As I explored further, I became aware that I wasn’t alone. Apparently other people had similar experiences. Perhaps you too?

I liked these special moments a lot and decided I wanted more of them. This is when the term inspiration came to me – the literal meaning of inspire is ‘to breathe life into’ and that is what seemed to be happening. Being inspired is like awakening from a kind of sleep-walking.

This is why we all love hero stories. We are drawn in because we see an ordinary person ‘wake up’ and do extra-ordinary things. We feel a personal resonance because we would like to rise above the ordinary in our own lives.

We all have the ability to wake up to life, to become inspired. I used to think that this is something we have to strive for, to attain. But now I see this ability is part of our nature. There is no qualification necessary; it applies to everyone.

There is no need to feel stuck in our lives, putting up with habitual stress, frustration or failure. Being inspired gives us a glimpse of our latent powers and talents.

It’s then we can see that we already have the means to escape from our particular prison. We see our role in putting bars on the window and locks on the door. Then we can move out and live in a more life-affirming and rewarding place.


What’s So Important About Inspiration? — 2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the e-mail on this wonderful sunny morning. We have been so lucky with the weather for a week or more now and it looks set to last a little longer. For most this is a welcome change to grey and wet not to mention chilly days that preceded it. I love the word inspiration it is like the in breath we take drawing in the fresh oxygen to fill our lungs and oxygenate our blood. The opposite of course which is equally important is the breath put passing out all the exhaust products from the body before taking another in breath. The natural thought then is to expiration which if followed to its natural conclusion is something dying or expiring. We of course do not reach this point (until we reach the point of death) and we simple inspirate again and the cycle continues. So whether it is a breath, a scene, a picture, a story we take it in and this inflates and uplifts us if it is fresh and new and in a way full of oxygen the giver of life. If however we take in an unpleasant scene, a terrible story etc. it is like re breathing the air you have just breathed out and it has less oxygen in it and provides us with less good ness and if we continue doing so it will eventually fail to provide the life giving oxygen and we will die. So for me taking moments to get inspired is as important as breathing fresh air and allowing it to feed us.

    • What a lovely way of seeing it Jon. Just like the oxygen we breathe, we need life-energy to wake up from sleep-walking through life. As you imply, the word inspire can refer to both the physical breath inwards and the connection with life-energy.

      This connection with life-energy is actually more like unblocking the flow. We are already part of life-energy – it’s universal – but when we are ‘sleep-walking’ the flow is constricted. Although we are often unaware of it, this constriction of flow is because of certain habits of thinking.

      Your point about the quality of what we breathe in – whether it is uplifting or life-draining – is so true. Ultimately, our experience of any external event or news story comes down to what thoughts we have flowing through our mind. But each of us can make intelligent choices about what we focus our attention on and what to let pass by. In your analogy, we can either choose to breathe fresh air to revitalise ourselves or stay in the stale fug that steadily depletes our lives.

      Put like this, the choice seems obvious but staying aware of this choice throughout each day is not guaranteed. Fortunately, just like physical breathing, we can use our feelings as a reliable guide. When you begin to feel a shortage of oxygen, you know that you need some fresh air. Let go of your current thoughts and let life-energy flow freely once again.