“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all of your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations; your consciousness expands in every direction; and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” – Patanjali
Every morning after a cup of coffee while catching up on the daily news, John retreats to his studio, a small space situated at the rear of his house. This has been John’s ritual for as long as he can remember. As the hours pass, John is completely consumed by painting. It isn’t until evening draws near that he soon realises he has been painting for over ten hours with only a break here and there.
Now in his late fifties, John has been painting since his early twenties and has managed to carve out a successful career. His artwork is regularly featured in corporate foyers across the country, not to mention the regular art exhibits and private buyers who flock to buy his work.
John represents one of many artists who are inspired and, more importantly, not afraid to put in the dedicated hours to create masterpieces. Inspiration is the call from the soul to express itself through you. Inspiration is not only confined to the arts, it may express itself in various forms. You may be inspired if you’re a stay-at-home mother tending to your family. Inspiration is not defined by WHAT you do, rather it is defined by the state of being one experiences when inspired.
Inspiration is the expression of creativity and the mind of the universe flowing through you – and it is not exclusive to artists. If you yearn for direction, inspiration may be beckoning. How can you tell the difference between inspiration and happiness, since they both share similarities? Inspiration is characterised by a deep sense of joy and fulfilment. When you are inspired and pursuing your passion, time stands still. You are oblivious to your surroundings.
Those who are inspired find meaning and purpose to their work. They view their purpose as a calling rather than a job or career. Because of this they operate from a higher frequency, allowing the source of their inspiration to flow unimpeded through every cell of their body. Happiness on the other hand is a fleeting experience. You may be happy one moment and sad the next. We might conclude that happiness is ephemeral, bound by the constraints of external reality.
The following points are ways in which to cultivate and nurture inspiration in your daily life. It is worth reiterating that you need not be an artist, musician, dancer, etc. to connect with inspiration. Cooking and sharing a delicious meal with your loved one at the end of a long day may be regarded as an act of inspiration, since it is a calling from the heart.
- Discover your passion and connect with purpose: What are you most passionate about? What stirs your soul and leaves you daydreaming throughout the day? Those who find passion and purpose report an overwhelming sense of satisfaction, joy and bliss throughout their life. Their spirit is alive. Not only does time stand still, one feels the expression of their soul come alive. Happiness becomes an extension of universal intelligence, which serves as the conduit of this life-force flowing through you.
- Identify with thoughts which foster inspiration: It seems nowadays life has become a constant battle for survival. Amid the backdrop, inspiration takes a backseat as the mind is caught up in ‘survival mode’ rather than ‘inspired’. Weeding out thoughts which do not resonate with your deepest self allows inspiration to make its way into your life. Let go of disempowering thoughts of lack or limitation since that can stifle inspiration. As you distance yourself from such thoughts, you create a space around them rather than becoming invested in every thought. Drop those thoughts which no longer have a place in your mind and replace them with empowering ones. It won’t happen overnight, yet with persistence and compassion you can entertain thoughts which serve your highest good.
- Develop a purposeful vision: A purposeful vision is one that is connected to your WHY? A purposeful vision is the pursuit of that which resonates with your deepest self. To others it may seem trivial or a waste of time. To you, it is an opportunity to connect with your purposeful self – pursue it with determination. Your determination to succeed will be governed by how strong your why? is. If you have a strong enough why? success becomes an extension of your efforts. Your why? is your call to action. It is your internal reference and guidepost leading you towards your purpose-filled vision.
- Inspired people can’t wait to wake up in the morning: Inspired people don’t sleep in. You might be surprised to learn that inspired people are often insomniacs. Many of them ruminate in a positive way about their passion even while asleep. They live in the present moment. They practice infinite patience, since they are not bound by the constraints of tomorrow or yesterday. Inspired people make time in the afternoon for brief power naps in which to recharge. Not only does a twenty to thirty minute nap serve to lower stress, it improves cognitive function and stimulates right brain neural activity.
- Inspiration is an act of Flow: I previously wrote about Flow as a way to deeply connect with a pursuit or passion. Termed “Optimal Experience” by the Hungarian psychology professor, Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, Flow is the internal state one experiences when consumed by their passion. Therefore a violinist may be said to be in Flow during a live performance on stage. Inspiration is heightened when one is in Flow since they are connected with higher brain regions, notably the right hemisphere. The good news is that inspiration crosses over into other areas of your life as you become open to it. Inspiration loves to be called upon, so the more space you make for it, the more readily it is available to you.