Undertaking anything starts with an idea. The journey begins with the first step, the novel starts with the first word or the symphony began by playing the first note. How many times have you heard of writer’s block though? How many times have you thought “I’ll start that tomorrow?” How many times have you found yourself at a loose end and wondered, “ Just what am I supposed to be doing?” Sometimes we have a sense of purpose, we understand the big picture and know that it is correct but we have no real idea of what the next “word” or “note” should be.
Inspiration can be defined as, “the the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” In this way you could be fooled into thinking that inspiration requires an external source of stimulation. The next step you take is only made in response to the stimulus you just experienced. This is the simple law of cause and effect.
The boat moves only because the wind catches the sail. The limitation here is that all success, indeed all power and control in your life, are deferred to people, forces and events surrounding you. Underlying this definition and mindset is a fundamental belief that you have no ability to choose, to determine your own results and outcomes. In addition, there is a deflected belief that everything which happens to you (either success or failure) is due to circumstances, events or forces beyond your control.
Inspiration is also defined as, “a sudden brilliant or timely idea.” The shift here is towards the internalisation of control. Inspiration is not provided to us externally, we self generate this through our own thoughts and processing. We are fully in control of our experiences and the outcomes that these generate. Here we accept that all things are movement forward, irrespective of whether the actual outcome as been success or not.
All events provide feedback, feedback from which we can progress to the next step. Underlying this definition is a mindset which still embraces the fundamental law of cause and effect, but now is one where we position ourselves at the cause. We are no longer the boat being blown by the wind, we are the wind blowing the boat!
Inspiration we need is absolutely everywhere. The reason that it is absolutely everywhere is because it exists within us and throughout us. It is absolutely the case that external events might impact to stimulate an idea but that idea was sitting there all along. The words were always there, the notes of symphony were always there, the next step on the journey was always there, you just needed to focus on it.
There are several means through which we can generate this focus internally, rather than blindly waiting for the next “inspirational event” to come along. Mindfulness and meditation, through whatever means you would like to achieve this (actively through things like martial arts, yoga, tai chi etc. or passively through breath control and relaxation) stimulates alpha waves within the brain.
Alpha waves have been positively linked to the growth of creativity within the individual and also have been shown to reduce the incidence of depressive symptoms. Taking time to focus our experience, to allow ourselves to be conscious of our thoughts in a non-judgemental way and become aware of our presence in that moment, can be the gateway to true inspiration!!!