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Opening to Your Spiritual Inspiration

This article isn't intended to tell you ways to find spiritual inspiration. Inspiration isn't something that you can grasp and hold on to. Looking for something to motivate you from without like a book, song, article or guru can be useful tools to open you up to inspiration, but it is not inspiration itself. Spiritual inspiration can come from anywhere and blows around like the wind - sometimes lazily and gently blowing from nowhere in particular, sometimes swirling around and around picking up debris from the ground, and sometimes moving forcefully and steadily.

It's ironic that I'm sitting here hoping for some inspiration to write this article on spiritual inspiration. I mean, how long do I sit here? Should I just sit quietly and meditate or is it best to just jump right in and start writing? I am continually seeking to find the most honest balance between taking action and waiting for the (sometimes) subtle prompting of spiritual inspiration.

Inspiration doesn't just come through my meditation practices or quiet contemplation of metaphysics. I find that ALL inspiration is spiritual in nature. As an inventor/designer, I find inspiration in some very unlikely places. The process of creating something from that inspiration is definitely a spiritual practice for me. But I unfortunately tend to judge the "level" of spirit in my creations in a way that looks something like:

  1. Best: Doing something in a purely inspired way simply for the love of the creative endeavor. This is when I feel in the flow and I tune everything else out.
  2. Just OK: Doing something which still feels creative, but also contains practical wisdom that tells me what might be more appealing from a "sales" or "manufacturing cost" perspective. This feels like some of the spirit of inspiration has been sucked out of it and I am easily distracted into other projects that aren't so full of practical considerations.
  3. Bad: Doing something - anything at all really - like when I am worrying that I haven't sold any new designs for awhile. This feels like I am trying to force the inspiration by myself and for myself.

Spiritual Inspiration is Everywhere

Although I prefer to be more gracious rather than make these harsh judgments of myself, I can glean some helpful observations from these three "levels" of spiritual inspiration. And perhaps all three are spiritual in their very nature.

In the Flow

In the first example, it's easy to see how spiritual inspiration is at play. You have probably felt this same sort of thing at different times in your life. Perhaps you've felt in the flow of spiritual inspiration when you reached out to an elderly neighbor. Perhaps it was the last time you sang in the shower. It's kind of like being so aware of the spirit of inspiration that you don't even know you are aware - of yourself, or of time, or of any other constraints. It is the moment of self realization where you are simply experiencing things without a sense of "self-ness" to observe or analyze it. Letting go of the compulsion to control and predict inspiration's movements makes it feel easy when the inspiration happens - and in fact it is easy and delightful to get whole-heartedly lost in it.

Reality Check

In the second example, you can probably recognize the bit of constriction that has crept in. Yes, there is a natural flow of inspiration, but it is tethered to the physical with practical details and considerations. You may have felt this kind of thing when you keep one eye on the clock during meditation or prayer. "Well, I have to get to work and get something done today." Or perhaps you feel pressure to perform in a certain way in your roles at work or in your family life that constrains your openness to other more creative outcomes in a given situation. Life appears to put many demands on us and can cramp our unique styles. I'm just not sure how many of these demands are real and how many we just make up. The spirit of inspiration is still here however, in the wisdom of your experience.

Wisdom is the ability to take inspiration from the sky and plant it in the ground of experience from which the continued inspiration of sunlight and rain cause it to grow and flourish.

Frantic Activity

In the third example, it might seem as if all spiritual inspiration has been lost in worry about the future (or "future-fication" as I sometimes call it). But even here, the spirit in inspiration is still very much alive. How could it be any other way? We are spiritual beings having this physical experience and without Spirit in everything, we, and all the rest of the universe would cease to exist. When I get worried about my future I sometimes go into "extreme action mode" where I can get a whole whack of things done in a short period of time - many of which aren't truly productive in the end.

It reminds me of some things Annie Dillard writes about in her books containing her observations of nature. In her writings she is constantly amazed by the outlandishly prolific and bountiful way that nature re-creates itself. Even though my energy might be focused on worry, there is an over-riding spirit that produces a prolific flow of ideas. Some of these may feel forced by me rather than inspired, but even forced ideas can provide a context for new inspired ideas. Spirit will find a crack in my armor of worry where it can insert something fresh and new and transformative. As it does so, it naturally opens me to more and more spiritual inspiration.

Recognizing and Expecting Spiritual Inspiration

Spiritual inspiration is a moment of spiritual awakening. Inspiration bubbles up from the source of all creation that is within you and all around you. Don't be annoyed that you can't pin it down and predict where, when and how you will be inspired. Simply look for it in all you do, in all of your moods, and in the entire world around you. No matter what you are thinking or feeling, maintain a steady inner awareness running in the background that recognizes and expects the flow of spiritual inspiration from everywhere and anything.

Would you like to explore more "resources of possibility"?

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