Why Inspiration and Enlightenment?
Values determine human existence, like love and hate, life and death, sadness and happiness. Authors and artists dedicate their lives to producing human values like beauty, happiness, love, purpose, and inspiration.
In the case of a Harley Davidson workshop, the value is sense of freedom. In case of a pottery workshop, it is serenity. In the case of my workshop, it is esprit. Esprit produces the following value chain:
What is that thing that moves up and down this value chain from suicidal to enlightenment, like quicksilver inside a thermometer? What can transform along this value chain?
We can’t separate vitality from consciousness. Where there is a living being there is awareness and where there is awareness, there is a living being.
Life = Consciousness = Spirit
Inanimate things and organisms are made of the same chemicals. Could it be that inanimate matter has some kind of consciousness too, to a much lower degree that our minds? Ibn Al Arabi wrapped this idea into an inspiring little poem:
God sleeps in rocks,
Dreams in plants,
Stirs in animals,
Awakens in humans.
We find the same concept in the following beautiful Bible verse: “In the beginning was the word [cosmic consciousness]. The word was with God [Spirit]. The word was God. It was with God in the beginning. All things were made by it, and nothing was made without it. In it is life [vitality], and life is the light of mankind [human consciousness]. The light shines in the darkness [inorganic matter], but the darkness comprehends it not.” – John 1
We use to think that consciousness is the result of organic structure. What if consciousness assembles organisms? What if the two support each other like Yin and Yang, form and force? Something like consciousness creates organisms, organisms allow for experiences that evolve its consciousness, and its evolved consciousness improves the organisms – a benevolent circle.
The harmonious interaction of Yin and Yang produce the Tao – the way of life.
Inspired Life vs. Enlightenment
You can live an inspired life without enlightenment, be an artist, live your dream, fulfill your heart’s desire, be happy, and there is nothing wrong with this.
When your soul is ready, you can go beyond that and join others in the quest for enlightenment.
I see it like this: if spirit vitalizes as worldly subject, inspiration happens. If it vitalizes an existential subject, enlightenment happens.
Inspiration and Enlightenment are Irreversible
The Inspiration and Enlightenment graph has no scientific or statistical foundation, I came up with it. Telling from experience it is tedious to climb out of the hole of depression. Once close to ground zero it is much easier to move upwards into positive territory and past motivation to an inspired life. When we reach the area of enlightenment, progress slows down again as we approach the ultimate achievement: illumination (not shown in the graph).
Of course, the graph is smoothed out. We encounter countless ups and downs while we move, slowly but surely, up the value chain towards illumination.
Can the process be reversed? No! Consciousness cannot be undone. Evolution of consciousness is inevitable. Complications are only delays. Although progress is so slow that is happens unnoticed, we level up once in a while. That’s when the lowest low is higher than the highest high of a previous level like in this graph:
The Inspiration and Enlightenment graph makes it obvious how valuable inspirations are. Inspirations are injections of vitality-consciousness-spirit that elevates our awareness, enlightens the mind, and vitalizes the body.
Inspirations boost your spirit. Here is an excerpt from Merriam Webster’s definition of spirit:
- An animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms.
- A temper or disposition of mind or outlook especially when vigorous or animated (being in high spirits).
- The immaterial intelligent or sentient part of a person.
- The activating or essential principle influencing a person (acted in a spirit of helpfulness), an inclination, impulse, or tendency of a specified kind, a mood.
- A special attitude or frame of mind (the money-making spirit was for a time driven back — J. A. Froude), a feeling, quality, or disposition characterizing something (undertaken in a spirit of fun).
Spirit keeps you alive, kicking, dreaming, curious, passionate, and yearning. Spirit is the source of all your mental energies, drives, desires, motivations, and aspirations. And this is what in-spiration means: to invite spirit to vitalize your inner and outer life.
Spirit produces and boosts the four intangible human values love, happiness, beauty, and purpose. These four intangibles define mankind, together with our fundamental drive for the expansion of consciousness that leads to enlightenment.
But mind that inspirational words don’t bear spirit. They just trigger your inner source of spirit. They open a hidden well covered under the debris of worries and bad memories. Inspirations re-connect you to the inner core of vitality that has galvanized people to raise civilizations, discover new lands, climb the highest mountains, dive into the deepest seas, build the Hanging Gardens, compose the Ode to Joy, paint the Mona Lisa, and fight for freedom and political equality.
The opposite of inspiration is expiration. 😉
No More Fear!
Inspirations get you out of your box. Hence, inspiration goes beyond motivation. Motivation is all about psyching up. People motivate themselves to carry on doing what they are doing – e. g. running the hound race.* Motivation is good if you are on the right track, but it’s twice as bad when you’re off track. It will drive you down an ugly spiral.
* I call it hound race instead of rat race because we are born predators.
We can’t cope with inspirations all the time since change worries us. Subconsciously, we fear inspiration, because it leads to adjustment, change, and transformation. Fear is the handbrake of social and personal progress. This is no joke. Anxiety disorders are the most common psychological issues in the U.S.A., affecting 40 million adults above age 18. That’s 18% of the population (source: National Institute of Mental Health). Almost half of all people diagnosed with an anxiety disorder are also diagnosed with depression.
Fear motivates soldiers to keep fighting, but they need to be inspired by unconditional comradeship to sacrifice their lives for their buddies. Take the famous battle at Thermopylae for example, where 7,000 Greek warriors defied an army of 150,000 Persians for three days. Spoils and fear motivated the Persian soldiers, but the Greeks were inspired to protect their freedom and families – a world of difference!
Honor and Glory
Inspiration aims high: at honor and glory. Inspiration brings out the best in us, makes us do things we never thought possible. Fighting against all odds inspires us too, like the last Samurai. Children inspire. Have you ever seen pictures of children playing in slums? Children can inspire us even in all-is-lost-moments.
Empathy and an unconditional helping hand inspire too.
Love stories inspire, not just those between a man and woman, but also between parents and their children and friends. But mind that love has a secret.
A Professional Life with Inspiration and Enlightenment
Professionalism and inspiration go hand in hand. You need professionalism when you want to level up to inspiration and enlightenment.
What does professionalism mean? It means sticking to the right principles no matter what. If you sail out to the sea, you better trust your maps and GPS or you will get lost.
Do you know how to play chess? A grandmaster can calculate eight moves ahead, common players three to four. Four moves already entail 70,000 possible combinations, so, how does a chess master deal with such a variety of possibilities? He eliminates bad moves by thinking strategically – meaning he adheres to the right principles. After reducing the number of possible moves to a few that make sense, he calculates each combination thread up to eight moves ahead. Then, he asks the right question and makes his choice. Without strategy, a chess player is doomed.
Life is much more complex than a chess game, the rules are fluid, and the board has unlimited fields. Worse, you play many boards at the same time, like your family board, your career board, and your social board. Stick to the right principles and – long-term – your life will work.
What does professionalism have to do with inspiration and enlightenment? Inspirations and light bulb moments convey principles. If you read an inspiring quote, you think, I should remember and apply that! don’t you?
Inspirations inject principles into your mind, which help you make changes for the better.
Fields of Study
Which fields of study are involved in this value chain of inspiration and enlightenment?
Of course, traditional and positive psychology deal with other psychological issues too, but these may be just emotional and cognitive imbalances resulting from a lack of esprit.
Heed, but don’t worry too much about psychological details. They are sceneries along your path. Keep inspiring yourself, and you will be alright.
Religion and Prophecy – Inspiration and Enlightenment
For a long time, religion has been in charge of the inspiration value chain (besides morality). But religious soul work just doesn’t work that well anymore.
Why is there a difference between religion and prophecy? This is important. In Christianity, prophecy (enlightenment) was exiled into the monasteries. Who goes to church to be enlightened? Christianity does not go beyond inspiration and that is the reason why many people are looking for alternatives, e. g. Buddhism and Yoga.
Churches have issues too, e. g. not all evolve with science and modern society. Some have somber legacies they don’t want to let go. As there is a need for positive psychology, there is a need for positive religion.
Positive religion is happening, but it has not fully emancipated itself from old-school dogmas. Christianity holds onto Medieval concepts like sin, damnation, and the devil, the most stubborn verisimilitude on earth. Here is an inspiring article: Church is History or is it Not?
How to be an Inspiration?
Be a pro at being yourself.
Show people who you are!
Show them your beauty and shine bright like a diamond!
Just as a butterfly has to break out of its cocoon to realize that it can fly, so do people need to break out of their boxes, spread the wings of their minds, and pursue their heart’s desire.
How to do that?
Watch the workshop video Holistic Self-realization. It is a free video for all who join my inspiration and enlightenment workshop.
Picture attribution: copyright svetazi @ 123RF Stock Photo