What is inspiration and where does it come from? A great body of work exists that tries to identify and capture this phenomena. We might read a book or article, see a work of art that moves us, perhaps impels us to try our own hand. But what is inspiration? Put simply, inspiration is breath drawn into the body. The Cambridge Online Dictionary describes it as ‘the act of breathing in, or a single breath in’.
This gives us a lot of information about where inspiration comes from – it is something we draw into us from outside.
Many cultural traditions from around the world regard breath as the thing that sustains all life. Judaism recognised this ruarch (hebrew) for Holy Breath/Spirit, also considered in the Kabbalah to be the human spirit/soul. Hindu and Yogic philosophy consider prana, the word for breath, to be life force, a vital principle. In China Qi (chi) is considered synonymous with breath, again as material energy, life force. In Reiki, the Japanese kanji (symbol) for Ki is the breath of life that sustains all life. Ancient Greek uses the word pneuma to describe breath, spirit or soul when used in a religious context. In Mesoamerican cultures the breath, the four winds were a gift from the serpent god that brought life.
So we can imagine that breathing, which sustains life, is also the source of inspiration that we draw into us. Perhaps even the original creative energy. No wonder we live in a world that abounds in such glorious and diverse artistic expression.
There is perhaps another requirement for us to be able to draw inspiration into us – an ability to break free of boundaries. Albert Einstein said ‘imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution’.
To draw this inspiration into us, we need to forget knowing which sets boundaries and seek a space in which imagination can work and flourish, evolving our creativity.
These spaces can be hard to identify, particularly in modern Western culture. We take creative courses in writing or art which teach us the rules (knowledge) of what to do, but do not teach us how to breathe – inspiration – and therefore how to create.
Thankfully, I was able to take a course called Writing With Your Muse Intensive – through The Silver Tent, Silver Synergy Group – which threw the rule book in the bin and went straight into the breath and therefore the imagination. The result for me was the confidence to bring The Summer Queen to life.
As someone that had been meditating for years and is asthmatic, I can attest to the value of breath.
Go breathe, go imagine, go create.