There’s a voice in the Universe entreating us to remember our purpose, our reason for being here now in this world of impermanence. The voice whispers, shouts, and sings to us that this experience—of being in form, space, and time—has meaning. That voice belongs to inspiration, which is within each and every one of us.
I think of the word inspiration as meaning “being in-Spirit.” When we’re in-Spirit, we’re inspired…and when we’re inspired, it’s because we’re back in-Spirit,fully awake to Spirit within us. Being inspired is an experience of joy: we feel completely connected to our Source and totally on purpose; our creative juices flow, and we bring exceptionally high energy to our daily life. We’re not judging others or ourselves—we’re uncritical and unbothered by behaviors or attitudes that in uninspired moments are frustrating. Our heart sings in appreciation for every breath; and we’re tolerant, joyful, and loving.
Being in-Spirit isn’t necessarily restricted to the work we do or the activities of our daily life. We can be inspired and at the same time be unsure of what vocation to pursue or what activities we want to schedule. Inspiration is a simple recognition of Spirit within ourselves…This is quite different from being highly motivated; in fact, it’s almost the opposite of motivation.
Motivation vs. Inspiration
It’s important to note that whatever is needed to fulfill our calling is part of the present process. Arthur Miller, who was perhaps the most accomplished dramatist in the U.S., is an example of a man who knew this. In an interview late in his life, he was asked, “Are you working on a new play?” Mr. Miller’s answer went something like this: “I don’t know if I am or not, but I probably am.” This delightful response suggests that Miller’s writing came from inspiration—that is, something other than ego spurred him on.
By contrast, highly motivated people have a kind of ego determination driving them over obstacles and toward goals—nothing gets in their way. Now, most of us have been taught that this is an admirable trait; in fact, when we’re not accomplishing and demonstrating drive and ambition, we’ve been told to “get motivated!” Lectures, books, videos, and audio recordings abound that preach that all we have to do is dedicate ourselves to an idea with actions designed to make it a reality. This is a beneficial approach for a different level of accomplishment—but what we’re exploring in these pages is what leads us to precisely what we’re meant to be and do…our ultimate calling.
If motivation is grabbing an idea and carrying it through to an acceptable conclusion, then inspiration is the reverse. When we’re in the grip of inspiration, an idea has taken hold of us from the invisible reality of Spirit. Something that seems to come from afar, where we allow ourselves to be moved by a force that’s more powerful than our ego and all of its illusions, is inspiration. And being in-Spirit is the place where we connect to the invisible reality that ultimately directs us toward our calling. Often we can identify these inspired times by their insistence, and because they seem not to make sense while at the same time they keep appearing in our consciousness.
If we ignore inspiration’s powerful attraction, the result is personal discomfort or a sense of disconnection from ourselves. For any number of reasons we might be resistant when we feel called to create, perform, visit a foreign place, meet someone, express ourselves, help another, or be a part of a cause. Inspiration is a calling to proceed even though we’re unsure of goals or achievements—it may even insist that we go in the direction of uncharted territory.
Throughout various stages of life, inspiration is the thought or idea reconnecting us to the energy we were part of prior to becoming a microscopic particle. I call this “surrendering to our destiny and allowing ourselves to hear the call.” At this point we can differentiate between the demands of our ego and those of the ego-dominated people and institutions that deflect us from the call of inspiration. As we move more deeply into Spirit, we cease to be guided by the ego demands of others or ourselves. We surrender to the always-present force that urges us to be in this blissful state of inspiration. We’re guided by our ultimate calling, which is truly our life purpose.