Inspiration is derived from the Latin word inspirare, which means, “to breathe into.”
To inspire achievement, action, a breath of infinite possibilities is passed from one individual to another. Inspiration hasn’t a singular effect, but raises the dreams of others as well.
When the active fire of inspiration ignites within us, it moves swiftly like a gust, a brief powerful breath of wind. And when it’s gone, we are left longing for its return.
Inspiration seems to be driven by the work itself and isn’t something you can control. The Greeks believed it to be the ethereal Muses and Christians may say it’s God, or the Holy Spirit moving them.
Is there a way to encourage it?
Producing new ideas is actually the hardest intellectual work.
While revelations are something you can’t really control, there are ways to encourage and enable them to arise by understanding how they work. (Unglamorous part)
There are three different parts of the brain that are used in creative thinking and inspiration.
The Attention Control Network, which helps use focus on a task and concentration on complex problems.
The Imagination Network, which is used to imagine the future AND remember past events.
The Attention Flexibility Network, monitors what’s’ happening around us as well as what’s inside our brain.
Your brain will change in structure or function in response to experience; it’s called cognitive plasticity. The more dynamic and varied the experiences are, the greater the plasticity is developed. This is because your memory sorts and connects information based on their relationship with each other, the more plastic your brain is, the more you’re able to form creative or inspirational thoughts.
Think of it as mental flexibility where your mind is able to make connections easier with sometimes seemingly random or unrelated items or topics, to reveal a clear pattern or answers to problems.
A few ways (there are many) to encourage Cognitive Plasticity:
Exercise – something dynamic and mentally challenging: martial arts, boxing, dance, or team sports i.e. Basketball.
Reading – directly activates the imagination and creativity.
Meditation – during meditation, your brainwaves literally change from Beta (awake & alert) to Alpha and Theta, which are slower and more receptive. Often inspiration comes during this quiet time.
So now you’re developing a flexible mind that will work dynamically and see new patterns and solutions where before there seemed naught.
The Next part to awaken the Spark:
Reduce your Attention to Control and allow the Imagination and Attention Flexibility to flow.
What does that mean?
Stop trying so hard!
This means releasing control of an outcome and allowing the answer to arise on it’s own. The word you don’t want to hear is: patience. It takes time to prepare your mind to be creative, motivated and SAFE enough to reveal ideas.
Setting time aside regularly sends a signal to your mind that there is time and space to safely work on creativity. Go back to your memories and recall when you felt most inspired even back to childhood.
Sometimes, just let your mind drop it and allow your subconscious do the work.
Dreams are an excellent way to allow your subconscious answer questions.
How do you come up with ideas? I’d love you hear your thoughts.