So I’ve taken a few months off from writing – not because I’ve been out of thoughts and ideas but because I’ve just wanted to take some time to reflect on my thoughts and ideas to date. I’ve wanted to somehow soak it all in and envision a larger realm of thoughts and ideas emerging in my life. I’ve wanted to ride a different psyche wave for a bit – one of absorption and reflection rather than construction and emission.
Waves, phases, and cycles are a major part of our lives. Some are natural, some controlled, and some just plain impossible to understand. Some can be calculated and predicted while others come completely unexpected. What drives these waves and cycles, and how does the combination (or interference) of multiple waves in our lives affect our overall well-being and happiness?
In the physical world, the relation (or correlation) between multiple waves can be described or denoted by something called coherence – how much their phases differ and, when combined, what the resulting wave might look like. Let’s think of coherence for our psyche wave as our level of well-being and happiness that results from the combination of all the waves in our life.
To look at this idea in more detail, we can identify several waves and cycles in our lives: seasons, weeks, days, running and working out, our diet, relationships, playing sports, volunteering and giving, sleep cycles, dreaming big, acting small, being social, feeling courageous, extreme happiness, comfort and security, professional experience, travel, spending and saving, learning and teaching, new thought, and well, on to infinity with this list.
Well, this is where it gets tough. Given the complexity and often complete unpredictability of these waves and cycles, how can we ever determine what our resulting psyche wave will look like, or at least what it should look like? How can we identify the properties of these waves – that is, how frequently they come around, how high they take us, how low they take us, how they change in time, what interactions they make with other waves, and what really drives them from the get go?
These may be questions for many millennia, but I want to look at the most general driver that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently: inspiration. The source of true inspiration is seemingly quite unpredictable yet it is the major driver of a peaking (or cresting) psyche wave of well-being and happiness.
From where does one find inspiration? Is it something to be harnessed and propagated, or is its movement about society entirely beyond our control? From where do we find the courage to venture and the fuel for adventure, the motivation to take on the world and the drive to motivate the world around us? Is inspiration in itself a natural cycle of crests and troughs or can we deconstruct it into its own understandable DNA? What drives the waves of inspiration?
In my search for the end of the internet, I found an interesting post on inspiration by “Duff McDuffee” on Precision Change, a personal development blog. Thank all Gods, earthlings, and minerals for the internet! Duff spends most of the time summarizing several unique realms of thought surrounding the origins of inspiration but most notably concludes with some very compelling ideas:
“Inspiration is the natural and automatic drawing in of spirited experience, just as inhalation is the natural drawing in of breath. You cannot force inspiration any more than you can force an inhale. Just as inhalation happens naturally as long as you don’t try to control it, inspiration also happens naturally and is just as near and easily available.
Inspiration comes from the same place that dreams come from. It is a place beyond understanding, knowing, and controlling. Inspiration is born of naturalness, of being, of attunement to spirit. When you stop controlling and start listening, inspiration naturally arises.
Inspiration is also wild, mysterious, and unknowable. Inspiration is the stuff of pure creativity. It cannot be measured, predicted, or controlled.”
So inspiration is natural like breathing, mysterious like dreams, and immeasurable like pure creativity? But what about sunsets, hymns, good naps, lasagna, beaches, speeches, births, deaths, memories, wins, losses, and the moments that take our breath away? What about the performances, trips, meetings, phone calls, churches, hikes, and wonders of the world?
To me, inspiration just comes in many forms, expected and unexpected, natural and brought forth by our own acts. Sometimes we can find it easily, and sometimes we can’t. But the key is that we can learn about it, and learn about it we do. As we grow older, see the world, and interact as a society, we can learn about the origins of inspiration. As we learn about it, we can harness it, maintain some coherence between multiple waves, maximize our collective peaks, and maintain the highest level of well-being and happiness. To me, that’s pretty inspiring.