Inspiration Goes Both Ways

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To be inspired, we must always be open and receptive to (ready to “take in”) the creative energies that might infuse and influence us. But inspiration is more than just the “in” side.

I’ve always been a fan of inspiration. I guess that’s because I’m a man of passion. And much of my life, I’ve not only sought to inspire but to be inspired. I can think of many “mystical” moments in which the product of someone else’s inspiration made a deep and lasting impression on me and made me feel connected to something really powerful yet undefinable — as unexplainable as it is awe-evoking. There have also been times when, in my own efforts to inspire others, I’ve sensed that same connection.

So, just exactly what is inspiration? Well, it’s hard to say. Some commonly accepted definitions include:

  • The arousal of the mind to special or unusual activity or creativity
  • The end product or result of creative thinking and effort
  • A sudden burst of intuition that occurs as a key part of the problem-solving process
  • The influence of a special mystical source or divine presence on the mind of a human being (such as in “inspired” religious writings)
  • Being arousing to or arousing others to a particular emotion or action
  • The act of inhaling; the drawing in of air (as opposed to expiration or exhalation)

All of these definitions touch on some aspects of inspiration, but a truly accurate definition is elusive. I think one of the most interesting similarities among all the definitions is the fact that most involve the notion of “taking in” something. And to be inspired, we must always be open and receptive to (ready to “take in”) the creative energies that might infuse and influence us.

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Whether I’m reading, watching a movie or play, listening to a symphony, or browsing through a gallery, I’m always looking for new inspiration. And when I’m writing, composing, singing, or engaged in any other creative enterprise, I’m always seeking to inspire others. For me inspiration is more than just the “in” side to breathing. Rather, it’s like breathing itself — absolutely essential to living. Living an uninspired life seems like not living at all.

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