How long do you think it took me to write this article- 30 minutes, 3 hours or 3 days? Or was it a whole lifetime because everything I’ve ever read, thought and experienced comes together in everything I do?
Who wrote the article? Well I can assure you I put the pieces together. No plagiarism here. But whole networks of people conspired to make it possible; generations of thought and a life time of personal influences.
That is the awesome power of inspiration. You are not alone. There is more power within and around you than you could even comprehend. There are no self made people. We are all made up of each other. There is no isolated act. All of our acts help to create all other acts.
This is amazing news. It means that when it comes to achieving great things, you don’t have to do it all yourself. You can tap into a limitless power of inspiration that is within and around you all the time, and just let it flow through you.
This doesn’t mean you don’t to work hard, practice and create a habit of disciple. Its both.
The formula for inspired action is hard work plus effortless flow.
Some Inspired Examples
On the one hand, most of life’s great achievements come about through determined, hard work. For example, world famous Cellist, Pablo Casals practiced every day for 4 hours. Someone once asked him, ‘Mister Casals, you are a master, you have accomplished so much. Why do you keep practicing four hours a day even though you are 93 years old?’ He said, ‘Well, I’m finally beginning to notice some improvement.’ Legend has it that he even completed his daily regimen of scales on the morning that he died. So from, Casals is an example of the truth of persistent, hard work.
On the other hand, some of life’s great achievements appear effortless. You hear of people who sit down and write whole books in a matter of days or weeks as if the words are dropping straight from the sky into their brains and from there to their fingers and screen. The great composer, Handel, composed The Messiah in three weeks without leaving his house. Another composer, Mozart, said that his music often presented itself to his imagination as if from nowhere. He had no choice but to stop what he was doing and write the music down. It was as if something beyond his own consciousness was writing his symphonies.
Most of us aren’t prodigies. The reality for most of us is effortless flow AND hard work, both at the same time. The playwright, Arthur Miller was once asked in an interview, “Are you writing another play?” His answer was brilliant. He said, “I don’t know, but I probably am.”
Are you working on something brilliant and inspirational right now? Probably. When did it start? At the beginning of time. Who are you working with? Everyone, and all the creative energy that exists. The philosopher Daniel Dennett once posed the question,
How long did it take Bach to create the St Matthew’s Passion? An early version was performed in 1727 but the version we listen to today dates from ten years later and includes many revisions. How long did it take to create Bach? He had the benefit of 42 years of living when the first version was heard and more than half a century when the later version was completed. How long did it take to create Christianity without which St Matthews Passion by Back or anyone else would be inconceivable? About two millennia. How long did it take to create the social and cultural context in which Christianity could be born? Somewhere between a hundred millennia and 3 million years depending on when we decide to date the birth of human culture. And how long did it take to create homo sapiens? Between three and four billion years, roughly the same length of time it took to create daisies and snail darters, blue whales and spotted owls. Billions of years of irreplaceable design work.
All the energy of inspiration that you need to lead a life of greatness is already there and waiting for you. You just haven’t connected to it yet. You can understand that in a very logical and systematic way like Daniel Dennett because everything is constantly being created whether you realize it or not, or you can think of it in more of a synchronistic way like Wayne Dyer who said,
It’s the difference between motivation and inspiration. Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and don’t let go of it until you make it a reality. Inspiration is the reverse- when an idea gets hold of you and you feel compelled to let that impulse or energy carry you along. You get to a point where you realize that you’re no longer in charge, that there’s a driving force inside you that can’t be stopped.
You know this experience. It happens at moments of surrender, maybe after some resistance or struggle. You stop the struggle and move with intuition. Maybe you surrender to new love or a new opportunity. It doesn’t necessarily make logical sense at the time, but you jump anyway. It’s inspired. It feels fateful, like it was meant to be and all you do is hold on for the ride.
The famous scientists, Watson and Crick, are great examples of the principle of inspired effort. You might imagine they worked around the clock in their ground breaking discovery of DNA. In fact, Watson played hours of tennis every afternoon, and apparently went to Cambridge parties every night. Crick rarely turned up to work before 10am and then took a coffee break within an hour. They apparently lost interest in their study of DNA at various points and made some of their most significant discoveries standing in line at the Lab’s Cafeteria. This is often the way with inspired intention.
Its like the ancient Chinese saying, Blossoms like a flower, flows like a river, reaches like a tree.
Get in the flow, get out of the way of your own limiting voices of doubt and judgment, and enjoy the ride.
You are ALWAYS preparing for each moment. Everything that happens in your life is building your wisdom and resources. At the same time, everything you need is available right now for whatever act of creation is required. It is both hard work, perseverance AND inspiration all at the same time.
Are you working on something brilliant right now? Probably, YES!
When did you start? At the beginning of time.
Who is helping you? Everyone and everything.