Living an Inspired Life

As I look back on more than 7 decades I identify more with my soul than this body I inhabit. I’m mindfully grateful for my physical form which continues to carry me through the experiences of this life. I take care of it and it serves me well. It is not who I am. The ongoing “I” is that part that activates the body. My reality, centered in spirit, is what we are all a part of.

As I near the last chapter of my life I can look back in retrospect and see the lessons learned in a lifetime – both personal and collective. In that respect life is a school. As souls we incarnate with more or less experience and growth. Like grades, we are at different levels. If we are still in grade school it doesn’t mean we are less than, it’s simply the stage we are at in our learning. As in any school, some are slower to learn and are repeating grades. The higher we rise in our spiritual growth the more we are able to become a positive influence and inspiration in the ongoing evolution of humankind.

Endowed with self-will, an immature, child-like soul, may perceive itself as the center around which the world revolves. As such, without direction and guidance, it may be lured toward power, greed, exploitation and control of others. At the same time others with evolving spiritual growth are strong in compassion and recognize that we are all are cells in the same body of humanity.

On the collective level, these are uncertain times. Wars and more wars, the economy is fragile, the environment is suffering, scientists and politicians are arguing over whether or not we can afford to stop abusing our resources. If we want to survive, how can we not?

It would be easy to feel helpless, even hopeless. But we must hold on to hope or we become paralyzed. Hope is a state of mind, not a state of the world around us. In the words of Vaclav Havel, “Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.”

These times are calling us to action. Ultimately, we must look to ourselves to be and do what we want to see in the world. So how do we find the inspiration to motivate and direct us? To begin with, we can surround ourselves with inspirational things. Inspirational things lift us up and connect us with our higher nature, the inner wisdom that is inherent within us. My dear friend and mentor, Peace Pilgrim, said, “Your higher nature is a drop in the ocean of God – and has access to the ocean.”

Sometimes we access our higher nature through the inspiration of beautiful music or surroundings. We can find inspiration walking in the beauty of nature. Such occasions may bring up insights, glimpses of universal truth, or connect us with a sense of inner guidance. We can also connect with our higher nature through beautiful written or spoken words, where we feel an inner sense of confirmation. Peace says, “You can directly perceive the truth from the inside. All inspired writing came from the inner source, and you too, can receive from that source.” Inspiration and direction come when we quiet our minds in meditation and reflection.

We slip into different states of mind all the time and these states of mind can become a habit. We may, for example, develop a habit of worry or a habit of positive expectation. We always have a choice in the matter, though we may not be aware that we are making that choice. Awareness is key. Before we can make changes we need first become aware of what it is that we are changing or aspiring toward. Quiet contemplation can bring you into an inner space that begins to lift you up and connects you to an inner state of creative thought. Or quiet meditation in receptive silence can lead to a receiving of insight and guidance.

Another way to connect with inspiration is in a journal. A personal journal can be used to record inspiring thoughts, prayers or poetry; you can create collages of things that inspire you – art, photos of nature or beautiful landscapes or any of the things that fuel your passion. Creating this kind of journal can provide an uplifting reprieve in difficult times or the peace of respite in a quiet moment, a place to reconnect with the things that fuel you through the adventures and challenges of life. And it can connect you with that place of inspiration, your own higher nature, that motivates you to take positive action in some personal or collective way.

Our external environments also have subtle effects on the way we feel. Personal spaces can be created in your home and office or work space, to inspire and lift you up. Everything in your environment has a subtle effect, adding to your comfort and ease or discomfort, your peace and serenity or tension. You can pay attention to color, cleanliness, clutter, objects that illicit emotional triggers, functionality, esthetic beauty. Look around your office or a particular room in your home. What inspires you or calms you? What stirs your emotions – positively or negatively? What is the room primarily used for, and what is the feeling you want to experience here? You will probably want to feel creatively inspired in a room that is used as an office or art studio or perhaps the kitchen, where food can be creatively prepared. In a workout or game room you probably want to be inspired to rev-up your metabolism and move. In a bedroom you want to elicit feelings of relaxation and calmness.

Sometimes we become so used to our environment that we stop “seeing” what is there. We stop noticing how we feel when we enter a certain room but the objects we surround ourselves with reflect a particular energy. For instance, one woman was asked by a Feng Shui expert what she felt when she walked into her bedroom. The bedroom was filled with massive, dark, expensive looking furniture. “Well, I think at least I got something good out of a lousy marriage.” The furniture was a constant reminder of a painful situation, but she hadn’t looked at it from that perspective. Her Feng Shui guide suggested she get rid of the furniture and replace it with something that reflected herself, which she did. Soon afterwards she entered a new relationship. Perhaps she had stopped mulling over her bitterness after removing the trigger for all those negative feelings, which may have left her more emotionally open.

Focusing on the positive and surrounding yourself with things that lift you up is a choice. You make it every day. The wonderful thing about focusing on the positive is that once you’ve broken a habit of negative focus, your positive focus becomes habit. What you focus on you tend to bring into manifestation. When you surround yourself with inspiration you are working on healing all aspects of yourself, physical as well as mental, emotional and spiritual.

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Cheryl Canfield, CCHT, 2024