March 16, 1987. In a flash of inspiration, I caught a brief glimpse into the deepest layers of reality. That moment shaped my life. I wanted to know everything about what I had experienced. That led me to devote my life to understanding the nature of inspiration.
Three decades later, here is what I can tell you about inspiration. For a moment, we come into the most intimate contact possible with these three fundamental truths:
1. There is only one consciousness—a unitary awareness that interconnects all things. This is the Creator of the universe—the source and ultimate essence of all creation. The Upanishads state:
In the beginning was only Being,
One without a second.
Out of himself he brought forth the cosmos
And entered into everything in it.
There is nothing that does not come from him.
Of everything he is the inmost self.
2. All of creation exists within that awareness and is imbued with it. The consciousness of the Creator abides in all thoughts, and there is no difference to be had between thoughts and things. To seek out an objective reality outside of our subjective thoughts is a pointless exercise, as quantum physicist Erwin Schrodinger pointed out:
"The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist."
3. The cyclical dance of creation and destruction unfolds within that awareness. Everything emerges from the awareness of the Creator and then merges back into it. But in truth, nothing can ever be created or destroyed. The act of creating is a wonderful illusion because everything that ever was or ever will be is here right now. The only thing that ever changes in the creative process is the contents of our own minds.
These three fundamental truths are captured in the creative trinity: Creator-creating-creation. If we maintain an awareness of that trinity and what it signifies, we can live in the space of inspiration. Over the next several weeks, I will share some specific ideas for doing that. You can also tune into my YouTube channel.
You probably have known moments of regret and disappointment. Perhaps you have felt despair about the direction your life has taken. Or you may have wondered about missed opportunities: the "what ifs."
I have devoted 30 years of my life to understanding creative inspiration because it reminds me how everything can change in an instant. In these introductory remarks to a talk I gave at IONS Austin on April 3, I describe a few profound moments of inspiration that changed the world.
Although you may not realize it, you are just one flash away from a life of inspiration. In the blink of an eye, you come into the most intimate contact possible with a limitless source of creativity. From this encounter, you will come away with the resources to create your masterpiece!
The masterpiece to which I am referring is YOUR LIFE. This is the most important work of art any of us can create. Sure, it would be nice to write books that influence an entire generation, make films that capture the imagination, or generate images that touch people's hearts. But inspired art has always emerged from inspired experience. This is why Deep Creativity urges readers to live outside the box.
Beyond the limits of judgment, expectation, and conventionality, you will find entire realms of possibility at your disposal. Creative inspiration is not an esoteric idea that pertains only to great artists and innovators. In a moment of inspiration, you can discover your quintessential nature, which is more expansive and beautiful than you might have imagined. Now, the challenge is to live in that space of inspiration, which is why the theme of this website is: STAY INSPIRED!
In the weeks to come, I will feature other excerpts from my Austin talk. You can watch and listen to the presentation in its entirety right here:
This week, I had the great pleasure and honor to spend time in Austin, Texas, where I did a presentation on Deep Creativity for the local Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) group on Tuesday (4/3) and then led a Global Chant circle at the Unity of the Hills Church on Wednesday (4/4). What I discovered during my brief stay is a very thriving spiritual community that is making significant advances in a number of areas related to consciousness and mind-body health.
At the heart of that community are Joe and Lynne Lam, my very gracious hosts. Joe heads up the IONS Austin group and is always looking for ways to bring people together. The folks he is attracting include some of the most fascinating healers, thinkers, and innovators I have had the pleasure to meet. Their work is so groundbreaking that I want to share a little of it with you:
Chuck and Karen Robison run a website called "What if it Really Works?" which features interviews with pioneers of what they call the "new spiritual culture," including Marianne Williamson, Bruce Lipton, and Tom Campbell. Chuck is a former United Nations Chaplain and Karen served as a youth minister for one of the largest New Thought churches in the U. S. They are also the co-authors of The Quantum Conspiracy.
Richard Massey, M.D. and Meridian Grace, N.D. have a shared practice called Awakening Health that addresses major health issues by looking at the underlying relationship among psychological, spiritual, and biochemical factors. Their groundbreaking work attracts clients from all over the world, and their commitment to this healing work is truly inspiring. If I had a life-threatening health issue, I would seek out their expertise without hesitation.
Anne Beversdorf is a vedic astrologer and the author of Vedic Secrets to Happiness, which uses simple karmic remedies to help resolve imbalances in virtually any aspect of a person's life. Besides that, she also uses a technique called Family Constellations to address ancestral factors that can contribute to mental and physical health issues. I found Anne's work to be brilliant and insightful.
There are so many other wonderful people I met in Austin, whose work I intend to discuss in future blog posts. It was a great honor for me to meet Susan Raja-Rao, the wife of the brilliant Indian novelist and scholar, Raja Rao. I was especially touched when she told me that her late husband would have loved the ideas in Deep Creativity. Susan gifted me with a collection of Raja Rao's writings that I have just started to read. His ideas about Vedanta, Indian culture, and the search for truth and happiness resonate deeply for me.
Finally, I want to share a few brief thoughts about Joe and Lynne Lam, pictured here in a field of blue bonnets near their home. They are the kind of open, supportive and loving people around whom spiritual communities can arise and thrive.
Joe's enthusiasm is absolutely infectious! When he introduced me to the IONS group on Tuesday evening, he did it with such warmth and humor that it set the tone perfectly for what I wanted to share with them that night. I am grateful to Joe and Lynne for making my trip to Austin so memorable. And of course, I am looking forward to my next visit!
This past week, I was interviewed by Tim Tyler on his "Tucson in Review" program. Our 30-minute discussion covered a wide range of topics related to Deep Creativity. I have broken down the interview into four audio files. Here is a link and an overview of the questions addressed in each:
PART 1: What is creativity? Where does it come from? Can creativity be taught? How does Deep Creativity differ from other approaches? What has been the reception to the book so far?
PART 2: What are some of the more controversial ideas in Deep Creativity? How does one "live outside the box"? What role does self-transcendence play in the creative experience? How does one transcend the self? And what is Repose?
PART 3: How is Repose pertinent to creativity? Why is it such an effective tool? What can be done to make classrooms more conducive to creativity? How do we nurture creativity in children? Why is play important? What is PlayHaven? And how did it originate?
PART 4: Can Deep Creativity benefit people who do not consider themselves creative? Why focus on the creative experience? How can these ideas make a difference in people's lives? Why does the book deal with the topic of unconditional love? How is love pertinent to creativity? Where is the book available? And what resources can be found on victorshamas.com?
In 2013, the United Nations declared March 20 to be the International Day of Happiness. In honor of this auspicious occasion, I have set out to find a universal symbol of happiness. What I am looking for is something that makes people happy, regardless of their nationality, culture, religious beliefs, or political affiliation. I need your help with this task. Please vote for the image that is most likely to evoke happiness in you.
Here are your choices:
1. Bubbles. Everyone loves bubbles. The sight of someone blowing bubbles tends to fill our hearts with delight. I have met a few people who have made this their spiritual practice. Every day, they go to a nearby park or beach and release giant bubbles into the air, just for the fun of it.
2. Rainbows. There is an undeniable thrill when you spot a rainbow. A double rainbow is even better. As a scientific phenomenon, rainbows are fascinating. But you do not need to know a thing about the science of rainbows to feel a sense of wonder at the sight of one.
3. Laughter. Nothing is more infectious—or mysterious. Why do people laugh? What is it that causes this rhythmic expulsion of breath? Certainly, there are other ways to respond to a humorous or amusing situation. But spontaneous laughter is such a joyful release.
4. Sun. What is more beautiful or awe-inspiring than a sunrise or sunset? When the sun peeks out from behind a cloud, it can be exhilarating. And seeing rays of sunlight filtered by clouds can feel like you are looking at a religious painting.
5. Play. The UN website for the International Day of Happiness features pictures of children playing. Could this be the ultimate symbol of happiness? You just feel better when you watch the playful spirit turned loose.
6. Fire. Have you ever spent hours staring at a fire? Something about it is so compelling. The warmth and light are irresistible. And fire connects us with something basic, earthy, and primal in ourselves.
7. Smiles. In 1963, an insurance company employee named Harvey Ball came up with the now-famous smiley face. He did it to raise morale among his employees. The company paid him $45 for this image, which took him 10 minutes to design. Today, the smiley face has spawned thousands of different emoticons, all of which are intended to convey a sense of happiness.
8, Beaches. What do you feel when you see a picture of a beautiful beach? Do you imagine the joy, relaxation and luxury you might experience there? If you are like most people, the very idea of a beach vacation can trigger feelings of excitement and happiness. Knowing that someone else is spending time at the beach without you might make you feel a bit jealous, too.
9. Kisses. The idea of two people sharing a passionate kiss can make you feel warm and tingly inside. That is a very good thing! A kiss is an expression of pure love, whether it be a grandparent kissing a child, old friends greeting when reunited, or the romantic bond between two lovers. Kisses make us happy, which is why Hershey’s had the brilliant idea of naming its chocolates after this most rewarding pastime.
10. Mountains. Why is a mountain view so desirable that people will pay top dollar for it? When you look at mountains, you tend to feel good. A snow-covered peak can seem majestic, awesome, and breathtakingly beautiful. Few sights are more inspiring.
11. Moving water. Who doesn’t love waterfalls, fountains, ocean waves, or ripples on a pond? The gentle trickle of a stream can be soothing, whereas the power of a raging river can be exhilarating. In any case, watching the movement of water never gets old.
12. Light shows. How do you celebrate festive occasions? If you are like most of us, you light candles, adorn your house with holiday lights, or set off fireworks. Light shows are a sign of intense and profound happiness.
13. Flowers. Nothing warms the heart like the sight of flowers, whether it be the beautiful arrangement of a floral bouquet or the vibrancy and color of a spring wildflower display. Painters like Monet and Van Gogh have found their greatest inspiration in depicting the magnificence of flowers in bloom.
If you had to choose just one of these 13 icons to convey happiness on a global scale, which would it be? Please post your choice in the Comments section below. And feel free to share the reason for your choice. In the meantime, I want to wish you a very happy spring equinox and a most inspiring International Day of Happiness!
This morning, a national news story ran on over 200 internet sites. This story, entitled "New Creativity Book, Deep Creativity, Author Dr. Victor Shamas Shares Five Ways to Sustain Creative Inspiration," has drawn extensive attention to the ideas in Deep Creativity. In fact, if you do a Google search for "new creativity book," you will find the article on the front page of the search, as shown in the following screen capture.
Deep Creativity was also featured on the most recent installment of Arizona Spotlight. You can hear the interview at the -8:05 mark of the program audio file. And if you go to the radio program's Facebook page, you can also hear a brief excerpt from the book.
An interview I did with Chicano author Antonio Solisgomez just came out on La Bloga, the oldest established Latino literary blog. In this interview, we discussed some of the ideas in my first two books, The Chanter's Guide and The Way of Play. There are also links to two videos featuring chants performed by members of the Global Chant community.
And I've also been receiving extensive feedback from my presentation at last weekend's Tucson Festival of Books. The pic of Maria Mendola and myself taken immediately following my TFOB talk has gotten as much response as anything I have ever posted on Facebook. Thanks to my dear friends and followers for all your love and support!
Today is March 6, 2018. This is the official launch date of Deep Creativity: Inside the Creative Mystery. For me, it represents the culmination of a 30-year journey, and so I am thrilled! But I am also excited for anyone who cares about creative inspiration. because I believe that Deep Creativity is the first book ever to take readers inside the experience of creative inspiration. Why is that important? Most people want to feel inspired: in their creative work, relationships, and personal lives. Yet there have been no good answers to even the most fundamental questions about inspiration: What is it? Where does it come from? How does it work? The ideas in Deep Creativity will open up new avenues of inspiration for the next generation of writers, painters, designers, innovators, and peacemakers, which can lead to breakthroughs in virtually every field of endeavor.
For too long, I have heard creativity researchers say that inspiration is not that important to the creative process. Huh??? If you talk to artists, as I have for the past three decades, they will tell you that inspiration is the juice of the fruit. It is why most of them have devoted their lives to a creative pursuit. I have had several artists tell me over the years that they would immerse themselves in the creative process even if it never resulted in single work of art. In the creative act, they undergo a transformation that fills them with wonder and delight. Tenet #2 of Deep Creativity states: "All creating is becoming." To become means to come into being as something you have not been before. In the moment of inspiration, we come into our own as an embodiment of the Creator-creating-creation. That is one of the profoundly joyous experiences of life. And it happens to be the reason why I have given so much of my own life to the pursuit and understanding of creative inspiration!
Writer’s block ends now. It never really existed in the first place. You gave it life and made it real. Stop doing that.
Just understand that creativity has its own rhythm and flow. Inspiration does not come at the push of a button or flip of a switch. If it did, anyone could write inspired prose. Even a machine could do it.
Sometimes the flow of words and ideas comes to a pause. Not only is that natural; it’s a good thing. Creative inspiration has always been about making the most of the moment. That includes the pauses. Instead of panicking, celebrate the pause. This is an opportunity to reflect, gain perspective, and maybe even take a bathroom break.
Under the right conditions, a pause in your writing can be empowering. You can turn your so-called writer’s block into a power pause in five simple steps:
The idea of the power pause is to break free of the past, savor the experience of the present, and make yourself receptive to whatever may come in the future. Once you do, ideas will begin to flow effortlessly. You will find that the quality of your writing improves after this type of break. Then instead of feeling blocked, you will come to appreciate the creative opportunities inherent in a momentary pause.
After 30 years, I have come to an important realization about creative inspiration: It does not have to be an occasional thing. Sure, inspiration often come in sudden flashes. That is why we tend to liken it to thunderstorms and lightning strikes--powerful forces of nature that can hardly be predicted, let alone harnessed.
As with any such force, inspiration evokes a sense of wonder. Three decades later, I am no less in awe of it than when I started. I will never give you the impression that being inspired is as easy as pushing a button or adding water to your instant oatmeal. It simply isn't. For me, discovering what inspires me and under what conditions has been a lifelong learning process. I have come to see inspiration as a combination of serendipity and self-discipline. Inspiration comes in its own time, but when it does arrive, you can make the most of it. Getting inspired is magical; staying inspired is a practice. As Bruce Lee said, "You can never invite the wind, but you must leave the window open."
So, how do you stay inspired? What does it take to live a life of inspiration? I have found that the experience of inspiration has three parts, each of which can be magnified through proper action:
1. Aliveness. This is pure sensation--pure awareness--in the absence of all thought. Whether you know it or not, you have experienced it. There have probably been times when you have gotten so immersed or absorbed in what you were doing or feeling that you "lost yourself" in the moment; all thoughts, concerns, and struggles simply disappeared. At such times, you may have felt fully alive, totally present. Here is the best way I know to describe that experience: "Here and now, Baby!"
2. Passion. Creative inspiration is driven by two of the most powerful forces in the universe: love and joy. Together, they give rise to bliss and ecstasy. To be inspired is to feel some combination of these four emotions--love, joy, bliss, and ecstasy--with such intense passion that it energizes you and enlivens your creation. You can also tell when a work of art is truly inspired because it oozes and radiates passion. Conversely, you can't help but feel when someone is going through the motions with no real emotional involvement. The end result just seems to fall flat; it lacks the capacity to engage us or touch our hearts.
3. Clarity. During bursts of inspiration, I often hear the words of this song in my head: "I Can See Clearly Now." It's as if entire panoramic vistas open up to me. I even have flashes when I feel I can access all of the wisdom in the universe. This might just be illusory, but there is no question that when you and I are feeling inspired, we can detect patterns, interconnections and distinctions that are not always discernible to us. This clarity is a function of our receptivity. How open can we make ourselves to fresh ways of experiencing and understanding the world? For a moment or two, we stop clinging to the old assumptions and labels. Then, all kinds of possibilities make themselves known to us.
To stay inspired, just do what it takes to promote aliveness, passion, and clarity in yourself. This means becoming a student of your body and mind, your sensations and emotions, and your strengths and weaknesses. I can tell you what works for me, and I will happily do so here. In fact, my past blogs are filled with such accounts. If I am an expert on anything, it is my own experience of inspiration. But what gets and keeps me inspired may not necessarily work for you. When you find something in Deep Creativity or on this blog, my suggestion is: Give it a try! If it works, that's great. If not, move on to the next activity or exercise. You will find plenty more in the days and weeks to come!
In this One-Minute Inspiration video, I explain how a single apple can lead to an experience of inspiration. The excerpt is taken from a talk I gave on Sunday, February 11, at Unity of Tucson as part of their "Coffee with the Author" lecture series. You can listen to the entire 43-minute presentation here:
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