In recent blog posts, I've described the "best feeling in the world" and explained how you caninduce that feeling, which I call inspiration. This experience lies at the heart of a creative revolution that is in its infancy. Inspiration also represents the next stage in the evolution of spirituality. A new form of yoga practice is taking shape, which allows you to cultivate your ability to experience inspiration and tap into its creative power. This practice is holistic, integrating body, mind, and spirit. It has to be, because inspiration is a full-body experience:
Here are the words to this chant, from the Hawaiian tradition:
I love you
Please forgive me
Everywhere you turn, you can see a profound restlessness building and growing. You may even feel it yourself. Something important is missing from people’s lives. In the past, many of us would seek to fill this void through participation in religious institutions and rituals. But now, we are rejecting conventional religion in unprecedented numbers. Increasingly, a majority of us are admitting that religion does not speak to our hearts.
This trend has been described as a shift from religion to spirituality. Although that may be true, such a shift will not resolve the restlessness we are feeling. The problem is that spirituality implies a pursuit of something outside of ourselves. And this pursuit tends to be intellectual to a certain degree. Never before have spiritual teachings been more readily available; with the click of a mouse, we gain access to sacred texts and all kinds of spiritual insights. Yet we find only a limited degree of fulfillment.
A more productive and meaningful trend is beginning to take shape. This is the shift from spirituality to inspiration. Whereas spirituality is a quest, inspiration is an experience: direct, personal, and unmediated. More importantly, this experience involves our entire bodies—not just our minds. In fact, inspiration is most likely to flourish when we silence our mental activity.
The shift from spirituality to inspiration may explain why yoga studios are popping up on every street corner at a time when churches are emptying out. One of the seminal texts in the yoga tradition, the Yoga-Bhashya, begins with the words, “Yoga is samadhi.” Although samadhi is often equated with ecstasy, this is not an entirely accurate translation. Samadhi is more closely related to inspiration, a three-fold experience that expresses itself simultaneously at each of the following levels: 1) emotional (blissful, ecstatic delight); 2) physiological (juicy, bursting radiance); and 3) noetic (intuitive, imaginative lucidity). Inspiration connects us with a profound and transcendent reality that abides in each of us.
As with any other form of yoga, the yoga of inspiration that I have developed consists of both an experience and a practice. The function of the practice is to draw you into the experience—nothing more. As I explained in Deep Creativity, the yoga of inspiration involves the cultivation of a set of qualities that I call the “Deep Six”: passion, quiescence, receptivity, self-transcendence, unconventionality and vision. Although devotion to this discipline can be helpful, it is important not to get so caught up in the practice that you lose sight of the big picture. If you make the practice a higher priority than the experience, then it is safe to say that you have veered off-course.
Inspiration is linked to creativity for a reason. When you master the yoga of inspiration, you gain access to the single most powerful creative force in the universe. At a time when humanity is desperately awaiting a creative revolution, the need for inspiration has never been more urgent. Besides giving rise to the greatest feeling in the world, inspiration has the added benefit of allowing you to tap into untapped expanses of creative potential within yourself. It is also the key to satisfying the restlessness that is being expressed so consistently and pervasively in our society. That is why the shift from spirituality to inspiration is so important.
Here I briefly explain why creativity needs to be reframed as a form of yoga, and I discuss the consequences of doing so:
5-Minute Chant is a virtual chant circle that happens every Wednesday at 6 pm MST. Please watch the video below and chant along with the following words at that time:
I am love I am Om (3x)
I am love I am
Dancing in the sky, melting in a stream (2x)
If you can't make it for any reason, then please chant along at your convenience.
Here and Now, Baby!
Today, I have a big announcement to make:
I have discovered the best feeling in the world!
Would you like to know what it is? By the end of this blog, you will. But first, I want to answer a few questions you might have about it:
Q: How did you come across this feeling?
A: I have been looking for it my whole life. As a boy (yes, that's me in the pic), I may not have known much, but I knew how to feel things fully, and I also knew what felt good to me. I have always remained true to that part of myself. Today, I look in the mirror and see the same boy, only wrapped in older skin. Five decades of life experience have taught me how much there is to feel in this life. And in recent years, I struck a vein of gold by discovering an experience that can only be described as “the best feeling in the world.”
Q How can you be sure that this is the best feeling in the world?
A: Inclusivity. I know this is the best feeling in the world because the entire universe is sharing it with me. This feeling takes me, in the words of Buzz Lightyear, “to infinity—and beyond!”
Q: Isn’t it presumptuous to claim that you have found the best feeling in the world?
A: Not really. I trust my intuition. And I am not claiming that you will agree with me. If you want, I can attach some disclaimers, such as: “I’m speaking only for myself” or “This may not be true for everyone.” But in my heart of hearts, I know that no disclaimers are needed.
Q: Is there scientific proof of your claim?
A: I know this is the best feeling in the world through my own personal experience. And the only way to validate my claim is through your own experience. There can never be scientific because it is 100% subjective. Once you know the best feeling in the world first-hand, proof is not an issue because it hardly matters to you if anyone else agrees.
Q: Is this a physical experience?
A: Yes. As long as I am living in a human body, all of my experiences are physical. The feeling I am going to describe for you involves a total body experience. After all, how can something be the best feeling in the world if you cannot feel it head-to-toe?
A: Is this a spiritual experience?
Q: Yes. I consider it spiritual because it meets the following criteria:
In ecstasy, the one explodes into the many,
And in bliss, the many melt into the one.
I am the one, the many, the exploding and the melting.
I am the one going into the many, and the many going into the one.
If you know what this feels like, I would love to hear from you! And if not, no worries; I will flesh out the experience more in my upcoming blogs. Next week, I will share some practical things you can do in order to experience the best feeling in the world. In the meantime, you can read more about it in Deep Creativity.
In creativity, as in much of life, the body often leads the mind. Some of the most famous moments of creative inspiration began with an intense bodily experience, such as illness, pain, fever, running a marathon, frenzied movement, and even constipation. That is why the back cover of Deep Creativity says, “Creativity is not just thinking outside the box, but living outside it.” Creative inspiration has always been a full-body experience that extends far beyond the limits of the human mind.
In the past decade, a phenomenon called interoception has been linked to creativity and intuition. This is the ability to sense what is happening inside the body—specifically in internal organs like the heart, stomach, and lungs. So, language that you may have thought was merely colorful, like “gut feeling” or “knowing your heart,” has a scientific basis.
If you want to be more creative, one of the best things you can do is start tuning in more to what is happening inside your body. Today I’m going to share a simple exercise that I have been using successfully for years. It is a mindfulness technique that focuses on your heartbeat, which is why I call it, “heartfulness.”
Here is how it works:
This practice will enhance your creative awareness. You may wonder how that could be possible. But the great artists have always known that creativity is a full-body experience. Composer Peter Tchaikovsky told an interviewer, “It would be vain to try to put into words the immeasurable sense of bliss which comes over me directly when a new idea awakens in me and begins to assume a definite form. I forget everything and behave like a madman: everything within me starts pulsing and quivering.”
By developing your inner sensitivity, starting with this heartfulness exercise, you will be able to refine your ability to read intuitive signals that lead to creative breakthroughs. You just have to know your heart and listen to your gut.
I want to hear from you! Please share your questions and comments. And sign up for my newsletter, where I will pass along the insights, ideas, and inspiration that come my way.