Even though it is the basis of some of the most profound creative breakthroughs in human history, the experience of inspiration continues to receive relatively little attention from the research community.
Having spent 30 years studying this important yet elusive topic, I offer the only known model of what creative inspiration is and how it works. Here I summarize the defining features of the experience in less than three minutes:
PLEASE NOTE: This video contains an important announcement about Global Chant.
Here is a chant I introduced last Saturday night at the "AUM Coming" event that Maria and I did at Tucson Bhakti, along with talented young musicians Lyric Williams and Steven Horkey. The words are:
Empty as the clear blue sky (2X)
Empty am I, Empty am I
Empty as the clear blue sky
Yes, my friends. It's true. I have cracked the code. The experience of what I call "the greatest feeling in the world" is something I have learned to access on a regular basis. And you can too. At the 2:35 mark of this four-minute video, I reveal the key to this experience. Find out here:
I made a decision a long time ago that has served me well. If given the choice, I would rather be happy than right. To me, this is basic pragmatism. It does not mean that I ignore facts. It's just that everything in our lives is subject to interpretation. Given that we can see things from any perspective we want, it makes sense to look at them in the best possible light. Every morning, I say The Pledge, which includes the following statement:
Everything that comes my way is a gift and an opportunity. To think otherwise would be the height of arrogance and ingratitude. It's like declaring to the universe: "I know better." The problem is one of expectations. If I expect things to turn out a certain way and they don't, then I am setting myself up for disappointment.
The flip side is to always expect the worst. Psychologists use the term depressive realism to describe the finding that depressed people who expect the worst also tend to be right. Of course, part of that could be self-fulfilling prophecy: If you expect the worst, you often get it--especially when the outcome is determined to a certain extent by your own efforts. Expect to fail and you probably will.
Success is trickier because it is harder to define or anticipate. I have had many times in my life when something wonderful and unexpected happened. Such outcomes far exceeded anything I could have expected or imagined. Case in point: The night I met and fell in love with Maria. I never saw it coming, and I certainly wasn't looking for it.
In a results-oriented society, we are pushed to set goals and envision our future successes. To a large degree, I buy into this philosophy. I know that there are a number of things I can accomplish more successfully if first I can conceive and imagine them. And yet, there has to be room for magic--for the kinds of outcomes that defy expectations and stagger the imagination.
I just experienced a bit of that magic while visiting my father, who is dying at age 91 of a series of complications, including congestive heart failure. I went to see him without expectations of any kind. And here is what I found:
The one thing we can all expect is that my father will die in the days or weeks to come. That moment, when it does arrive, will come with great sadness but also a tinge of relief. None of us wants to see a good man's life come to an end. Yet we also know that his decline has brought a certain level of indignity to a dignified man, who is now relegated to having his diapers changed several times a day and being spoon-fed his meals in bed. And we have watched my mother work herself to total exhaustion trying to attend to his ever-growing care needs.
I don't know how I will react to the death of my father, because I have never been through this experience before. And also, because I don't want to have expectations. I prefer to stay open to whatever gifts this major life event will bring my way. Maybe, just maybe, a little unexpected magic will occur.
Very special chant, dedicated to my father David. This one is based on the Jewish prayer of sanctification, the Kaddish. The words are:
Blessed is the Glory of God
In Heaven and on Earth (2x)
Baruch Kevod Adonai Mimkomo (4x)
Much has happened in the past week. The Creative Revolution that I have been discussing is gaining momentum! My presentation to the Austin Texas Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) group has been met with overwhelmingly positive response. In fact, it has gained as much "buzz" in as short a time frame as anything I have ever done.
Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Bob Price, the director of the Institute for Neuroscience and Consciousness Research (INACS) , the video of that presentation is now available online. You can watch it in its entirety here:
In the weeks to come, I will be featuring specific excerpts from this video. The entire talk is 65 minutes in length, and it starts with a discussion of an experience that I am calling "the greatest feeling in the world."
While I was in Austin, I had the good fortune to be interviewed by Chuck Robison, the co-founder of What If It Really Works? Over the past decade, Chuck and his amazing wife Karen have videotaped interviews with some the most well-respected authors and thinkers in the fields of consciousness, spirituality, and new science. I was very honored to have this very lively and thought-provoking recorded conversation with Chuck:
On the same day that both of these videos were uploaded, I also discovered that Deep Creativity has been named one of the 13 "most passionate books to read about love" by a British website called Fupping that reviews books from a wide range of genres. The reviewer wrote:
"Deep Creativity draws a link between creativity and love. The last chapter is devoted almost entirely to an the topic of unconditional love. In fact, the book ends with an unconditional love invocation that my fiancee and I have incorporated into our lovemaking. I would say, without hesitation, that this invocation has played an important part in bringing us together. One of us will say a line from the invocation and the other will repeat it, all while making eye contact with one another. These words have been so impactful that we are seriously thinking about incorporating them into our wedding vows. The unconditional love invocation alone makes this book a worthwhile read for couples interested in nurturing unconditional love in their relationship."
Thanks to Zak Parker at Fupping for this great write-up! Last but certainly not least, theTEDxTucson "[r]evolution" conference that was postponed this past January has been rescheduled for September 21. Barring anything unexpected, I will be speaking on creative inspiration that day. I will share more updates on that event in the weeks to come.
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.