30 Jun Inspired by the Timeless, the Beautiful, and the Incomprehensible
AS THE SUNLIGHT FADES I welcome dusk, and dust off the remnants of the day. I stroll through the darkness past budding sunflowers and prickly cacti, listening to the sounds of the warm summer night.
I’ve caught the sun at my favorite moment, seconds before it falls beyond the distant horizon to rise where the world moves no slower, no faster, but in harmony with where I stand. The last rays of the sun pervade the grey sky, until it disappears.
I’ve been here before — despite the process of time, evident as the sun trades places with the ascending moon. The moon shines brighter as I watch the world turn in awe.
But I have been here; nights of wandering and wondering after days of becoming. I’ll be here again — perhaps as a different person, although something about me, my essence, remains.
What fills the gaps between the last time I stood here and now, between now and some distant night, is ours to construct, perceive, navigate, explore.
A few months ago I stood on this cliff after working on a part of my first book I’d been struggling to put together. When one seemingly insurmountable task went wrong, the frustration almost caused me to give up; but I didn’t. I tapped into renewed life, inspiration from an incomprehensible source.
We do what needs to be done today so we may benefit in the future; but sometimes we don’t know how much to give. What is it that keeps us striving when there’s no certainty that we’ll succeed?
We have the gift of hindsight and can study history to see where others have been rewarded for their efforts.
They heeded their personal call, and no matter how hopeless things became, they continued to take steps to become who they knew they could be.
Faith in Something More
In this great mystery of existence, we don’t know if our leap of faith or daring act will lead to success. We don’t know if leaving a life that no longer suits us to follow our hearts will truly make us any happier.
But we’re not alone. If we remain open despite the inevitable fear, we’re given signs that illuminate the way. They might be subdued by the noise of the day — but the signs are there if we never stop looking.
A sign comes from an unknown source, a gift of inspiration that says Keep going. Take a chance. This is what you could be, if you at least try.
We act on faith, and follow our guiding light into the unknown.
You have what it takes, I tell myself, the same person who stood on this cliff months before ready to give in. The book is done, you did it. I say under my breath. Keep going, if not for yourself, then for a single soul whose life you might touch.
I believe that everything is happening all at once, and we have the power to transcend the present and inspire our past and future selves,
writes Light Watkins in his inspiring book Knowing Where to Look.
Who knows? Maybe that inner voice we hear sometimes, encouraging us to keep going and not give up, is us - the part of us who has already witnessed the impact of our work.
Maybe it is all happening at once. Perhaps what we’re meant to do, what we’re destined to give to the world is preordained; some benevolent act in accord with our spirit is waiting to move the world in the right direction.
Somewhere, it’s has already happened. Those nudges, the signs and the midnight contemplations are telling us in which direction to go.
Life Is a Fountain that Flows from Within
The word inspire comes from the Latin root words in, which means “into,” and spirare, which means “to breathe or to blow.” To inspire is to “blow into,” as if an idea, a novel thought, or a vision of the future blows into our spirit like a gale of wind.
Inspiration connects us to something beyond our comprehension — the depths of who we are and how we’re intertwined with the life that exists in all things. Instead of inspiration striking us like a lightning bolt sent from a divine cloud, however, I see it as an awakening.
The Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations:
Life is a fountain that flows from within ourselves, If we want it to continue to flow and don't fight it, it will.
To me this line exemplifies inspiration — the source of creation and boundless energy lays within each of us. But what constitutes the life which Aurelius refers to? What aspects of being human enrich this experience?
That which connects us to what is timeless and beautiful.
That which we all are, yet only need to wake up to realize. To stand for something beyond our limited, time-bound existence is to let life, inspiration, and energy flow from our deepest self.
To live in awe and have faith in something greater than ourselves is to never let the fountain run dry. That is life, for when we’re inspired and awake, our wounded personas and time bound egos mean nothing; we simply want to live in boundless joy.
Why We’re Really Here
It’s impossible to know with certainty what we’re on this planet to do. The only way to find out is by taking part in life, and trying.
As we traverse our path, there will be moments of fear when we tell ourselves not to take a risk, not to go for it because we’re afraid of the possibilities that might follow.
We’re afraid of the work, the unknown, the ridicule; if we don’t act, maybe we’ll be fine. Life will continue as it always has, and we might even find a sense of place and purpose elsewhere.
But what if it’s not just about us as individuals? What if we’re being called to embark on the less-trodden road because there’s somebody out there who needs us?
While our destiny might be to change the world through an endeavor, it could also encompass being in the right place at the right time, saying the right thing to change somebody’s life.
Who knows which is more “important” in the grand scheme of it all, the grand work of art, the business, the idea, or the words of encouragement?
To us they might just be a few simple words — but often it’s difficult to act even when we know it’s right.
Our loving words carry a weight that we can’t explain, for when they touch another human being, they create a reaction which we can’t comprehend. Each daring act of encouragement, love, compassion and acceptance shifts the universe just as much as a grand work of art or starting a non-profit.
Inspired by Eternity
The English poet William Blake said:
Eternity is in love with the creations of time.
Steven Pressfield attempts to deconstruct this ambiguous statement in his book The War of Art:
What Blake means by 'eternity,' I think, is the sphere higher than this one, a plane of reality superior to the material dimension in which we dwell. In some way these creatures of the higher sphere (or the sphere itself, in the abstract) take joy in what we time-bound beings can bring forth into physical existence in our limited material sphere. The timeless communicating to the time-bound.
I’m going to take the line one step further, guided by Pressfield’s interpretation. Eternity is the source, the reason we’re truly here on Earth.
Eternity is what we can’t comprehend, the incorporeal realm that may guide our every step. Eternity loves us and wants us to flourish.
Eternity knows what we could be, what might make us truly happy, and it will show us the way to get there. Odds are we won’t see success immediately, that is, our time-bound definition of success.
We might never meet earthly standards of success. But success means something different to eternity, to the timeless, the beautiful, the incomprehensible.
You’ll know it in your heart if you’re successful by eternity’s standards. You’ll know by the lightness in your step, how you treat others, and the way the world looks when it turns.