Inspiration is a funny thing. One moment, we can have a flash of genius, only to be back to business as usual the next. We all long find our muse so as to experience greater and longer levels of inspiration.
Why is it we never look to ourselves and aspire to be our own muses? Once again it goes back to the way society programs us to look outward for everything. As children we are encouraged to put others first and we begin to equate satisfying our needs with something bad. We are told that putting others in front of us is the key to happiness. I would argue that while, being a thoughtful person is truly an important part of the human experience, putting others before our own spiritual needs creates inner turmoil and perhaps even resentment. It creates an unnatural inner-environment. For real happiness to exist within any of us, we must re-program the way we were taught to place others before us, and meditation can play a key role in this process.
When people first hear this, some groan because of the “M” word, while others feel a twinge of guilt because from day one, we are all conditioned not to be selfish. There is a reason when you’re on a plane you are instructed to put the oxygen mask on yourself if you’re a parent. You cannot save your child, if you don't first save yourself. Why don’t we view that act as selfish? Perhaps because it makes perfect sense. If we feel uninspired or stuck in our lives, maybe we are spending too much time looking outward for the answers and not placing enough attention on ourselves. We have to learn, what I coin “collective separateness.” It is not bad to place ourselves and our needs before others. Imagine if you will that everyone's life is like a garden. If you spend all your time in other people's gardens, then you have no time to cultivate your own. It will be full of weeds and dead flowers. Who wants to spend time in a place like that? If we all tended to our own gardens, then we could all enjoy the beauty of one another's sacred garden and life would be richer.
Learning to inspire ourselves means taking the time to know ourselves. We live in such a fast-paced world that far too many argue they simply don't have the time to slow down and smell the roses. We Italians have one main creed to live by. "Dolce far niente." Translated that means “the sweetness of doing nothing.” Shops and schools close up every day and families spend several hours enjoying the sweetness of doing nothing but eating, laughing and loving. As Americans, we have much to learn from this beautiful way of living. We never stop going. Everything is fast and faster. We never slow down long enough to even smell the coffee we bought at Starbucks. If we are ever to be truly happy, we simply have to slow down and make the time to put ourselves first. We have to make a conscious decision to make inspiration a part of our daily lives and that inspiration is cultivated through meditation.
There are so many misconceptions of what meditation is. It comes in many forms. Sitting long periods in deep-trance is simply one form, and it isn’t for everyone. Individuals have to re-define the idea of meditation to make it realistic in their daily lifestyles. Meditation, is simply dedicated time going within, it doesn't have to involve chanting or mantras. It can be as simple as closing one’s eyes and taking several deep breaths. Not putting a time constraint on it, or any expectations. It is essentially creating a refuge where there are no problems, or people that demand anything of us. It is a place where we can be the star. Most importantly it is our space. It belongs only to us and if we spend the time developing it, it can be a place we look forward to retreating. We can go there and imagine the life we deserve. As humans, we must recharge, our spirituality is an integral part of our existence- make the time for it in your daily life. Learning to find a way to seek out alone time will inspire you to become the person you want to be, and in time it can teach you to become your own muse. Namaste!