If you are in a creative field, your livelihood and reputation depend on moments of creative inspiration. Yet, inspiration remains one of the great mysteries of human existence.
University of Arizona psychologist and author Dr. Victor Shamas conducted a 30-year research study of creative inspiration, which he chronicles in his new book, “Deep Creativity: Inside the Creative Mystery.” The book takes readers inside the experience of inspiration to show them what it takes not just to get inspired but to stay there.
According to Shamas, the following five steps can ignite the fire of inspiration and keep it burning inside you.
Live Your Passion
Just knowing your passion is not enough. Make it the focal point of your life. Every day, ask yourself: What am I doing to feed and nurture my core passion? Think of each new day as a blank page. Most people put their passion somewhere in the margins. To feel inspired, you need to move it to the center of the page.
Take Time to Play
Do something you enjoy that takes little or no thought. Stretch, go for a walk, pull out a yo-yo, listen to music, dance, smell the fragrance of fresh flowers, or savor a delicious treat. Choose an activity that involves no goal or strategy. Then immerse yourself in it completely.
Let Your Body Lead Your Mind
Being inspired takes an attitude of receptivity that is hard to adopt, especially if you have an overly active mind. But here is a simple trick: Put yourself in an open and receptive physical state and your mind will follow. You can do this by lying flat on your back, with arms extended perpendicular to your torso, palms up, legs open, and jaw relaxed. A few minutes in this position, called Repose, can shift your mind naturally from an active mode to a receptive one, opening you up to new ideas and possibilities.
Do the Right Thing
You are surrounded by people and institutions that are telling you how to think, feel, and act. But only one person knows what is right for you. Make sure that the influence of others does not strip you of the freshness and spontaneity that are needed for inspiration. Reject arbitrary social conventions that cannot fulfill or inspire you.
Act On Your Vision
How do you create an inspired life? Start by envisioning it. What do you dream of being, doing, or having? Think about the kind of world in which you want to live. Once you have a vision, make sure you believe in it. Your faith gives you the conviction to act, and your actions can shape the future.