What does it mean to be inspired? It means to breathe into, to infuse (as life) by breathing, to draw forth or bring out. If we break down the meaning even further, the root of the word inspiration (similar to respiration), means to draw in, or to breathe life into. Spiri—or Spirit—is the source of all life. To draw in or breathe into that which you feel inspired to create, from the source of all life.
To draw inspiration into yourself, begin by opening your heart to this flow of Spirit. Calmness and openness of the heart is an important part of finding your source of inspiration. It also helps to know what inspires you.
“You have the capacity to throw flowering branches of power and success all around you,
that the inspiration of your life may waft its influence over the entire cosmos.”—Paramhansa Yogananda
Introspection, is a way to know what is your natural inclination for creativity and purpose. Once you know what that is, you can understand what you have to give others in this world. Is what you are doing fulfilling and satisfying to your right? If not, begin to pursue that which your heart is guiding you to do, if you would find your source of inspiration again.
Let’s do an introspection exercise to discover your innate gifts, especially thinking back to childhood when your heart was able to more easily lead the way. Begin by writing down the answers to the following questions:
- How do I define “success”?
- What do I believe will make me successful in life?
- What do I believe will make me happy in life? Is it related at all to how I view success?
- What do I have already that brings me happiness and fulfillment?
- What am I grateful for?
- When I picture myself achieving my dreams and doing what I love—what do I see myself doing?
- What do I have to give?
- Who do I have to give it to?
- How can I reach those who will be helped by this gift?
- What inspires me to take action in life?
- What makes me want to get up each day?
- Who and what do I live for?
- What do I feel my dharma is? How can I fulfill it?
- What are the ways that I can share my inspiration with others? Does this bring me joy?
- When I was young, what do I remember brought me joy? What did I enjoy doing to be creative? To have fun? To feel uplifted? What inspired me?
- How do these things relate to what I am doing today?
- In any way, can these be changed to align myself more “in attunement” with what brings me joy?
“Life should be a continuous inspiration.” —Paramhansa Yogananda
Now what will it take to act on these things to live an inspired life? Tune into your inner guidance, trust your heart, and feel how the Cosmic Spirit is trying to guide you. Open yourself to the new opportunities that await.
- How to Create Success in Any Endeavor by Kalamali (book excerpt)
- How to Be a Success by Paramhansa Yogananda
To help you find your life purpose, here is an inspirational introspection exercise (based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi):
“Be what you want to be, not what others think you ought to be.” -Paramhansa Yogananda
Here are the three questions to ask yourself, if you want to find your purpose:
1) Who am I? What is your inspiration?
2) Who do you want to help? What is your motivation?
3) How can you share this inspiration? What will you do to share with others?
Yogananda said, “Introspection is a mirror in which to see portions of your mind which otherwise would remain hidden from you. It is never too late to diagnose your failures and to assess your good and bad tendencies. Analyze what you are, what you wish to become, and what tendencies or shortcomings are impeding you. Decide what your deep and secret task is — your mission in life– so that you can make yourself what you should be and what you want to be.” —From the book: How to Be a Success
Now Let’s Create a Visualization:
Visualizations are an important part of success once you have found your purpose and are ready set out on your journey for manifestation. Visualization combines inspiration with imagination.
When a visualization has your focus and one-pointed attention, it has more power to attract what you are visualizing. Therefore, the more detail you put into your visualization, the deeper your experience.
Your visualization is in itself an affirmation. It can become a part of your reality if you invest into it great energy and will power.
Expand your vision to its ultimate form. Allow yourself to dream big, without any limiting thoughts. Understand what success and happiness means to you:
- Close your eyes, and bring to mind what you want to accomplish if you were to fulfill your dharma.
- What do you envision for yourself? For your family? For your business? Community?
- How does this relate to what you feel is your true purpose in life?
- What would it look like to share your work with others?
- How vast will it grow? How many people will it reach? How will it reach that many people? Over what span of time?
- How will your endeavor manifest? Write down as many details as possible.
Resolve to Follow Your Life Purpose
Once the importance of putting out energy is understood, it can be applied to setting an intention, and achieving goals along the way.
If you apply your will to manifesting set intentions, you can align each step with your ultimate vision and life purpose. As you put out positive energy, and follow your truth— which is your purpose in life—you will attract support needed along the way.
Write down your intentions. Notice how much more accessible they can be when they are clarified. Writing also helps to take your goals from the mental plane into the physical plane—bringing you closer to manifesting your dreams in daily life.
- Identify specific steps to your goals. Write down everything that comes to mind.
- What is the timeline you foresee? What do you hope to accomplish in the next ten years? Five years? One year?
- What are the minimum resources (time, environment, people, or income) you need to acquire in order to realize your desired outcomes?
- Write down the steps within your immediate reach. These are the first steps you will have to take in order to achieve success, for we must all start from where we are.
In this life, we have the opportunity to share our unique gift with the world. To do this, we must listen to inspiration and creativity when they are speaking to us. It is essential that we learn how to share our gift to the best of our ability, and that we direct our will power and concentration toward that noble end.
Ultimately, it is not for ourselves that we are trying to earn success. Rather, we are striving to serve in an expansive and beneficial way. The universe supports the success of those who strive to help others.