I have been thinking a lot about inspiration lately. It is an interesting notion. I have been thinking about what causes me to be inspired, how I inspire others, and how to maintain inspiration. Oh the concepts we think we understand.
Two anecdotes on moments of inspiration in my life.
1: The other week I attended a poetry reading at the school. Sonnet L'Abbé is a young poet from Vancouver and she is, oh, probably late 20's or so. She wrote a poem about one of the lakes in...ah, I forget the country, some country in the Middle East that ends in "-stan" and how the lake has receded something like 25 miles over the years due to crop irrigation. The problems that have arisen from the receding lake are enormous and have affected all manner of life in "-stan". The way L'Abbé read her poem, the commentary that she was making, the insight into the effects of this tragedy and how she expressed it all so lyrically through poetry caused this interesting stillness in me. I think there is a stillness associated with inspiration, it is a remarkable sensation. When something is inspiring, be it visually or audibly, it resonates with some sort of truth within us. Doesn't it? If I am inspired, it is because some truth has been presented to me in a new way, or I am reminded afresh of something I already knew. And so a quietness comes over that inside area in me, be it heart, spirit, soul. Yes, a quietness comes over my soul. And I am never thinking in that moment, that moment of impact so to speak, I am more just being in a state of stillness and truth. So there is a space of being in the inspiration and then an after-effect of acting out of the impact of inspiration which would make me now, one who is inspired.
The result of my inspiration that day was to write a poem in iambic pentameter largely around the theme of a cello player playing alone on a stage in the dark. I was listening to Yo-yo-ma while I wrote it. Cello players make another good source of inspiration.
2. I studied Homer's The Iliad this semester. As a final paper, I did a compare and contrast of the relationship between Achilleus and Patroklos of The Iliad and David and Jonathan from 1 Samuel. I was having a moment of revenge against my prof and I really wanted to blow him out of the water with this final paper. He has a real obsession over vocabulary and prefers students to write papers on the details of certain word choices and the nuances they bring and so I decided to really take this concept to the extreme. Which I did. I went back to the original Greek of Homer's work, and the original Hebrew of 1 Samuel, and cross-referenced certain words and yada yada yada. It was my 21st-century Dada statement. Anyways, as I was researching, I spent quite a bit of time looking at Greek and soon I found that I wanted to learn it. So I downloaded the alphabet and spent my very last Homer class doing little alphabet drills instead of being attentive and then I printed out some vocabulary sheets and worked on those, and then last week I was in a used book store and I found "The Essentials of New Testament Greek" for $8 and have now gone through the first two chapters. I desire to learn it, obviously, for that which is lost in translation of our English scriptures to those of the originals and henceforth, my life-journey of learning Greek has commenced. All because of a stupid little paper. which inspired me. So that one was self-inspired. but here, check this out:
That is the Greek word for inspiration. I just discovered this, so this is fresh off the press. So, this word seems to be a combination of two words, first the Greek word θεός which means God, and the second word is πνέω which means "to breathe, to blow; of the wind." Now listen to this. Spirit? Spirit spirit spirit. The word for Spirit in Greek is πνεῦμα which "comes from zee Greek word" πνέω; our second Greek word. Do you see? They are related. God and Spirit and inspiration are related. The word "inspiration" essentially combines them. And you would be correct if you were thinking of the passage in 2 Tim. 3:16 where this Greek word is originally used which says that all scripture is God-inspired...aka. God-breathed. God and Spirit. And what this means for us is that our inspiration is very likely God-breathed. Spirit. A little Divine breath into my soul. Into your soul.
Does it not now make perfect sense that I have a stillness in my soul as I am in a space of inspiration? It is a state of truth, a state of being, breathing, something breathing upon me. God breathing upon me. And so it seems that it is neither L'Abbé nor myself who catalyzes inspiration in my life or in the lives of others but rather an inspiration from God himself through a human venue.