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Just the other day, I heard the word “inspired” in a whole new way.
One of my coaching clients, who has a big, bold vision to change the world in a wonderful way, was telling me he had felt blocked in his flow and had started reading other people’s work for “inspiration.”
The word “inspire” originally comes from two Latin roots: in + spiritos.
It literally and simply means to be immersed in spirit, to be immersed in the divine—to be immersed in the true creative source in which everything fresh, new, brilliant, and authentic arises. The word spiritus also became the root of spirare, to breathe.
Inspiration generally comes from two types of thought. In my new book, Radical Brilliance, I make the distinction between these thought processes: horizontal and vertical thoughts.
Horizontal thoughts are like bubbles floating to the surface on a pond.
One bubble can generate another. This is how most thoughts are created: we hear something, we read something, we see something on social media—then we store it in our memory and it generates other similar thoughts within us. Almost all thoughts arise in this way; they are essentially recycled regurgitations of what we heard from somebody else. All too often, sadly, we use the word “inspiration” to refer to this process of borrowing and regurgitating.
I can also suggest another kind of thought, which we could call vertical thoughts.
This is like a bubble that begins at the very base of the pond, and slowly rises up from those depths to emerge on the surface. This is like a thought that has never been thought before. It rises out of stillness, out of emptiness—it has no precedent. It is this kind of thought that becomes Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, or original breakthroughs in music, science, or social innovation. It is these kinds of thoughts that are boldly generated out of the question: “Who says” or “Who says it has to be that way?”
Vertical thoughts are completely disruptive to the status quo and to everything we have come to begrudgingly accept as normal.
Truly original creative thoughts—thoughts that have never been thought before—cannot draw their energy from other thoughts. They are born from an infinite creative source beyond the mind, which is essentially mysterious. You could call it infinite consciousness, you could call it “God,” you could call it “the Divine,” or you could call it “spirit.”
True, original, creative impulses—the kind that come not from you but through you—can only emerge when you are “in spirit,” when you are inspired.
When I coach people, I often tell them that the most important part of coaching is daily practice. For sure, my clients can meet me online once a week for a scheduled call. They can also read books and go to seminars. But the only constant thing that really seems to make a difference in the long-term is repeated steady practice, or discipline.
To incorporate inspired discipline in our daily lives, I encourage you to wake up at least one hour before the dawn, and take some type of nootropic substance (like Qualia) with lemon water to become fully awake. Then, we should sit silently and without moving for 30-40 minutes. After this, find a way to move energy through your body: dancing and practicing the art of Qigong are great ways to do this.
All of this is simply so you can be fully ready and “inspired” for that magical moment when the sun first appears above the horizon.
Sunrise is absolutely the best time of the day to channel inspiration into new creative impulses.
Impulses that can become thoughts you never thought before, words you have never spoken before, and actions you have never taken before.
This is how we evolve.
For these kinds of original thoughts to arise, we must first make sure that we are inspired, that we are fully immersed in spirit.
And that takes some discipline and practice.