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Inspiration is a phenomenon of the right hemisphere of the human brain in which profound insights, information, and intuitions burst through to the waking consciousness with startling clarity. Inspiration makes possible most creative thinking in artistic and scientific endeavors. Some attribute this phenomenon to divine sources, others to supernatural spiritual, or psychical forces.
Research conducted by the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR) in the relationship between creativity and extra-sensory perception (ESP) indicates three shared principles: positive motivation, relaxation, and dissociation. Each principle is required. Positive motivation is needed for making contact with the material in time and space. Relaxation of both mind and body has been determined to produce positive result in both psi and inspiration experiments. The mind, in a dissociative state, is both passive and receptive. These principles may apply to many mystical experiences as well.
Inspiration usually occurs suddenly with overwhelming intensity, like the proverbial bolt of lightening out of the blue. But, it generally has been evolving in the subconscious for a long time. The English psychical researcher Frederic W. H. Myers likened inspiration and genius to an expression of "subliminal uprush," in which the unconscious self integrates and reorganizes information into new patterns, which are in turn pushed into the consciousness in a rush.
The inspirational phenomenon is fleeting. The information must be quickly captured and written down, or acted upon; if not it hastily fades from memory. When saved, inspiration can fuel long periods of creativity. The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow often was inspired when falling asleep; he would then jump up and record his ideas. Mozart was inspired when he was alone during times of "good cheer," such as walking after a good meal, or traveling in a carriage, or during sleepless nights. He confided that at these times music flooded his thoughts forcing him to commit it to paper. Albert Einstein's breakthrough to the theory of relativity came with what he called "the happiest thought of my life" when he was inspired by the vision of a person falling off of a roof, and the realization that the person was both at rest and in motion simultaneously.
Occasionally the onset of inspiration is accompanied by physical sensations such as chills, burning, tingling, "electric glows,' and "fuzzy" feelings that seem to indicate that something profound is about to happen. Beethoven, when inspiration struck, said his whole body shivered and his hair stood on end. He felt as if he was plunged into the mysterious state of oneness with the world, in which all forces of nature were his instruments.
Jacob Boehme is and example of a mystic who was inspired by the sense of oneness with nature and God. He equated God, the Father, with the sky, and Jesus Christ with the sun. Boehme believed in the concept of the macrocosm and microcosm--people mirror the universe and are a reflection of God.
A similar experience often occurs within neo-Pagan Witchcraft during the ritual called "Drawing Down the Moon." When the moon is drawn down, the high priestess often enters a trance in which the Goddess possesses her. Acting as the incarnate Goddess, the priestess speaks and acts as the Goddess. The circle's psychic power now becomes Goddess power.
Meditation, deep prayer, fasting, psychedelic drugs, and even the beginning of acute psychosis may bring on inspiration. Persons adept in meditation spend more time in an alpha state, and are likely to experience a greater frequency of inspiration. A.G.H.