The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
February 2009 -- Vol. 11 Issue 12
What is inspiration? Where is its source? Does it come from within or from without, or both? What is the relationship between genius and inspiration?
These questions are well worth asking and answering again and again. Inspiration is the receiving of interior illumination, and such comes only from the source of illumination, the inner light, which is equivalent to saying the inner spiritual sun or one's own inner god. This source of inspiration, this spiritual sun within, is spoken of by Christian mystical thinkers as the Immanent Christ, the Christ-spirit within. In the Orient it is called by various names. Buddhists call it the inner Buddha. Thence comes inspiration flowing into the lower mind, into the brain-mind through the intellect, and enlightening us, showing us the way, and giving us peace and comfort sublime.
Is there anyone who can confine it? No. Inspiration really has no limits whatsoever. The amount of inspiration that any one human being can receive depends entirely upon his own receptive power, upon the degree in which he can assimilate the inner light. But inspiration in itself is limitless, springing from an overflowing fountain, flowing full and free throughout eternity; for ultimately inspiration, which is the vision sublime, the inner light, comes from the very heart of the universe.
Inspiration comes from within, but the outer world can stimulate the percipient mind so that it opens to receive the light. Have you ever risen early in the morning, and gone out and watched the glorious sun come up over the mountains of the east? Then you feel that you are receptive and perceptive, and you feel your whole nature expanding and opening, and the thoughts that pour into the mind! Such is the only way in which outward circumstances, the exterior life, can aid inspiration. Outer nature offers the stimulus, but the life and light is within, the illumination comes from within the core of the core of your being. It is exhaustless.
No man or woman ever finds anything of permanent value in thoughts that are merely put into his or into her mind; because permanency of values resides only in the things that well up from the fountains of inspiration within the self: ideas of beauty, of high purpose, of aspiration, of inward splendor, of moral grandeur. You could have no comprehension of these things unless you had them in yourselves.
What the relationship is between genius and inspiration is a very profound question. Both spring from the god within, from the working of the spiritual forces within the human being. But genius is the working of the already evolved intermediate nature of the human being. It is a certain evolutionary stage which has been attained; whereas inspiration comes flooding into the soul, into the mind, as the "sun comes up like thunder out of China 'cross the sea," as the English poet Kipling puts it. Such is the way in which inspiration comes, as a flood of light.
Genius is accomplishment: that which has been achieved, the inner nature having been so evolved that it has raised itself into a natural harmony, and thus receives light more or less continuously in quiet and steady stream. Inspiration is higher, but it is temporary, though it may be the full flood of the inner light from the god within, one's own spiritual sun.
no stoppage, and never can be stoppage;
If I, you, and the worlds, and all beneath or upon their surfaces, were this
moment reduced back to a pallid float, it would not avail in the long run;
We should surely bring up again where we now stand,
And as surely go as much farther and then farther and farther. . . .
A few quadrillions of eras, a few octillions of cubic leagues, do not hazard
the span, or make it impatient;
They are but parts anything is but a part. . . .
See ever so far, there is limitless space outside of that;
Count ever so much, there is limitless time around that. Walt Whitman
This month "What Is Inspiration? is our subject. We will be discussing such questions as: : Where do our creative impulses come from? How can we open ourselves to inspiration? What role do inspiration and creativity play in science, art, business, and intellectual and spiritual pursuits? What is the relation between inspiration, imagination, intuition, and illumination? How can we test insights that come to us to find out whether theyre accurate or mere self-delusion? How can we live our lives more creatively? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge
These subjects are currently being considered for the Monthly Discussion group. As always, those who have a particular topic they would like to have featured are encouraged to contact us.
March 5: Solstices and Equinoxes
April 16: How Are We Connected?
May: Science and Spirituality
June: Finding Balance in Life
July: Faith, Knowledge, Experience
"There is a wisdom-tradition that once was universally known by every people on the face of the globe, a common treasury of inspiration and truth from which the saviors and benefactors of mankind draw." Grace F. Knoche
Long ago in a time forgotten except in myth and legend, the gods walked among newly awakened mankind to teach the wisdom of ages. So profound were the truths, so noble the concepts, that once presented these expressions remained impressed upon the inner heart of each and every man and woman never to be completely forgotten no matter the number of incarnations or failures through our descent into matter. Held seedlike within our secret heart, this wisdom-tradition remains until the rains of compassion pour out from the soul of mankind. Then, germinating with the heat of lifetimes of suffering, the seed will sprout and flower.
The gods shared not only their wisdom-philosophy but the arts and sciences as well agriculture and architecture, geology and geography, medicine and music enough so that, as the cyclic thickening of the veils of matter necessarily continued, mankind would never be without light and knowledge. Slowly as our untried souls sank deeper into material existence, the time came when the gods could be seen no more. Among mankind were a few whose efforts in past aeons had made them near godlike. Self-chosen by sacrifice, god-chosen by compassion, they became a fraternal order dedicated to nurturing in mankind the seeds of wisdom until the faraway time when the gods might again walk freely among us. This sacred order has many names, but perhaps most inspiring is "Brothers of the Sun."
This fraternity of humanity's elder brothers set to work to keep alive the light of eternal wisdom and to test what they had been taught by the gods. Because of their remarkable abilities some among them were able to send their consciousness deep within the heart of nature and retrieve firsthand that which they had learned and now experienced so that all mankind might benefit.
In time they formed outer schools for the masses openly in ages that permitted it, secretly when they did not to teach this wisdom of the gods. When a rare soul of natural gifts appeared, he was taught and tested. If worthy, he might be allowed into an inner school where the truths were deeper, the tests more difficult. Among those attracted to the outer schools few were able to pass to the next phase, and fewer still were able eventually to join the ranks of the Brothers of the Sun.
From time to time one or more of the Brothers undertook a major spiritual effort for mankind. Once mankind passed the most material point of evolution and the spiritual forces of nature were in its favor, something stirred in its depths when messengers were sent from the sacred order. The message, however, was often overpowered by that very inner recognition as people, in honoring a noble soul, deified the personality and codified the message so that it might never be lost in the process crushing its living spirit.
What has their message ever been? Brotherhood of all things animate and inanimate, visible and invisible. Each of us appears separate, yet we are one: what is done to one is done to all. They teach that the universe is filled with and composed of evolving souls, each to be, or now become, or gone beyond the human stage of evolution; that the universe operates according to fundamental laws which are really the force of consciousnesses so lofty that we can think of them only as the laws of nature which in their lowest expression they are; that the universe and its composite parts reimbody, each subject to its own actions and thoughts. They teach that while every soul is the expression of the One, each is unique as well, with its unique way to self-realization.
Perhaps the most beautiful thought is that there is a hierarchy of compassion which extends from the furthest reaches of mind and beyond, down through and including mankind. Always the sacred effort has been kept alive. Never abandoning their post, open to all deserving human souls, the great ones persist until that day when light pours from heart to heart, mind to mind, soul to soul: till all of us may also actualize in our lives the god within and, inspired by compassion, take our post and turn to assist our younger brothers in the evolution of all sentient beings. Each and every one of us is responsible to the living universe, each man and woman is a teacher and a student of universal law. No one is alone or unaided but all have within the gift of the gods to realize and share as we move toward that day when we too shall become Brothers of the Sun.