The thought that inspiration is the breath of life is not new. In fact, it’s embedded in our social consciousness as an artifact that dates back to the root of the word itself. The word holds a tremendous amount of power that has been diluted over time reflecting the transition of human consciousness from oneness to individuation.
When we think of the word(s) inspire/ inspiration, it often means we’re looking for something outside of ourselves to give us that push, extra nudge, or spark of an idea that will lead to some sort of accomplishment. Sometimes the words are used in reference to another, as if some behavior you exhibit might be the motivating force for someone else.
This is where things get tricky. There is a tendency for people to want to use the words “(to) motivate” and “(to) inspire” interchangeably. The desired outcome is to change a behavior, either in oneself or in someone else. The critical difference is that motivation is an energy that comes from inside the self. In other words, you can become motivated to do something with the right energetic force, but you cannot motivate someone else because you are standing outside of his or her internal energetic system.
The Root of Inspiration
Inspiration, on the other hand, is all about moving energy in the direction of another being. In fact, the English word inspiration originated from 13th century Old French inspiracion “inhaling, breathing in” and Late Latin inspirare “blow into, breathe upon,” as in– “in” + spirare (spirit) “to breathe.”
This sense of the word is the underlying concept behind some of the metaphorical phrases we use involving “breath.”
- When we are stressed we need a breath of fresh air.
- When we are frustrated, we don’t hold/ waste our breath.
- When we are excited, something or someone can take our breath away.
- When you feel pressures, you might feel as though someone is breathing down your neck.
- When you want to make something anew, you breathe new life into it.
- If you want to keep something secret, you don’t breath a word.
Inspiration is Spirit Inside
The connection between the word inspiration and the relationship to “breath” as the source of life and flow of energy can be found in several Biblical references as well. For instance, the Hebrew word for inspiration is “nish’mat”, pronounced [nesh-aw-maw] and is used several times throughout the Old Testament with the first occurrence appearing in Genesis 2:7.
waYiytzer y’hwäh élohiyim et-häädäm äfär min-häádãmähwaYiPach B’aPäyw nish’mat chaYiymway’hiy häädäm l’nefesh chaYhäh
And (Yähwé) God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Many scholarly interpretations of this verse suggest the significance lies not just in the notion that God is the source of life, which is sustained through breath, but that the energy that comes through breath is the inspiration that gives us both a connection to and understanding of spirit.
The Shift in Meaning
A quick look at the Merriam-Webster dictionary demonstrates how the meaning of the word inspiration has shifted from a divine right (re: the breath of life) to something that is acquired. In fact, the dictionary even notes the sense “to breath into” is an archaic meaning.
The modern interpretation is:
A divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation;
- The action or power of moving the intellect or emotions;
- The act of influencing or suggesting opinions.
- An even more common meaning, though, is that of influence (force) on one another.
The Need to Re-Align with the Source of Life
The word inspiration holds the vibrational energy necessary to re-align human consciousness with the source of life and breath is the medium through which it can be attained. Those who have a daily meditation practice know that focusing on breath is the key to self-awareness and accessing the higher self.
Guided breathing is also a powerful tool for calming an anxious mind and bringing the physical body back to a state of homeostasis.
This shift in meaning is a reflection of a collective thought system that embraces separation and worthiness. The emphasis is no longer on the life force and spiritual energy of breath. Rather, it focuses on the specialness of receiving divine intervention, which is only available to individuals who have the “quality” to receive it.
To claim the inherent power of inspiration, you need to reconnect and realign with your source of life. There are several ways to go about it, but regardless of the approach you use, it will be important to incorporate conscious breathing. Click on the link below to get started:
Relaxing Breath (4-7-8 Breathing for Beginners)