"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with great gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
— Albert Schweitzer
People these days complain of being exhausted, apprehensive about the future, and suffering from overwhelm due to all their private and public responsibilities. That is why the spiritual virtue of inspiration is more necessary than ever. The word comes from the Latin inspirare which means to breathe into.
"As I grow older part of my emotional survival plan must be to actively seek inspiration instead of passively waiting for it to find me."
— Beth Moore Campbell
Inspiration is often connected to creativity; artistic people are receptive to the Muse who spurs them on to imaginative work. It is also related to revelation and meaning in the arena of spirituality. Here seekers encounter mystery, unity, awe, and states of elation.
Whether you are a creative person or a seeker, inspiration provides the energy and the power to move you out of the ruts of fear, worry, depression, despair, and helplessness. Or as Judith Orloff puts it: "Inspiration epitomizes positive energy; it's seminal to being joyous and rambunctiously alive, you can't be creative without inspiration. It's the whispering music, the sparks that lead to flame, the incentive for any Big Bang."
Two Inspirational Writers who are Global Phenomenons
Paulo Coelho and Kalhil Gibran are two of the most popular inspirational writers of all time. They are the subjects of two new films, and our reviews contain samples of the wisdom that has made them so popular:
Paulo Coelho is the bestselling author of 30 books that have sold more than 65 million copies worldwide. They have been translated in 80 languages, proving their incredible universality. Check out his blog at http://paulocoelhoblog.com
Kahlil Gibran (1883 – 1931) was a Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer, best known for his 1923 book The Prophet. It has sold more than
100 million copies and has been translated into more than 50 languages.
What do these writers share in common?
- Both crafted poetic wisdom messages that are easy to understand and put into action.
- Both men came up with catchy aphorisms which could serve as added value to the traditional religions and secular paths alike.
- They are popular with people who are "spiritually independent." This group, making up as much as 20% of the American population, seek out wisdom from many sources: the religions, the sciences, the arts, the humanities, the popular culture, the internet and the social media. They are less concerned with where the wisdom comes from than its capacity to make them more empathetic, just, and awake to the unity of all life.
Here are some examples of the wisdom of Coelho and Gibran.
Inspirational Teachings by Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist:
- "When you want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
- "The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. … and no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams."
- "“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
- "There is only one way to learn. It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”
- "The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.
Poetic Teachings of Kahlil Gibran
- "Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you."
- "Work is love made visible."
- "Let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you."
- "When love beckons to you follow him, though his ways are hard and steep."
- "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself."