August 23, 2011

Living an inspired life

There are two aspects to inpiration - being inspired and inspiring others. It is in inspiration that keeps us going. Living an inspired life is living better. 

To live an inspired life is to walk with an enhanced awareness of everyone and everything around you, to see divinity and delight in everyday people and events, and to infuse your environment with the same magical energy.

What does it take to live an inspired life? 
 If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. 
Henry David Thoreau, 
American author and philosopher 

Many qualities are spoken of by the few people who live a truly inspired life. But what do these much bandied qualities actually mean in everyday life? Take a quick look at 5 prized qualities that are the hallmarks of inspired living and how they can be expressed in your actions:
Honesty and Conviction  – Be yourself and believe in yourself. Ask for what you want and express yourself clearly. See everything clearly for what it is. Seek and follow only the truth.   
Love  and Compassion – Care for the less fortunate and love your fellow human beings as much as you love yourself. Love your work passionately too or find your true vocation where love of work comes naturally. 
Courage – Follow your deepest and highest dreams. Dare to jump out of the box of conventional thought. Clobber your bad habits. Defeat your deepest fears. Never say never to even the most impossible ideal. Persevere even in your darkest hours. 
Efficiency – Optimize your work, but remember to also smell the flowers. Stop complaining and start working. Exploit every hour of the day. As the Romans say, Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! Get rid of the weeds in your mind. Dream of the future, but live in the present
Inspiration and reflection- Mentor someone weaker than you. Utter an uplifting quote and smile all day. Appreciate the good around you. Meditate  and explore the farthest corners of your heart and mind. The opposites of these qualities are always lurking around to overpower the weak willed mind. But stick to it and  make these sterling qualities your own. And you will have surely started laying the foundations under those dream castles that you have built! 

The mind needs to feed on a few things. Unless there is good nourishment, there’s no development. 

How do you keep weeds out of the Mind Garden? Focus hard on your dream. In an archery contest, Arjuna, one of the mythological Pandavas in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, is asked what he sees when he aims at the fish hanging from the ceiling. He answers – I see only the eye of the fish.

Thus you can cast aside vices that tempt you. Read great books, watch classic movies and listen to good music for inspiration. Vices creep in through the windows of your senses. So immerse all your senses only in brilliance and beauty. Your face will shine like an Enlightened One all day and your mind will have an invincible power. And only then will your inspired seeds bloom into achievements.

Inspiring others is more challenging than getting inspired yourself. One truth stands out from among the thousands of corporate self-help lines tossed around nowadays – There is no leadership except leadership by example!

You must inspire your workforce by being a role model of dynamic, efficient and honest work. Modern gurus say – don‘t work hard, work smart. But to achieve that level of efficiency, one has to work hard indeed. Your perseverance and courage will empower your team to step out of their comfort zones and do better. When you exceed your own expectations, your staff will seek to do the same. 

In these harsh recession days, employees are watching how much you make and how much the top guns reward you. If you flash past your workers in a Ferrari, that is not going to inspire them. But if you take part of your bonus and spend it on a workshop or creativity seminar for your staff, they will be moved and roused by your selfless action. Steer clear of backroom politics, your workers will respect you more if you skip the spin speak and nasty gossip.

Your people have creative minds. Let their inspiration benefit you too. Invite new ideas, small ones and big ones and award the best ideas, however tiny they may be. Remember to inspire means to take in breath and also to give life to. When every member of the firm gives and takes, breathes in and out, there will be growth in the company tree. 

There will be times in your life when the inspiration begins to sag. You need a booster dose. Where do you look for it? 

There are times when you may feel completed deflated, like a punctured tire. How would you fix the tire? Find where the hole is located and plug it. And then inflate it. How do you re-inflate the tire of your soul?  Try these exercises on yourself:

1. Be kind to yourself – First you have to heal the hole in your soul. Treat yourself to a good movie and a good meal and the company of someone you love. Stop expecting perfection of yourself. Even waves flow through crests and troughs. The hills swoop down into valleys. Like the old cliché goes, ups and downs are a part of life. 

2. Listen to people – When the noise in your head is too loud, you know you have had too much of your own company. Walk in a park and listen to children talk. 

3. Step into a church or a mosque or a temple – Or even a museum. There is something about the awe and  tranquility of these exalted halls that automatically sweeps you higher. Meditate and converse with your innermost soul. Chat with your Creator, tell him your troubles and ask him for a hand.

4. Go for a swim – Or just work out on the lawn. Feel good endorphins will surge through your brain and inspire you like no nasty drug can. Getting addicted to exercise is a jolly good thing! 

5. Dance – Holding a loved one and dancing close to soft music is great medicine for a tired soul. Jiving up and rocking the place is equally great. Sort out your music for your moods. And surprise yourself sometimes, listen to opera for a change!

6. Read an autobiography of a great man or woman. Walk in their shoes and learn how they did it. Read Khalil Gibran, listen to Zig Ziglar, watch black and white classic films. Just keep filling your spiritual well.  And voila! You are charged up and ready to go. Don‘t forget to take your dear ones and your colleagues along on some of the recharge sessions. They will appreciate it and always be there for you. After all cars and buses and bikes need more than one tire to run! 

All these things help us stay inspired. We are not perfect and sometimes we must allow ourselves to hit the pits, but, it is important to pick ourselves up again. :-)

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