Awakening and inspiration share very similar attributes, and are to my mind siblings to each other within the self.

To reach each, the path or method is so similar. The inspired state requires surrendering everything that does not belong, that will hold you back, not push you forward. Inspiration is thought of as that elusive state that cannot be forced. Artists and creatives go “looking for it.” Popping on a CD, taking a walk, maybe some coffee in a corner of the shop scribbling, waiting for the mood to strike. You look or wait for it like an elusive jaguar slipping through the dense underbrush…you never know when it is going to show itself. One waits for it expectantly.

When it does arrive, you are letting it in, not wresting it to the ground. When it comes, it is as if you are invincible, on top of the world. Anything is possible.

In truth, inspiration comes when we allow ourselves to be dissarmed, when we let go the monkey mind that chatters away. You don’t force inspiration the same way that you don’t force awakening. Why is that?

Inspiration isn’t a rational process at its core. It may suit up using rational decisions…which instrument to play, what key, what time signature, or brush or color. But all of those things are subjects of inspiration, subservient to its need, desire, and play. Inspiration is, or can be, an utterly unbounded state in which anything is possible but only one thing can usually be done at a time. An entire year’s worth of creative output can be conceived in moments like these. I know that this is often the case for me. I have to pick and choose the things that have the best use of my time. Much is similarly discovered when one is awakened. Worlds emerge in both the inspired and awakened state. Why?

Both inspiration and nonduality are deeply rooted in creativity. All forms of it. People describe kundalini as a libidinous force, but I experience it as radical creativity in all of its forms. The desire in the physical for the beloved is itself a creative act of love…that creates new life. Curious, too, how we have so much shame surrounding that part of ourselves. Curious as well how little our cultures honors the arts. The powers that be prefer to make money selling war machines. So easy, so uncreative, so destructive. A world upside down. One expands, the other contracts. For now, this is how this world is.

We must fill it with the juiciness of our art, our music, our photography, and the love that is present in both inspiration and in awakening or nonduality. We must do this without cheapening either of them but making them even more precious…inspiring others even if they cannot hold a note, or paintbrush or a meditative state (yet).

So if you want to know awakening, know your creative impulse because that is the tail of the cosmic tiger.