How to be inspired
There are ways to tap into your inspired thinking but you have to know a few things beforehand…
Inspiration and reaching your full potential can only happen when certain things are in place. According to Abraham Maslow and his theory on the “Hierarchy of needs”, we must satisfy certain basic requirements before we can feel enlightened and use our creativity.
These basic requirements include things like a safe place to live, food and security. Once we have these basic essentials in place we can focus our energy on more ethereal stuff.
There is a theory that states that we have three parts to our brain. We have the ‘lizard’ (reptile) brain – the most basic part of our brain (the limbic system)that controls our impulses and helps us survive. Many of the actions controlled by this part of the brain occur without much thinking – for example “fight or flight” – a basic response to danger.
Then there is the ‘monkey’ (mammal) brain. Slightly more advanced than the lizard part of our brain, the monkey part of our brain deals well with repetition, habits and many of the usual tasks that we have to contend with in our daily lives such as driving, doing repetitive tasks at work, cooking and daily chores. The monkey brain is satisfied with monotony and hates change. The monkey brain longs for security and prefers to stay within a comfort zone of safety. Unfortunately, tapping into our monkey brain too much can hinder our opportunities and our potential to grow.
Finally, there is the higher part of our brain (primate – frontal cortex), where the real important stuff takes place – creativity, pioneering ideas, entrepreneurial spirit and inspired living. This is found in the frontal lobes of the brain, the newest part of the brain to develop in evolutionary terms. When we use this part of our brain, we are tuned in to the most enlightened part of our beings. This is when we transcend world divisions (such as race, culture, the “us and them” attitude) and function at a higher level. Neuroscientist, Richard Davidson from the University of Wisconsin, carried out research on Tibetan monks and found that when they meditated, their prefrontal cortex was highly active – especially on the left side which has to do with feelings of joy, happiness and compassion.
The lizard brain believes in resources it can touch, the monkey brain believes what it is told (this is why it is crucial to be a critical thinker and not believe everything you are told by the media, politicians and people in authority) and the primate part of the brain believes in the resources it can have control over. It is able to see the bigger picture and is more detached from the material goods and safety that is on offer (this appeals the the monkey brain).
The lower parts of the brain (lizard and monkey) have the power to shut down our higher level thinking when it feels threatened. Therefore, it is important to appease these parts of the brain. If immediate survival isn’t threatened (this will activate the lizard brain) and we are not stuck in a repetitive life with no prospects we will be able to think on a higher level. Don’t stay in a job that stifles your creativity or that undervalues you. If you do, your monkey brain is far too active.
When we live a life full of stress, paying bills, rushing from one appointment to the next, we never give our higher thinking a chance to flourish.
Learn to tune out from the noise, stop watching the news for a while, make sure you have some savings (to keep lizard brain happy) and reconnect with your higher thinking. This is when you will access what it is that makes you truly happy.
So many clients come to me and tell me that they are so busy, have the job, car, house and spouse yet still feel empty. I believe this is because they are functioning with their lizard and monkey brain. When they take time out from their routine, stop listening to what society dictates or what they believe is expected of them, they begin to see new possibilities. It works every time.
You need a lot less to survive than you think. You are safer and more supported than you realise. Adding a sense of calmness to life is important – get back to nature, detach from media stories, spend some time alone….all this will help you to be inspired.