By Daniel Burke
I wanted to write a list of inspiration but it ended as an in depth, one-way discussion. I thought about one banana, considered a bunch, but decided on an entire plantation. Let us hope you, the reader, can find something valuable to do with all these bananas.
I suppose, before we embark on an adventure around your very own banana plantation, it important to clarify that when one talks about seeking inspiration, what is truly sought is a sense of purpose within the world. It therefore, is much more accurate to speak in terms of fostering and perhaps seeking purpose, as oppose to speaking in terms of inspiration. Purpose within the world will naturally stimulate the mind, which is the definition of inspiration. To achieve purpose, one must become aware. It is my belief that an ability to appreciate and be aware leads to a more stable and purposeful existence. To achieve awareness there are life’s lenses.
When I say lens, I am describing the way in which your mind interprets or I suppose ‘sees’ the world. Like rose tinted glasses that lend a romantic viewpoint, life’s lenses allow you see the world in its complexity. Although lenses insinuate sight and the act of seeing, it is mental awareness that is important. A blind man could walk past a waterfall garnished in flowers, and the spilling and splashing of water, and experience more wonder then any sight blessed human. It is therefore my mission, to provide you with some lenses in which to ‘see’ life. With these lenses, you will find purpose and consequently inspiration.
I have two lenses to begin the adventure. I hope you enjoy.
1. Becoming aware – learning to appreciate the stillness and beauty of the now.
Appreciating and becoming aware of your surroundings is the first lens. Go to a park and give yourself an hour or two. Remove phones and distractions and take a look around. You need to be fully present and aware of the moment. Describe what you see. Draw, talk or write about it. Look at the way the sun catches the leaves. Look at the different tones of colour. Look at the way the wind rustles the leaves. Listen to that rustling. Look at the way everything is beautiful and, although so ‘common place’, so complex and brilliant. You will feel foolish at first, perhaps even bored or disconnected from the feeling I describe, but once or twice a week, practice. Soon, like an artist who can appreciate the complexities of art, while millions of Luddites stare questioningly at the painting pondering whether the artist is in preschool, or an adult, you will have begun to stimulate your mind. You will become aware of the never-ending beauty. ‘Ordinary’ objects will begin to have beautiful and unexpected meanings. I do not want you to meditate! That is a WHOLE different ball game. I want you to train your brain to be aware of the world around you and constantly stimulated by it. You will acquire a thirst, an inspired and purposeful want, to explore and understand everything around you. It is a thirst which can be enriched by company who can participate in the experience, but I think crucially, it is not reliant on it. This is as valuable duo as it is solo. This is the first of my lenses. With this lens every moment from the drive for milk and bread, to a walk through a rainforest, will become abundant and equally stimulating. We, myself included, are at times guilty of feeling uninspired, without purpose and lonely. How silly we are. Inspiration and indescribable complexity is everywhere. Learn to be aware of its presence in every waking breath.
2. Becoming accomplished – challenging yourself and becoming addicted to risk.
The motivation to challenge and develop oneself has sadly been unintentionally discouraged by society, and comfortable living is sort after. It is sad we seek comfort so early in life. As we ‘mature’ risk becomes less natural and tougher to find. Naturally, it can be quite challenging to create a life living in discomfort. Your mind resists it. It is through risk and subsequent failure that personal growth and discovery are achieved. You need to be aware that risk is absolutely necessary. Tell yourself every day that risk is necessary. Even more importantly, failures, and the heart wrenching feelings that follow risk, are absolutely necessary. Tell yourself every day that failure is necessary.
I want you to ask someone you care about on a date. I want you to kiss that person. I want you to share your thoughts in front of people. I want you to hop into an airplane, or into a car, for a solo adventure. I want you to express yourself to others. I want you open to a life of no guarantees. I want you addicted to risk.
It is important at this point to clarify, that there is a great difference between being fearless and being courageous. Being fearless is to attempt something new with which you have no fear. Although healthy, asking a random person at a bar on a date hardly compares to the risk involved in asking someone you care about. The former is fearless, the later courageous. Courage is to try regardless of fear or risk. Through courage you discover the inner workings of your mind and learn who you are. Courageous acts expose the user to true risk. They are what make you feel invincible, stimulating your mind, creating purpose, and therefore inspiration. If you approach life through this second lens, your life will become an addiction to the new and an addiction to a purposeful, constantly developing, stimulated and evolving mind. A mind like this can’t help but feel inspired.
These are the first of my lenses and this is where, for the moment, I will leave it. God knows, you can only handle so many bananas at once.