Breath is the Root of Inspiration

Breath is the Root of Inspiration

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Among all the metabolic and visceral processes in the human body - such as digestion and circulation - breathing is unique in that it can function voluntarily or involuntarily. It can be regulated autonomically by the medulla in the base of the brain or controlled consciously in the higher cortex.

This dual-network for respiration is a unique gift of our biology and may be at the root of inspiration when breathing involves the intention to be conscious. Both "respiration" and "inspiration" share the same Latin etymology and contain the core word "spiritus" which means breath.

Deep, conscious breathing is central to many forms of meditation and has been shown to slow down brain waves. It is precisely in the relaxed state of mind that the probability for insight increases according to scientific studies.

Many artists are familiar with chasing the muse and the pursuit of intense feeling. It is quite common that creativity begins with emotion, but it may be limiting to believe it requires it. That notion is probably reinforced by the wisdom of the reverse - emotion can require creativity in order to be processed and released in a healthy manner.

Thus, this episode explores the deeper meaning of inspiration and how all people can be more creative by turning attention inward.

Melodies emerge on a piano not by adding more keys but by highlighting novel patterns that always existed. Poetry springs forth not from new words but by connecting the known words into ever-present constellations of meaning.

Similarly, meditation and calmness of mind enhances the brain through neuroplasticity. This allows the tripartite of inspiration (evocation, transcendence and actualization) to reveal and open once-obscure neural pathways in order to live more creative and fulfilling lives.

(music “Mysterious Ways” by Bing Satellites and episode artwork on website by Emily Dawn)

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