How inspiration can help our daily life and work
There have been some interesting features in the media about the ways social media is shaping our lives. Let’s face it, their basic aim is to make us spend more: so the effect of all our screen time is to make us more self-centred, more anxious, more materialistic.
All this erodes our capacity to be creative, to feel we have some power to shape our own lives and the world around us for the better. In my life, there’s a spiritual aspect to my creative energy, but I rarely discuss this, because the s-word alarms many people. What I mean by spiritual is this:
- Meaning: our sense of meaning in our own life, and the world in general, is badly eroded by the power of fake news and social media. To find meaning, we have to use our intention and seek meaning at a higher, non-material level.
- Purpose: we’re constantly exposed to messages persuading us that our lives are pointless unless we buy Brand X. The best antidote is to find a higher purpose, one which inspires you and serves more than material needs.
- Connection: how have your ways of connecting changed in the past 10 years: probably more online, more information, but less connections with people, Nature, purpose and meaning? For me, a main part of spiritual life is feeling the connections between life of all kinds, a fellowship which I find very nourishing and meaningful.
People have turned to Nature as a way to find inspiration and connect with a bigger picture of life for centuries. A great place for this is Hazel Hill Wood: a magical, 70-acre woodland retreat centre, near Salisbury, which I have helped create. It has helped many people to relax, refresh and renew their creativity.
One of the many benefits of being at this wood is that it’s easy to connect here with the bigger picture: you can feel part of a community that includes not only people, but all the many forms of life that share this ecosystem. And if you’ve read the book, The Hidden Life of Trees, you’ll know that many people believe that trees themselves have wisdom and healing we can share in.
My spiritual path weaves many strands together, including Celtic, Christian, and Sufi. An approach called creation spirituality draws on many sources, including the original teachings of Jesus in Aramaic, the native language he spoke, and suggests that the creation of our universe is an ongoing story, in which our job description as humans is to find our creative part in this divine process. The books of Matthew Fox and Brian Swimme will tell you more.
Having worked with many people on creativity and resilience, a major issue which pulls them into despair and apathy is the state of our world, and the damage humanity is doing to our planet and each other. The spiritual wisdom of Thomas Berry can help with this: he believes that positive dreams, prayer, and feeling both our pain and our love for the Earth, can move us forward.
The ability to create visions of a positive future is itself getting squeezed in the current crisis, but it’s vital for our wellbeing and our capacity to grow and respond through tough times. For information on events I offer which may help, see www.naturalhappiness.net/.