It is possible, according to the sages, that inspiration always comes from outside of what we think of as our “Selves.” Many of the stories of our spiritual traditions suggest that our teachers are alone when the voice of inspiration is heard. Jesus heard the voice of God in the desert. Inspiration is present in the appearance of the angel to Elijah, the voice of Allah to Muhammad, the rapture of the voice that spoke to Rumi or the revelation heard by Siddhartha.
Inspiration also seems present in more modern and secular notions of Maslow’s “peak experience,” Csikszentmihalyi’s “flow,” or Jung’s “synchronicity.”
Do we have to be alone to hear this voice?
In this short interview excerpt, Brother David Steindl-Rast suggests that being fully aware of the present moment, (rather than being pre-occupied with the past or future,) creates a window through which the voice of inspiration can fly directly to us.