Tuesday, 1 April 2014

What is inspiration?

What is inspiration?

INSPIRATION is that faculty whereby a superior intellect acting upon an inferior excites it to its largest capacity of performance in a given direction; also, it is a faculty communicating ideas unknown to the intellect acted upon. Inspiration presupposes a superior knowledge both of facts and of deductive reasoning, and arouses a latent power of inductive reasoning in the receiving intellect, which causes that intellect to have ability to apprehend with his own individual powers the ideas conveyed.

It does not make a mere automatic machine of the individual receiving, because it requires in its action that the individual shall first apprehend before conveying through media of his own the ideas received.

Thus it is evident that it is a dual operation of intelligence, embracing both the conveyed idea from a superior and the native capacity of the inspired individual. And you will perceive the force and strength of the idea which the inspired writer or speaker conveys to other minds through his own will depend upon his own power (native or acquired) of being able to give expression to the workings of his own mind. Inspiration is truth; it is an exact reproduction of the idea received as nearly as the individual's power of conveyance will allow. The moment it ceases, in that sense, to be truth it ceases to be inspiration.

The superior influence exciting the mind to its best activity will prevent that mind from conveying a false idea,—or, to express it better, it is impossible that the mind, passively lending its powers to the influence of intellectual impressions without its own natural realm of thought, should produce that which would be false to those impressions. The moment it should try to do that it must begin to exercise its own natural functions of will in opposition to that of the controlling influence, and then inspiration ceases—it is then merely the workings of the individual mind, and nothing beyond the previous knowledge and capacity of that mind is received. Yet in so subtle and easily interchangeable an action of mental powers as this, it is almost impossible that something of the receiver's own individuality of thought should not creep in; and it is always certain that the native individuality of expression will be used. For instance: if the inspired writer be of a poetical, enthusiastic temperament, the language used and illustrative comparisons will partake of that character; if his mind be slow, sluggish, dogmatical, a more dictative, cold, unyielding round of sentences will be employed; if his nature be essentially loving and gentle the same ideas conveyed through his intellect will be distinguished by their tenderness and sweetness of persuasion to win other minds to the ideas presented. To illustrate: if you look at a bit of landscape through a blue glass, a yellow glass or a red glass, you see each time the same form of objects but their colour appears toned by the hue of the glass through which you look.

Resume: Inspiration gives new ideas to the receiving mind; and it excites.

Now when it merely excites the mind to convey the desired idea by way of its own acquired knowledge or memory of certain things, it has merely to hold the idea before the working mind to arouse its dormant faculties of knowledge and memory, and to hold the mind steadily to its own work of production; but when new and quite foreign ideas to its own knowledge are presented it must first quicken the powers of the receiving mind to an apprehension of the idea desired to be conveyed, and sometimes this is impossible, because the development of the intuitional faculties is insufficient to receive the picture presented. I say picture, and I mean picture. Every thought in the human mind is like a picture. It is an assemblage of impressions which convey to the understanding what is really a picture perceptible to the spirit. (To the spiritual eye that can see the soul it is very easy to tell what that soul contains, for all past knowledge and thoughts are imprinted upon it as clearly as are pictures upon the pages of a book of illustrations. It is when an individual spirit looks into his own mind and discovers a picture long overlooked, though preserved there, that you say, in worldly parlance, he remembers something which he had forgotten)! In conveying a new idea it is only necessary to reveal a picture from the impressions living in the inspirer's mind to the receiver's spiritual perceptions, then excite the intelligence of the receiver to go to work and reproduce that picture in his own mind. But suppose his working mind lacks some spiritual qualities necessary to reproduce certain lights and shades of the picture presented! Ah, there you have it! In that case he cannot comprehend—seeing he sees not; the mind of itself, then, cannot reproduce the picture; nor can any outside influence stir up or arouse dormant faculties of his mind, which do not exist, to reproduce the picture, and the impression fails to be conveyed, unless the inspirer is able to supply from his own stores certain spiritual qualities which shall give the receiver the necessary strength to apprehend the idea. This may be done, and to an extent always is done. This is how an inspirational writer, or speaker, will often employ words and phrases of which he is ignorant of the meaning. True, they may be words or phrases quite current in the world, yet he himself may be entirely ignorant of them, because it is always as far as possible desirable to employ the words and expressions of thought common to the age in which the inspiration is given to express the idea, because most understandable to that age. (If the inspirer should happen to be a spirit who did not understand the peculiar language native to the individual he would in this case be obliged to employ help from some other spirit able to convey his idea who did. This would be more automatic, and more shades of thought would be apt to be lost). But to supply spiritual elements of perception wanting in the individual implies expenditures impossible to express to merely human understanding, and it is never done where anything else will answer.

If the truth can be conveyed by the natural powers of the individual inspired he is excited and sustained to convey it through his own effort and powers; and it is no less the truth than when new qualities of apprehension are supplied him. In either case his own effort of conveyance of received ideas, or the new spiritual elements supplied his mind, are of inconceivable value to the individual, because either excites and supplies in him a spiritual growth that can scarcely be promoted as rapidly through any other means.

It is one of the spiritual gifts coming most directly from the universal good spirit of God, because it is a reflection, from grade to grade, of intelligence, from the omnipotent power and knowledge of God himself.

Without inspiration and other revelations or influxes of spiritual nourishment there could be no progression toward divinity.

We, in our realm of spirit life, receive inspiration from superior intelligence, in higher spirit existences, just as earthly ones receive inspiration from higher intelligences, only, of course, it comes more perfectly and fully to us, according to our superior spiritual development. (Mind! I do not say according to our mental development. Yet great mentality will admit of a larger degree of spirituality than will small mentality. While much mentality does not necessarily contain much spirituality, much spirituality compels a growth of mentality in proportion to itself).

What we receive we reproduce to others and from others, and by various means from class to class as new thoughts and ideas and inspirations are spread to all men gradually upon earth, from any source from whence they come.

But no soul can be inspired in any way whose spirit is not in love and harmony with the God-spirit of the universe. To be without the possibility of inspiration of any kind is to be dead to spiritual life—impenetrable to the light of absolute truth.

Inspiration is truth. It springs from the absolute fount of what is.

There can be no inspiration of evil, though men do speak of being inspired of the devil. A man may be influenced to evil—he can only be inspired to good. He also may be influenced to good. All may receive inspiration to a greater or less degree, and always to a growing degree, who, with earnest desire, seek to develop in the knowledge and love of goodness and truth.

It is not a gift reserved for the few, but falls free as the refulgent rays of the morning sun to quicken the spirit of life in every organised soul whose unlimited destiny is life everlasting.

Spirit Author Unknown — LEAFLETS OF TRUTH; OR, Light From the Shadow Land, M. KARL, CHICAGO: 1886