Legend has it that Robert the Bruce of Scotland was losing the battle and he barely escaped with his life. His soldiers were hard pressed to keep up the fight as many were wounded and dying. The Bruce, tired, dismayed and broken-hearted found a hidden cave where he took refuge.
He threw down his sword and sat to rest a while. Gloomy thoughts filled his mind and he reflected on the insurmountability of the task he had tried to accomplish. Perhaps Scotland would never be free -- at least not in his lifetime. Perhaps he should abandon all efforts, give it up and lead an obscure life as a fugitive.
As these thoughts raced through his mind, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a tiny spider trying to climb a strand of web that extended from the top of the cave almost to the floor. Up went the spider and just a few feet from the top, it slipped and fell all the way down.
Over and over again the spider repeated the process as the exhausted Bruce watched, fascinated by the perseverance of the little life form. Once again the spider climbed, this time almost reaching the top. Again it slipped and fell to the floor of the cave. Now with rapt attention, Robert the Bruce watched to see its next move. A few more tries and finally, with one quick dash, the spider reached the ceiling. The Bruce slowly got up, picked up his sword, cleared the depressing thoughts from his mind and went back into the battle, inspired by the strength, will and perseverance of such a tiny creature as a spider. The rest is history. The battle was won and the Bruce was, once more, the triumphant, gallant leader of his people.
There are times when everything in life seems dark and dreary. There are those times when we feel we are totally unable to take the next step or to even move one inch. These are precisely the times when we most need inspiration.
Why inspiration? It helps recharge our energy when all seems hopeless. It gives us encouragement when our "spiritual well has gone dry".
The dictionary gives different meanings to the word, "inspiration". But I think "inspiration" actually means divine messages from the Universe. There are many sources of inspiration and I want to list a few of them below.
1) Nature -- In the middle of the worst crisis, we could take a few minutes to clear our minds and look up to the sky or the stars. A little walk in the park or in the woods will do wonders for the body, mind and spirit. Breathe in the fresh air, watch the ripples on a pond or river, get inspired by the sheer magnificence of Nature.
2) Music -- Listen to some music you really like. The sound will take your mind to another place and you'll find that miracles can occur.
3) Books and tapes -- Spend a little time absorbed in a good book. And I don't mean just self-help or spiritual books. It could be any book that engages your mind and thoughts. For example, when things seem really gloomy to me, I'd read one of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan tales. For me, that works. For you, it might mean a totally different type of book.
And audio tapes, CD's, video tapes and DVD's have been a wonderful gift from technology. Just the other day I watched the movie, Richard Bach's "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" on my video player. Shortly thereafter, I watched the western movie, "They Call Me Trinity" on my DVD player. Talk about being recharged! I was able to face the seeming impossible and come out smiling.
4) Friends -- We are fortunate if we have a few good friends. Somebody once asked me if I told my friends about something I was very involved with. I smiled and answered, "Yes, I told them all -- both of them." Real friends are few and far between, but they can be a tremendous help to you by just being there and listening.
There are other sources of inspiration and I am sure you can come up with your own list that works for you. For example, take a long drive, go fishing, bake some cookies, paint a picture or make some pottery. The point is simple. Use all the sources of inspiration available to get you through your tough times -- to help you, not only to overcome but to prosper. Remember, the Universe is on your side. Just give it a chance to show its magnificence in your life. Happiness should always be our most important goal. All else is secondary. Lift up your eyes and look beyond your troubles. Perhaps you'll see a whole new, beautiful day dawning for you. It's there. Go for it.