Inspiration is used by Diamond to mean an idea or an act guided by a higher power [quote 4]. This usage is close to a standard definition of the term, “Divine guidance or influence exerted directly on a human mind or soul” (American Heritage Dictionary), but Diamond gives it an extra dimension by often combining it with another common definition, the inhalation part of the breath cycle, and by emphasizing its connection with the word “spirit” [quotes 2, 3].
In his later writings Diamond developed the idea of the Inspiration-Aspiration cycle (Aspiration* refers to the belief that life has a higher purpose and is a central concept in his work). It is loosely based on the idea of the breath cycle, with Inspiration equating with the inhalation of the breath and Aspiration with exhalation; and at a metaphorical level, with Inspiration being the taking in of “the Spirit,” chi (which, according to Chinese medicine, enters the body via the Lung Meridian with the inhalation); and Aspiration being the exiting of chi from the body and “reaching upwards to the Spirit World” from which it came [quotes 5, 6, 11]. Furthermore, just as one cannot breathe out without first breathing in, one cannot have Aspiration without prior Inspiration [quotes 5, 7].
As the concept developed, Diamond related it to topics central to his work, including higher forms of Creativity [quotes 8, 9], healing [quote 10], Life Energy Photography* [quote 11], and Guidance* from the Spirit World [quote 4].
Timeline: Late 1970s on for the general term [quote 1]; 2009 on for the Inspiration-Aspiration Cycle.
- (1979) “These highest thoughts tend to be what we would call ‘inspired thoughts.'” (Notes, 40)
- (1985) “Our English word spirit comes from the Latin spirare, to breathe. The Latin word spiritus means breath, breath of a god, inspiration, breath of life, the soul.” (Life Energy, 5)
- (1998) “Spirit is the breath of God, the Universal Force… When we breathe in, we inspire the Spirit…so that we become inspired.” [unpublished paper]
- (1998) “What we call inspiration…is really spirit guidance.” [unpublished paper]
- (2009) “We can only Aspire, reach upwards to the Spirit World, when we Know we are Inspired: that the Spirit has descended into us. / We Aspire to gratefully return the Inspiration.” (“Aspiration, Inspiration, and the Spirit”)
- (2009) “Inspiration is from God / to the Soul, / Aspiration is from the Soul / to God.” (“Creativity is God to God”)
- (2009) “You can’t have Aspiration without prior Inspiration: the Spirit descending into you to then ascend from you to Its Origin.” (“A New Approach to Singing”)
- (2009) “Every act of Creativity / is a breath cycle metaphor / of Inspiration and Aspiration.” (“A Breath Cycle Metaphor”)
- (2009) “An act of Creativity / is the Inspiration / returned to the Spirit World / as Aspiration.” (“An Act of Creativity”)
- (2009) “To be healed / is to be / ever-Aspiring. / And to Aspire / to first feel / Inspired. / The essence of healing: / Inspiration – Aspiration.” (“The Essence of Healing”)
- (2009) “All healing, whatever the particular modality employed, has two phases. First, Inspiration: the Spirit, chi, entering down into the healer. The passive phase as the subject is viewed. And the active phase: Aspiration. The Spirit returning to Whence as the shutter is pressed.” (“The Healer as Photographer”)
Diamond often capitalizes the term, especially in his later writings (Capitalization, Use of*).
- “A Breath Cycle Metaphor” (paper)
- “An Act of Creativity” (paper)
- “Aspirational Play” (paper)
- “A New Approach to Singing” (paper)
- “Aspiration, Inspiration, and the Spirit” (paper)
- “Creativity as Aspiration Through Meditation” (paper)
- “Creativity is…” (paper)
- “Creativity is Being Breathed by Amida” (paper)
- “Creativity is God to God” (paper)
- “Differing Degrees of Inspiration” (paper)
- “Every Listener Can Become a Healer” (paper)
- “Inspiration Then Aspiration” (paper)
- “The Essence of Healing” (paper)
- “The Healer as Photographer” (paper)
- “The Inspiration That Initiated It” (paper)
- “What is Creativity?” (paper)