We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. -Elizabeth Gilbert
Eudaemonia – the Aristotelian word for happiness. The Ancient Greeks believed that Eudaemonia was the optimum state for the individual, in other words, #goals.
Aristotle’s definition didn’t actually translate to happiness, though. A more accurate translation is “activity that is in accordance with virtue”: not the state of mind achieved by the right actions taken (happiness), rather it described the actions themselves. Notably, Aristotle, unlike the Stoics, also believed that certain external conditions assisted in a state of Eudaemonia – health, beauty, etc.
The literal translation of the word in fact means “to be well-spirited, to have a good genius”. In Ancient Greece, a human being could not BE a genius, rather, he or she would HAVE a genius. A Genius was a spirit that visited the human to assist with creativity (think of a Genie). So, when someone made something really incredible, a sculpture that transcended the real, it was the Genius that had assisted the mere mortal, allowing this divine achievement.
Look at the root of the word inspiration. It literally means the breath of god, as in Genesis:
Inspiration: “immediate influence of God or a god,” especially that under which the holy books were written, from Late Latin inspirare “blow into, breathe upon”. Inspire (v.) in Middle English also was used to mean “breath or put life or spirit into the human body; impart reason to a human soul.”
If you have ever been visited by a genius, you know the feeling of sudden clarity, the certain trajectory, the energetic propulsion, the feeling afterwards when you look at what you’ve made and can’t quite figure out how it worked to well, how it became something more than the sum of its parts. It’s a soul elevating, transcendent feeling, and all creative people are looking for it!
Writers block? Talk to your genius!
Suddenly had an interesting, tangential idea for a blog post, drawing, experiment, political article or recipe for dinner? You know the feeling! Instead of turning it down, write it down. That’s your genius showing up, and waiting for you to manifest. You don’t need to focus on outcomes for this to work, instead, focus on showing up for your relationship with the divine ideas and Daemons who show up for you.