-SPIR… what lies behind it?

Expire, Perspire, Transpire, Aspire, Inspire…

These are all different words with different meanings, correct?

Not really. All five words really mean the same thing. Why? All of them etymologically have the same Latin base word -SPIR, that means “to breathe”. Look it up!

Imagine that. So to inspire is “to breathe into”. To expire is “to emit the last breath”, to aspire is “to breath upon”…you get the picture. From this base word we can automatically detect the meaning of any word in which we find the -SPIR base word.

Ex: think of the word “spirit”. Aha! That means spirit is “to breathe”, “a breathing”, or we can classify spirit as “a breath of life”. Think of Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” So the word “spirit” literally captures the concept of “breath of life” that is pictorially rendered in the scriptures.

Words are magical. Once you know one base word, you can desire a panoply of others. From the above, just think of respiration, conspiracy and the like.

But we can go one level deeper! Why? Because learning is so sweet! Now think of Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him”. If the creation of man in His own image embraced “breathing into his nostrils the breath of life”, and since we have designated aspire to mean “to breathe upon”, then it means an aspiration is the desire to “breathe upon”. Furthermore, since the “breathing upon” is how it stated the Lord created man, then it means the action of aspiration is literally the activity of “breathing upon” in order to create something in our image! You follow?

Every aspiration emulates the Divine Creative process of “breathing life” into something. For anytime we yearn to realize something, we are trying to infuse life and manifest something, seeking to “breathe upon” something in order to create it in our image! First we are aspire (breathe upon), then we are inspired (breathed into)…but in both cases the breath of life is flowing! With breath here meaning “energy”. That is why aspiration and hope is the lifeblood of existence, for without aspiration (a breathing upon), we literally “expire” i.e. “run out of breath”…literally and figuratively! So to summarize: we have to perspire and aspire to be inspired. Why? Otherwise we will expire. Aha…!

Words are delicious and exhilarating. Investigating their etymology, deeper concepts, and how they interconnect to create a broader meaning is a high that no drug can ever emulate.

~Ikenna Q Ezealah

About Ikenna Q Ezealah

Ikenna Q Ezealah is a writer, author and essayist whose themes embrace human-spiritual development.
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