Sunday, January 14, 2018

Finding Your Path, Finding Your Purpose

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness




You’re in a predicament.

Since Day 1, the world has been telling you what to do and how to do it, and what not to do and how not to do it.

You realize this is deeply unsatisfying, but, If I don't do that, then

What do I do???

First Thing’s First

Relax.

You don’t always have to do. Sometimes it’s better to spend some time to be, because simple being is the place from which what you could/should/need to do springs.

Then consider…

What Are You Passionate About? What Do You Have a Talent For?

There’s a good chance you already know the answer to these questions. You may have pushed your passion/talent away for 10 or 40 years, but I suspect many of you already know. It’s likely you’ve had a brief, or maybe not so brief, run-in with it.

Maybe you’d played violin for 6 months and loved it, but then your mom got angry at you and threw your violin out the window. Or maybe you were getting into gardening and had just bought a few flowers, only to take them home and be told by your father, “Flowers are for pussies, pussy.” Or maybe you were into [insert your passion here], but The System ground you down and reprogrammed you into a cubical-inhabiting robot. In all cases, you'd given up.

Whatever lit you up in the past, do it again.

Or maybe your past experience wasn’t so traumatic and you’ve been doing your thing all along but just haven’t taken it to the next level. Why not take it to the next level?

Some of you may contend that, “I can’t make a living out of it.” By all means, be practical where appropriate, but don’t allow yourself to get caught up in mind-traps that cannot be proven and may well be false.

We’ve been taught that it’s dangerously unwise to go out on a limb and do something that we cannot forecast the outcome of at least five years in advance. (Oddly enough, the weatherman is still well-paid, and he can hardly forecast into the next fucking day!) Yet living with passion often requires us to let go and trust that life will provide what we need when we need it.

If you truly can’t make a living out of your talent, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother with it. If it’s what lifts your spirit, you’ll lead a far more fulfilling life by playing guitar or connecting with lonely people at a homeless shelter for only a few hours per week than if you do nothing at all.

“Uhhhh…”

If you don’t feel compelled to a certain past activity, my advice is: Try stuff. You’ll naturally go toward something of interest.

Be conscious of what you feel before getting into an activity, when you actually do it, and then after any number of instances with it. Self-inquire and pay attention because feelings are not always as they seem.

In example, if you feel fear about trying something:
  1. maybe it’s actually excitement bubbling to get out,
  2. maybe it’s a fear that your parents will condemn you for doing something they perceive “unsafe” or “idiotic,” and/or
  3. maybe you’re simply at the edge of your comfort zone.
Alternately, you may feel interested in a thing but then experience a drop in energy. Again, inquire. On one hand, you could believe you’re incapable and unworthy, and so your body is expressing this mentality. On the other hand, you might be interested because, say, your father had once told you, “This is what real men do,” and you’re still trying to prove to both him and yourself that you’re a “real man.” Your energy tanks simply because the activity isn’t true to you.

What Catches Your Attention?

Another way to utilize self-inquiry is to see what piques your interest in what you’re already doing in everyday life, even if it’s sort of lame.

For example, you might ask yourself what catches your interest when you watch TV. It’s easy to be drawn in by the glamor which is rarely if ever realistic, but you may also feel drawn for a better reason.

Maybe you’re compelled by a really good show because you have the potential to be an actor. Contrarily, maybe you’re already an “actor” in the sense that you’re a “chameleon”; meaning that, out of fear of disapproval, you become who everyone else wants you to be and change per situation and peer group. Real actors pique your interest because they reflect your (false) ability to “color shift.” If you could see this about yourself and heal it, your new-found integrity would probably provide for you a much better sense as to what you’re best suited to do.

Alternately, maybe what compels you to the same TV show is the fact that it takes place in a beautiful wooded area, and the interest is actually your soul drawing you to become an outdoorsman.

Develop Your Self-Awareness

A key in knowing what to do with yourself is resolving inner issues because these are what block self-awareness, possibility, and potential.

Self-awareness is about knowing what you’ve come here to do or is at least within your soul's interest in doing. If you are living unconsciously, you may have, say, an interest in and even a strong knack for accounting. While there’s nothing wrong with this, for all you know, maybe you’ve unconsciously taken to accounting because
  1. your parents are both accountants and you’re still seeking to fulfill your inner-child’s need for your parents’ unconditional love and approval, and thus
  2. your soul is using accounting as an external mirror to reflect your inner need to account for your own life.
As long as your awareness is thoroughly focused on what you believe you’re here for, you’ll likely never see better paths. If you do, you’ll justify why you cannot take them and continue plodding along on the “tried-and-false.”

That said, expanded possibility and potential are the obvious outcome to self-awareness. We are as limited without as we are limited within.

Objection: “But I Can’t Just Leave My Job—I Need the Money!”

You have to do what you have to do. You may have to work as a part-time waitress or a full-time cubical-dweller, or maybe with a savings of $80,000 or $1,000 you just need to get out—now. I really can’t say what is appropriate for anyone at any given time. But it is very possible that to get moving on a passion you will have to walk out of something(s) you’ve been dependent on/attached to.

As much as possible, get your mind off money and possessions and all that oft-extraneous stuff. Also as much as possible, get your mind off the how’s and when’s and what-if’s and 5-year forecasts. When you drop out of the mindset of this is what I have to do and how I have to do it because this is what my family, religion, government, and pet sitter want of me, and you get on working to fulfill your soul reason for being here—your passion, your talent, your dream—life will provide you with what you need (resources, knowledge, connections, etc.) as you advance along the path.

When you’re dedicated to your purpose, ask Life for what you need or think you need (writing it out with specifics works well) and be grateful, like you already have it. Then be patient, but be mindful as to whether what you’ve requested may be on its way or maybe you’re asking incorrectly or for the wrong thing—in either case, life will give you signs if you ask.

And meaning this in the least egoically-identifying way possible, be spiritual about your endeavor. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all else will be added unto you.”

Objection: “But I’ve Only Got an Idea. I Need More Than That.”

Take care of what needs to be taken care of, and there’s no reason to worry about future creativity or inspiration. If you’re taking a path that’s true to you, you will be inspired as you go. If you have a few ideas to get you going and are confident enough to take the leap, then get on it. Be aware that there will at times be hardship, which isn’t necessarily bad since it helps us grow, but struggle is a sign of unresolved internal blockages.

When I look back on many of my previous blog posts, I get a weird sense like, Wow. That’s amazingly inspired writing. Who did that? As arrogantly sarcastic as this may sound, arrogant sarcasm is absolutely not how I’m feeling. Instead, it’s about inspiration being so in-the-moment.

The way it is for me at least, if everything I’ve published suddenly disappeared and someone asked me to rewrite any of it, I simply couldn’t do it. I'd sit there slack-jawed, with drool running down into my keyboard. When ideas come, I work with them immediately and publish, or I write them down and let them simmer for a month or a year first. In either case, I write when I write—when it’s too early, I can’t, and when it’s viewed in hindsight, I feel like it was someone else who must have done it.

The way it works with inspiration is the way it’s going to work with everything else: You get what you need more or less in-the-moment. But it’s okay, because as long as you continue giving, Life will continue giving back. Then, you build as you go even though you’re usually not certain what tools life will present next.

Stumbling Onto Your Path

For some of you, as much as you may or may not seek your purpose, make objections, or seek to develop a talent, you may end up stumbling onto your path.

To illustrate what I mean, I’m going to use my own experience. While no one’s life will work out exactly like mine, I think there are bits and pieces that others will find useful…

I was livin’ the dream. I got an Associate’s degree in mechanical engineering technology, I failed out of my third year of college, and then I got an 8-5 job that made me miserable enough to get another 8-5 job that made me even more miserable. Although I had a talent for the work, there was a lot to be desired otherwise.

Purpose #1
A year into my second job I experienced a spiritual awakening, and about a year later I had a strong intuitive urge to leave. I had two ideas as to what I’d do and a few years’ worth of savings. However, I had no concrete plan, and I didn’t know what I’d do if I ran out of money.

Upon leaving work, I gave both my ideas a try—and for a variety of reasons neither worked out. While one of the ideas is irrelevant here, the other idea was to write a book. This was, up to that point, a mildly ridiculous idea since I’d never really written before (aside for some horribly depressing poems I’d written in my teens) and had struggled to complete writing assignments in school.

Nonetheless, I’d felt very strongly to do it, and did, in fact, sit down and write 250+ pages over the next few months. It seems to me as though the awakening had woken up a latent, alternate-life talent. I wasn’t immediately perfect at writing as I am now—joke!—but it’s been more of a “polishing up” than a “starting from ‘Go’.”

Purpose #2
The two ideas had flopped, and I knew I couldn’t go back. Uhhhhhh… Now what? I’d basically then spent my days working on a now-nonexistent blog and doing copious amounts of research to better understand what in the world this “awakening” thing was all about. At some point I ran out of money, and my family was kind enough to help support me with basic needs.

Then I had a kundalini awakening, my perceptual experience became amazing for a short bit, and soon after I had an atomic crash-landing into a dark night of the soul. I became outstandingly sick, and would spend the next 5 years working through an abundance of severe physical symptoms and their metaphysical causes. I’m now at the very end of the dark night.

Phenomenally difficult as this nightmare-in-hell process has been, among other super beneficial things, it has been revealing to me how I’d spent my life undereating and eating poorly and how to correct these imbalances.

I began playing drums in high school. I had a poor technical foundation, played very tensely, wanted to play beyond my abilities, and I struggled madly. Within a year I’d overused my muscles and joints from forearm to hand and couldn’t even shake someone’s hand without sharp pain. I did try to play again in the several years to follow, but not much had changed beyond less pain. After eight years I gave up, sold my set, and assumed drumming was over.

Nine years now after losing all but a shred of hope that I’d play again, I’m eating enough and eating healthier. The positive and rapid changes I’ve seen in my body and my joints are nothing short of outstanding. I’ve been using a drum pad now for about a year, and I’m playing very relaxed, with a much stronger rudimental foundation, more flexibility and creativity, and so on than ever before. I'm not back to optimal health yet and still have an occasional hiccup, but usually I can easily play for an hour or three at a time without any trouble.

Never could I have imagined it would work out this way. But it has. Now I have two talents that I’m passionate about and currently intend to take as far as I can.

Interestingly, when my sickness was at its worst I’d done a great deal of research into diet, health, physiology, disease, etc. One thing I’d noticed is that many of the people who have found their life path in these fields are actually only there because they’d become severely ill themselves. Conventional medicine didn’t serve their needs adequately, and so they’ve healed themselves by, or at least with, alternate means and are now helping countless people to improve their own health using what they’d learned.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that if you can’t seem to find your purpose in life, your best bet might be to get really sick. (Joke!)

Be that what it may, stumbling onto one’s path is not for everyone…

Multiple Paths. Agonizing Indecision.

Whether you’re avoiding having any specific path or if you have multiple paths before you, it’s important to realize that sometimes we just have to make a decision because life is not going to do it for us.

A friend of mine, Julia, from Well ~ Whole ~ Empowered, told me about how she had two very different potentials in life, both of which she’d felt she would feel fulfilled in doing, but didn’t know which to take. She’d expressed to me how the uncertainty was “agonizing.”

Here is a portion of her own blog post, “How do I find my purpose in life?” This passage is the 5th of 5 traps she mentions associated with an avoidance to make decisions.
Waiting for a sign from the Universe while being stuck where you are. You'll be waiting forever! Why? Because the Universe is waiting for you to make that decision!

I am no stranger to this trap. There was a time when I was torn between two possible paths to take in life. I had quit my first career as an engineer and was considering two completely different new directions, where I would be starting pretty much from scratch. It was a scary choice: I couldn't predict how things would work out in either case; there were pros and cons to each of the two; I had talents in both. I was stuck, hoping and waiting for a sign from the Universe to tell me which way to go (while dabbling in both).

One day I received an intuitive reading, and was told that my main challenge in this life was actually to choose a path without being given much external guidance. Apparently, the soul had set up a test for itself around a certain level of learning, and I had to use everything I'd learned so far to make that decision on my own. Nothing was going to move until I made that choice, but once the choice was made, the Universe would be able to start helping me on that path.

Now, this is not everyone's life challenge, however I think this does apply to everyone to some degree. We all have the gift of Free Will and we are here for the purpose of self-expression, so why would the Universe decide for you what path to take? Wouldn't it be very limiting if everything was decided for us beforehand?
After finishing here, I recommend checking out the whole of Julia’s “purpose” post: she takes hers in a very different direction than mine and provides a lot of quality information.

Whatever the Case May Be…

Whatever your life situation, I think the point Julia makes of the need to give an answer to life as to what we want rather than waiting for life to give an answer to us is a critical one.

In general, we’ve become a people fearful of decisions, fearful of stepping outside the box, fearful of aligning with our true nature and commanding what we really want. Our lives have thus lost meaning as we unconsciously amble about trying to live for everyone else while afraid to live for ourselves.

And look how unhappy we are. Look how bland and robotic our lives have become.

If we want life to get better, if we want to realize our path and live with passion and purpose, we would do well to take some motivation from Billy (Adam Sandler) in the film Billy Madison after Miss Lippy finishes the story about “Happy” the dog:
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, Miss Lippy! The part in the story I don't like is, that the little boy gave up looking for Happy after an hour. He didn't put posters up or anything, he just sat on the porch like a goon and waited. That little boy's gotta think: You got a pet. You got a responsibility. If your dog is lost, you don't look for an hour then call it quits; you get your ass out there and you find that fucking dog!

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