Have you ever wondered what it is that you were born to do..?
What unique gift you have brought into this life that will make a difference in the world..?
How to be true to your life’s purpose..?
What is it to drag ourselves out of bed in the morning and face a day without enthusiasm, without energy, with a feeling of being trapped in a cycle with no way out?
If you have lived a couple of decades or more on this earth you have most probably experienced this part of being human at some time or another. Some of us have even considered this to be a ‘normal’ condition of life and there are those that simply accept this as their lot and never even attempt to look inward in an effort to find another way.
I believe that each one of us comes to this life with a long history of experiences and a unique set of skills that give every one of us the potential to fulfil our life purpose and share a valuable gift in the world. To be human is to have the innate longing to experience fulfillment, to reach that deep level of contentment where our life has meaning. The yearning to reach out to find and then fulfil our destiny is in all of us, it is in fact a responsibility I believe each of us carries into this world but one that very few of us ever fully realise. If we do actually come to realise this responsibility and begin to seek our destiny we have taken the first and most profound step into another way and in taking that step we cross a line that opens into an abyss behind us, one which we can never recross. From that point on, we can never be satisfied with a life without fulfillment.
So once we have woken to this part of ourselves and unleashed the genie, how do we find our path?
A quote from the Chinese classics points the way. “He who comprehends the greater destiny becomes himself a part of it. He who comprehends the lesser destiny resigns himself to the inevitable”.
The Dao De Jing and the Zhuangzi are the earliest documents associated with the Dao or Tao, ancient Chinese philosophy. Zhuangzi lived in the 4th century BCE and wrote the text of the same name.
In this quote we have an ancient guide to finding our true path. “He who comprehends the greater destiny” is our first signpost. So what is the greater destiny and how do we comprehend it?
By opening ourselves to the inner yearning to fulfil our destiny we have looked within, now, to find our path we are asked to turn our eyes and open our hearts outward. Outward to something more than ourselves, beyond the place where our skin stops and the rest of creation continues. As we look outward into the bigger picture we change our perspective and in that shift we become bigger. We experience ourselves as part of the whole rather than an individual here, world out there, and in doing so we “comprehend the greater destiny”.
This shift can be contextualized in many ways, it could be seen as gaining a spiritual perspective or of moving beyond the control of ego. However we come to understand this reorientation, we begin to comprehend our role in this sea of humanity. We begin to ‘feel’ a part of something rather that apart from ‘the world out there’.
This reorientation opens us to possibilities. No longer experiencing ourselves in the ‘small self’ mentality, we become open to all possibilities, no boundaries, no limitations, it’s big picture awareness. This awareness gives us a sense of our place in the wider picture – a sense of where we belong.
When we have a sense of belonging, our uniqueness –not individuality – begins to rise to the surface. Now the need to live an authentic life, rather than what others expect or want becomes our driving force, and here it is time once again to look within. As we acknowledge our uniqueness we are asked to seek what it is we have to offer. Our offering is connected to our sense of worthiness and with it is linked a whole raft of positive attributes, from self confidence and courage to attractiveness and sincerity.
Our offering is our path, it is what gives us our inspiration and fills us with the energy to shine in the world.
To find our offering we need to become aware of our feelings, to come to a place of inner knowing where the feeling of a full heart is associated with what we are doing on the world. This is where we need to become specific, to identify what fills us and what depletes us. To refine what exactly is our truth, is a journey of developing self awareness and although it is a journey without end, when we are on our true path it is one that fills us with the energy to continue.
To go through life “resigned to the inevitable” is to walk in the shadow world of the sleeping. When we awaken and begin to walk consciously, when we experience ourselves in a bigger context, we cannot avoid the awareness that we have something unique to contribute. Finding that gift now becomes our responsibility. This truth is not our destination; rather it is one of the many treasures that we find along the way, a signpost if you like, of our progress along the path.
When we have found our true path it is marked by an absence of doubt, a calm feeling settles deep in our being that we have come home and that all is as it should be. Of course, the journey continues but now we wake in the morning with an enthusiasm for the day and lay our head down at night with a deep sense of contentment.
The journey of developing self awareness is the underlying way in which we come to discover our truth. It is not something that we can contrive, there is no 10 step plan nor is there a wise being who can magically tap our shoulder, it is up to each one of us to walk our own path and learn our own lessons. However, as our self awareness grows we do come to a place of knowing, it is as natural as a tree growing towards the light when we take on the task of discovery.
To develop awareness it is a great advantage to consciously engage a practice and there are many systems that have been developed down through the ages to facilitate this. These ‘systems’ have many names – meditation, chi gong, tai chi, aikido, yoga and on and on – the list is long indeed, but they all have in common the one objective of developing our level of awareness, both of the inner and outer landscape. It is not for me here to recommend one system over another, what is important is that once decided upon, we continue to go deep into that practice. If we dig in a dry river bed to find water the first thing to do is decide where to dig, once decided, if we are to find water, we need to dig one deep hole rather than ten shallow ones.
If we practice diligently, somewhere along the journey we will most certainly reach a point where we discover the treasure of our own truth. A level of self awareness will be reached where we know without doubt our place in the order of things.