Finding Purpose

If you regularly read my blog, you will notice this post is slightly different from how I usually write. However, I hope you will find it enlightening. As with all my posts in recent times, they point you toward your true nature and awaken you to the conditioned-self, if you only begin to do a little self-inquiry.

Over the years, I have heard many clients say they need to find their purpose or wonder what their purpose is in life. Many of us will ask this question eventually during our lifetime. Most of us have had a clear purpose at some point, maybe even experiencing more than one as life progressed for us. In other words, our sense of purpose may have changed from time to time. Some people feel they cannot find their purpose. And others who never thought about it much or felt they needed one.

I could say a lot about purpose, as you can probably tell from the paragraph above. Or I could say our purpose is about survival and leave it at that. For this post, I will not expand on all that could be said, but ask that you contemplate the following questions.

  • Does the idea that you must have a purpose feel like an instinct, intuition, or does society condition us to believe that we must have a purpose?
  • Could the desire for a purpose or the search for one hinder your enjoyment of life?
  • Could the idea that you should have a purpose cause problems with your state of being?
  • Do you need a purpose to live life fully?

I hope that you took some time to ponder these questions rather than skimming them. Because if we do not delve deeper into who we are and what we believe, we will remain trapped by our thoughts and conditioning. Notice that our intellect and knowledge can become a problem because we can think we already have all the answers.

Here are a few thoughts and observations on the questions. Again, take your time and contemplate what I put forth here. Do not just identify with it or throw it away without spending some time questioning it. Do not let your mind and conditioning give you the answer. Experience it for yourself from a new place; verify it for yourself, do not just agree with your first thoughts.

  1. When our purpose comes from intuition, it is heartfelt, and passion arises; it comes from deep within our soul, we have a sense of knowing that we must follow through even though there may be some resistance or obstacles in the way. There is no question. We must move forward.
  • When we feel a need to find purpose, it is often coming from the conditioned-self. We will face struggle, experience worry and anxiety because we think that if we do not have a purpose, our lives will have no meaning, that we are not contributing. These thoughts are not based in fact, and this kind of thinking causes problems for us. Not having a purpose will never cause you to suffer; only your thinking about not having one will.
  • An intense desire to have or find a purpose can be very distracting from living life fully. Purpose can show up at any moment once we are free to receive what life is offering. Living life freely and with joy can be our purpose. It can be a positive force and potent energy for everyone you encounter, do not overlook this fact. Do not think that just because your mind tells you that you do not have a purpose that you are already not living it. So, live your life as if you already had a purpose.

Let me clearly say that if you are struggling with finding your purpose in life, I encourage you to let that struggle go. Your struggle could be keeping you from seeing your purpose. How would you feel if you never found a purpose? Would you go through life sulking every day, or would you step up and live life to the fullest? If you feel that you would be depressed, disappointed, or some other unfulfilling feeling, then is this desire for purpose in your highest good? Is this how you want to live your life? The choice is yours, so I leave it for you. Just remember, if you are alone and miserable, you are in bad company, and it is now time to look for better companionship. And the only way to that is to change the thoughts that led you to be in this lousy company in the first place.

Begin Listening to the Cry of Your Soul

We are, by essence, adaptive and evolving beings, and when we resist this call of life, we suffer. If we do not adapt, evolve, and wake up, we perish, a lesson we still have not learned from nature. The earth has and will continue to survive long after we are gone because we ignore this truth out of arrogance and greed.

When human beings and human rights come second to the desires of the ego, we all lose. We need to begin to question our thoughts and the choices we are making. We must wake up to the conditioning we have carried for generations; something many perceive does not exist because of this very conditioning. Otherwise, we will continue to make the same errors of our ancestors. We must make morally enlightened decisions and start to live from a place of higher wisdom. Otherwise, we can expect things to continue progress in a direction that makes us even more uncomfortable than we are now.

The soul is always crying out for us to live from our highest wisdom; we ignore this call by identifying with our thoughts and not questioning them. Pain and suffering offer us the opportunity to begin listening to this call. They always point toward the light if we open the door to see it. When we keep the door closed through our denial and resistance, it becomes impossible to see this light. Therefore, allow your pain and suffering to crack the door open because even the tiniest of light can change everything. The choice lies before you, will pick it up or follow the thought that says, I know I am right; it is the other person who needs to question their thoughts, not me.

Be Out of Your Mind

When you hear the phrase, you are out of your mind; it means that you do not deal with things properly or behave normally. It could also mean that you are stupid or even mentally ill.

However, there is a way to be out of your mind, that is a good thing, let me explain. We often become victims of the mind and the thoughts that originate from it every day. The thoughts I am talking about are not consciously brought forth, but arise completely unsolicited. When you identify with them, they impact your choices, actions, and yes, even your feelings, this can all happen without your awareness.

Once you become aware of these thoughts, you can regain command over your choices and actions, including how you experience your feelings. Especially those feelings that are not based on truth but that are stirred up by these kinds of thoughts. You will notice that these thoughts are usually not for our highest good. You do not need to fall prey to these kinds of unhelpful and hurtful thoughts, but that will only happen when you wake up to them.

We have thousands of thoughts per day. How many do you remember? Do you consciously decide to act upon every one of them or just some? Do you ever act on ones that you are not aware of; I can assure you that you do.

How many times have you chosen to eat something bad for you or overeaten and then regretted it? Was the initial thought to do this a conscious decision, or did an unsolicited thought appear, I want that now. You then identified with it and acted upon it, all without consciously thinking it through to the logical conclusion that it will be bad for you if you do it.

What I just said is very important. Please verify this by paying attention to your thoughts throughout the day. Do not just confirm an existing belief without verification or create a new one that is not based on having a direct experience; you must verify what I am saying is true. Otherwise, what you think is right might not be true at all.

When we are out of our minds in this way, then the usual meaning of being out of your mind is not how other people see you. They will feel or notice that you are different. They will resonate with the peace that you are vibrating because it is an expression of your authentic self, your real nature, and their true nature as well. You will stop listening to your unsolicited thoughts, they will become unimportant rather than all-powerful, and you will be able to respond appropriately in situations and not react inappropriately.

Once you stop identifying with these thoughts, you reconnect with your heart as you drop down from your mind or headspace. Your mind will immediately connect with what I said, to the physical heart in your chest; however, I am talking about connecting to consciousness, the heart of creation. The heart in your body may be used as a reminder or an anchor of this when your mind is restless. A restless mind is called a monkey mind in Buddhism. If you are experiencing monkey mind, then place your hand on your chest and rest your attention there. Where your attention goes, your energy will follow. The heart of consciousness that I am speaking about said another way is the heart of creation. I am pointing to who you truly are, your real nature, your authentic self—the unchanging truth.

The unchanging truth is the part of you that is not born and does not die. In other words, it does not come and go as everything will in your life of personhood. Every thought, every experience, every physical body, and everything in this life is not stable; it comes and goes. However, something always remains, and that is the unchanging truth of who we are. The unchanging truth has everything to do with personhood and nothing at all.

If you do not understand what I just said, it could be because you identified with a thought that said, I do not understand, notice that this thought was observed. You are observing from your true nature, spirt, or consciousness. Question it, is it right, or do you feel something deep inside your soul that knows differently? You would not be reading this post if you were not searching for something that does not need to be searched for, only remembered. This recognition will come without a struggle if you begin to bring more attention to your thoughts and notice the unsolicited ones. This is a simple process, so do not let your mind complicate it. However, it is not always easy to break the powerful habit of identification with these kinds of thoughts. Only those who hear the call will answer. Any attempt to avoid this call will only extend your unneeded suffering. Therefore, I encourage you to step up and answer it by starting to pay even more attention to your thoughts. If you did not understand what I just said it could be because you identified with a thought that arose, perhaps it said, I do not understand, notice that that thought was observed. You are observing from your true nature, spirt, or consciousness. Question it, is it true or do you feel something deep inside your soul that knows differently. You would not be reading this post if you were not searching for something that does not need to be searched for, only remembered. That will come without struggle if you begin to bring more attention to your thoughts and notice the unsolicited thoughts that are not for your highest good. This is simple so do not let your mind complicate it. It is simple but it is not always easy to break the strong habit of identification. Only those who hear the call will answer.

Wounded or Wise

We have a choice when we go through difficult things; we can either become wounded or wise. The inherent benefits within challenging times can only be seen with greater awareness and directing our attention in the proper direction. When we follow the minds unsolicited thoughts, they guide us towards suffering.

When we start looking for the benefit or opportunity in the problem, something different will be seen.

Know that your joy has never left you, but you have pushed your joy aside through your thinking. It can no more leave you than the blue sky above. It can appear to be gone by the cover of clouds, but above the clouds, it is still seen. So point your attention towards what you want, and once you do, the clouds will float by revealing the joy that never left.

The Overlooked Paradox

As we journey down the spiritual path, we find countless options to wake up, become the person we think we should be or find enlightenment. We can even believe if we connect with our divine self, we will finally be free from problems and live in endless happiness. Sounds good, right, but is it true?

With so many options, we struggle to decide what to do. Should we take this workshop, read that book, or work with this person or that practitioner, etc. For some, this can become an addiction with the mind supporting you every step of the way. It will tell you what a great job you are doing. It will tell you how you are better than those who do not do this exploration. It will tell you that you are so close to getting there, only to have that mark moved year after year, decade after decade. Sound familiar?

And yes, you have made progress, you know that you are different. And yet, something still does not feel right or complete. You thought you would be further down the path and even arrived at your intended destination by now.

This continuous shopping around becomes a ploy of the mind to distract you. The thought that you must reconnect with your real nature seems complicated, something separate from you, even distant. This thought is another distraction, another lie.

Thoughts arise that tell you that you are so close; if you only go to this next workshop or do that next thing, you will finally feel and be the way you want. So, you take the workshop coming home on a high. You feel so good about what happened, what you learned, what you let go of, and your progress. And then it happens, someone does or says something to you, or perhaps something insignificant happens like misplacing your car keys, and you get upset, maybe even angry. You say to yourself, but why, I have done all this work on myself. Why is this still happening to me?

You must realize that what you have been doing is not working in the way you thought or intended when you started your journey. Even though everything you have done has added value to your life, it has not done what you thought it would, and if it hasn’t by now, will it ever? You must see this if you want to wake up; otherwise, you will continue to follow your mind’s guidance and schedule that next workshop or appointment. Understand that I am not telling you not to do these things. I am saying to do them with awareness, and not out of a compulsion that they will be the answer to what you seek.

We are talked out of doing things by our thoughts all the time, even when they for our highest good. Have you ever wondered where those thoughts originate? Have you noticed they are unsolicited and appear out of nowhere? If that stirs something in you, then start observing your thoughts, and it will lead you to remember your real nature, which is and has always been with you. The thought that you must find it is a lie. Direct experience of your true nature helps, but it is about remembering who you are, not finding something outside yourself.

Prove this to yourself, do not take my word for it, or believe it is true. Just having a belief will end up being more thought and distraction through the mind. Look with the intention to prove it to yourself. You have a choice to identify with whatever thoughts are coming up now and telling you this is nonsense or that it will not work. Or you can observe what is arising and choose not to identify with it. It is your choice, not the minds.

When it comes to having a direct experience of our true nature, the paradox is, we find what we are looking for when we stop looking. Your mind does not have to accept this for you to know the truth.

Note: To help you see how subtle the mind’s deception can be, if the act of observing is observable, then the mind is once again playing a trick on you. When we are in our true nature, it cannot be observed from somewhere else; that is impossible because there is nothing outside of it.

Optional Exercise

If you want, take a moment to get quiet, see if what I have said in the paragraphs above applies to you, maybe you already know it does. But if not, find a quiet place, somewhere free from distractions. Draw your attention down to the heart area of your chest. You can even place your hand there to bring your attention from the head to the heart if you are having trouble.

Know that the truth will not come to you through your mind in the form of thoughts, and it will not come from all the knowledge you have acquired. It will arrive directly from your soul, consciousness, Divine Creator, or God if you prefer. It will come in the form of insight or direct experience.

Become empty of thought by keeping your attention in the heart area. If any thought arises to distract you, notice that it is observed, and let it go. The key is not to identify with it. If you don’t, it has no power. Body sensations, emotions, or images may come. Notice that all of this is observable.

More thoughts will arise, that is a given. They might say I do not know how, or I cannot do this, etc. Stay connected to observing what is happening, instead of being in the movie, watch it play out. Do not identify with anything, and do not imagine. Now the mind may come in and say this is hard. You observed that as well, now let it go.

Once you feel ready, ask any question you want. For example, from what was said above, is this true for me? Perhaps you will hear a reply, feel something, or come into more clarity. If it seems nothing has happened, be watchful of your thoughts not getting caught in a new story. Trust that something has happened and watch over the next few days to see if anything is revealed or changed in some way. It will not come through the mind but will reveal itself in a moment of insight. You already know what it feels like when the truth is shown to you. You just know somehow, don’t you?

Handling the Transitions of Life

I awakened the other day with the word transition in my awareness—something we all experience many times during our lifetime. For example, a change in jobs, where we live, or a relationship, to name a few. I have never seen so many people experiencing a myriad of transitions simultaneously, at least not that I can remember in my 63 years.

During these times, many of us do not know what to do. We feel lost, fearful, anxious, or worried, maybe all of them. In some cases, we can feel excited about our new transitional prospects. Of course, excitement is not the word I would use for our experiences with Covid-19. And yet I can assure you that many of your thoughts around these events are not valid if investigated. And when investigated for their truth or lack thereof, we can calm our state. Of course, you must be willing to look and feel what you need to sincerely without resistance. Coming from greater awareness always leads to insight.

In our efforts during transitional times to find security and peace, we often move too quickly. We want things to go back the way they were, so we can feel safe, or at least the illusion of safety.

Decisions are made from a place of old thinking, beliefs, habits, conditioning, and behaviors. So, we make choices based on how things used to be instead of how they are now. We do not take the time to know what we want or who we have become in life. Do you want to make different choices moving forward? Choices from a more aware and awake state that lead to a more peaceful and joyful life? Then you must take some time to figure out who you have become, who you really are, and what you want. You must turn your autopilot off.

When we do not do this, we can easily make choices that send us right back where we use to be. The story looks different for a while, may even feel exciting, and then we end up one day feeling like before. And many of you have experienced this; you make a significant change thinking it will fix everything, and it solves nothing.

For example, I have seen many people come out of a long-term marriage and immediately look for a new relationship. They do not feel comfortable being alone or feel they need companionship to be happy. Therefore, they go looking for comfort and feeling happy from someone else instead of finding it in themselves. They find someone who feels like the one only to have it fail or find out later that they still do not feel the way they want. This is more common than you think and can happen in many different areas of one’s life.

Not taking the time to get to know who we are and what we want, not just what we think we want, only leads us down the road of suffering and making poor choices.

Trying to push and pull our way through life, thinking we are in control of it all the time is an illusion. Your best efforts to control everything in your life have failed, haven’t they?

I assure you that life takes care of life. It is time to live in the present moment. Wishing things to go back the way they were will change nothing. Instead of wanting things to go back the way they were, doesn’t it make sense to move forward from a new awareness instead of creating from old behaviors and conditioning?

Awareness is one of our greatest gifts and can change how you experience life. Taking the time to slow down and get to know ourselves from a more meaningful place is how we find the peace that is our birthright. It is always available to us and always with us. You only need to rediscover that underneath all the unsolicited thinking that tells you otherwise. You can do this by paying more attention to your thoughts.

Is this something you can do, or does your mind tell you otherwise? Observe your thoughts, and you will see the truth, or you are free to continue to follow their guidance without question. Will you follow the mind’s guidance or your souls? It is up to you to decide no one else can do it for you.

The One Truth That Never Changes

There are so many people on social media today that know the truth. They become frustrated, even reaching states of anger, anxiety, and depression, why because they know they are right, and the other person is wrong. And these truths that each believes are opposites from one another. Who is right, you ask yourself, and you say why I am, of course!

We find and post articles and studies that support our beliefs. We post videos of others who say what we believe, and therefore, that makes us right, and that rightness becomes even more locked into our psyche. We see ourselves as our beliefs, and we lose connection with our true nature, our heart, our soul. You may think I am exaggerating here, but anger, anxiety, and depression do not arise from our true nature, heart, or soul, it arises from who we believe ourselves to be.

You cannot see clearly if your mind already knows the truth. You hold onto those beliefs so tightly that nothing else can be seen or heard. Nothing else can get past the wall of beliefs you have built. You will fight to the end to make your point because YOU are right.

Any parent has experienced this with their child at some point. The five-year-old wants what they want, and they know they are right. The teenager has done the research; they know what is right, and no one can tell them otherwise. Our age does not matter. Perhaps you can remember being that way as a teenager. Are you still that way, or have you become that way?

Has everything from your past that you thought to be true still valid today? Can you find examples throughout history and the world where someone’s truth caused death and destruction? Have wars started from believing that something is right, and then it turns out not to be true?

Have you ever thought about this? Probably not much, most people don’t. We quickly move on to the next thing that keeps us distracted from being present and staying connected to our hearts. We spend all our time in the mind following its guidance without awareness of where it is leading us.

The mind works this way, jumping from one thing to the next all day long, all lifelong. Without awareness, we identify with the thoughts, and then we create beliefs, concepts, and stories around them, and then we become right, and everyone else that does not believe the way we do, is wrong.

Is there a truth that never changes? Yes, we can find them but are they valid for everyone or just for those who believe them. The one truth that never changes is that many things condition us. If you can see this truth or feel it in your heart, you are waking up. Continue to question your thoughts. Are they true, or are they a distraction from truth? Observe them as they arise entirely unsolicited. Only the unconditioned-self can answer truthfully; your mind will only find a way to convince you otherwise; to mislead you and distract you from living an honest, authentic life.

Becoming Free From Unsolicited Thoughts

Unsolicited thoughts are not your friend. You must notice this undesirable habit of automatically identifying with your thoughts. They should be observed and questioned by bringing awareness to them; then, they will lose their power over you. One question you can ask yourself is, do I know this to be one-hundred percent true?

You are not your thoughts, and when you identify with them, they rise to power and begin to control your disposition and the direction of your life. No thought can pull you into a story without your consent. The more you bring awareness to them, the less power they have, and eventually, you will be grounded in the present moment again.

Note: Do not try to stop your thoughts; this will only keep you trapped. Many of you have wanted to do this during meditation and failed. The aware and awake do not identify or attach to thoughts. Then they do not hang around. They float by like a cloud in the sky instead of turning into a storm.

How much time do you spend on the what-ifs of life that never happen? How different would your life be if your unsolicited thoughts did not drag you away from the present moment? How much more energy would you have to be present with what faces you now? Know that where your attention goes, your energy follows. How can you create or manifest what you want when your energy is depleted or is directed toward the very thing that you do not want in your life?

The first step is to use your awareness to notice the automatic and endless flow of these unsolicited thoughts. No one can do this for you. You must be willing to begin to pay attention, step out of the stories your mind tells you through these thoughts. Become the observer, and watch what is happening. Your mind may say, how do I do that? And I say that you already know how to do it, so trust that you do. Any thought that says you cannot do this, or you do not know how is observed, isn’t it?

Few dare to do this, so know that you are among a courageous few if you do. Be kind and gentle to yourself when you slip, and you will falter from time to time, particularly in the beginning. However, if you stay with it, things will only continue to improve in your life.

Please do not take my word for it. I want you to have a direct experience that this works, that is the only way you will know the truth of what I speak and use it. So, try it out if you dare. What have you got to lose except a few thousand or so of unsolicited thoughts per day?

A Model for Healing

Once you consent to a non-healing thought, which means to identify with it, you will instantly slow or stop the healing process. You will be unable to create what you desire unless you become aware of these thoughts and let them go.

The letting-go process will happen naturally through awareness of these unhelpful thoughts. If any other action is needed on your part, it will be clearly shown to you, so gently pay attention. Some examples of these thoughts might be, I cannot get better, I will never change, this is not what I want, this is just who I am, or any thought that states what you desire cannot happen.

Can you feel the resistance in the examples above? It is essential to become aware of your resistance—the resistance to the healing that you seek.

I have learned from my healing journey, and that of others in my private practice, that you must never give in to these kinds of thoughts or allow them to control your choices.

Remember, never give up on your intention to heal. Because if you do, it will most likely not happen. In those moments, for example, when feelings of disappointment, frustration, or failure show up, and they might, you must step forward in faith and continue to follow your unbending intention.

Let your pain and suffering propel you forward, instead of holding you back. The thought that pain and suffering are your only problems is a problem; with this belief, you only see them as harmful, bad, and dark, which brings resistance and avoidance. Seeing them only as harmful is a perception created by your conditioning. The wise person will recognize that these experiences can guide you toward healing as well. When you only see them from the narrow view of negativity, they naturally become an overwhelming or unwelcome issue.

If you only look at your situation through a dark and narrow lens, you will never find the path to freedom. Notice I said freedom here and not healing; that is because real healing does not always show up in the same way that the mind has shown you or the way that you desire. However, if you remain open to receiving whatever shows up, it will always lead to greater freedom. That means accepting what is without conditions and continuing to move forward using your intuition as your guide. Use your mind when you need to, but do not let it use you, because its unasked-for help will mislead you. Lead from your heart and not your head.

Do not let the thought that you will not heal or get what you want to be another reason for discouragement. Use your awareness of these kinds of thoughts as motivation to inspire you to forge ahead without hesitation, because true freedom can offer you so much more, not just healing, but in other ways that you never imagined.

We Can All Do Better, Start Now

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou

Did you notice that Maya Angelou did not say when you know better, you will do better? She said, when you know better, do better. Yes, it is a subtle difference but an important one. Just because we no better does not guarantee that we will do better, does it? If that were the case, the world would be very different than it is today.

You would think as a moral and civilized society that we would? Yes, I know there are times when we do. However, many times we do not, right? Have you ever wondered why that happens? Surely you are curious enough to wonder, aren’t you? It is easy to point figures at the government, some other person or entity, but have you ever asked yourself why don’t I do better when I know better?

For example, you know you should not eat that dessert or a particular food, but you do anyway. You find a way to justify it, just one more time, which turns into ten more times.

We all know that staying healthy requires exercise, but many do not take the time. Saying, I am too busy to exercise, I will start tomorrow, or perhaps you begin for a few days or weeks and then quit. Why did you stop? Was there a valid reason, or did the mind make one up for you?

Then there are problems like racism, the environment, and a host of other movements and issues that we may personally feel needs to be addressed. Still, we have yet to do better either collectively or individually.

We know when we have done something wrong, but we make excuses. It is not a big problem, so why should I trouble myself. Yes, we are masters at not doing what we could but instead opting to do what we want, no matter the consequences. I am sure that you could add to what I mentioned above; it seems endless to me. How about you?

Would you be willing to pick one thing or area in your personal life and do better? Where do you know better and yet struggle to do better? Pick one and make a permanent change for the better. You are more than capable of following through this time, so make it happen. When a thought comes in, or the mind tries to distract you from doing better, say no to the distraction. You will not regret it, so start now.