Living your Purpose
When starting out on the spiritual path, most people have a sense that an extraordinary spiritual transformation is possible, a radical realignment at the deepest levels of their being, that would not only liberate them from personal suffering but would infuse their life with a sacred, cosmic sense of meaning, purpose and wholeness.
Yet after years or even decades of working on themselves with mixed results, many begun to doubt whether that initial intuition of their higher potential was more fantasy than reality.
I want you to know that the highest possibility you have glimpsed, the most glorious potential you have sensed is not a figment of your imagination, but a real, living possibility.
And even more than that is possible.
It is possible for life to deliver meaning, even when life does not make sense as yet. It is possible for your life to deliver meaning.
It is possible to come into such profound alignment with the moral and spiritual axis of the universe, that every moment of your life is a walk in grace, and that you know without any doubt that you are in the right place at the right time.
It is possible, in other words, for all existential tension to disappear, and to live with unwavering conviction in the inherent goodness of the life process.
It is possible to awaken so deeply to the divine evolutionary impulse at the heart of existence, that we know we are living our lives in service to the highest calling there is. And in this knowing, to discover an unimaginable and abiding liberation from the suffering of the confused, neurotic, separate sense of self.
It is possible to be truly free.
I will be the first to acknowledge that I am speaking about a completely different kind of human life than most people have ever encountered.
This is not simply about "being in the now" or "loving and accepting what is in every moment."
It is not about simply learning to connect with and trust in a “higher power” to guide you through life’s challenges.
Nor is it about simply accessing a more expansive state of awareness, or being able to stand back and abide as the “witness” of all that arises.
All of these are excellent experiences to have, and important capacities to cultivate. But I am referring to something more.
I'm pointing to authentic spiritual awakening in which the ego has been radically overridden by the Ultimate principle, by the creative force of the cosmos, by what the Buddha described as "the roar of the timeless beyond."
It is a life in which our endless quest for self-fulfillment has been replaced by a passion to give our heart and soul to the awakening and upliftment of all of life, to bringing the Sacred into manifestation in this world.
In this ultimate submission to, and alignment with, the Absolute, the human being becomes a living, breathing force for higher evolution.
And this changes our relationship to being alive, in unimaginable ways.
Experientially, we find ourselves in a state of profound receptivity and openness. A deep and abiding simplicity pervades our life, and an ongoing sense of flow permeates every moment.
We have let go of identification with the mind, abandon any attachment to the self, to enable us to live as a transparent, vibrant vessel for the Infinite.
Amidst this profound openness, there is remarkable mental clarity, but there is no clinging on to that clarity. Insights come and go, but there is the knowledge that "I can't hold onto any of this," and so there is no grasping on to certainty.
But in moments when clarity is needed, it miraculously appears, integrating all of our knowledge and lived experience, in a flash of intuitive knowing.
Spiritual experiences come and go, too, but there is no longer any clinging to ecstasy, bliss or love. When you have discovered the source of all these things, you feel no compulsion to cling to them.
More importantly, and contrary to popular belief, we awaken to a profound awareness of what we might call the heart of the cosmos. We feel, in a sense, for the Whole of Life.
We feel the pain of the whole, and the joy of the whole, as our own pain and our own joy. We become a seeing, sensing, feeling organ of the whole.
And at the center of our being is a burning passion for evolution and transformation, a calling to transform the world into an expression of the divinity we have discovered.
All of this may sound very big and beyond reach, but I want to make it clear that this is not a pipe dream drawn from ancient books. This is what it is really like. This is really what is possible for a human life, for your life to become.
Now, just because it is possible to awaken to this radically different kind of life, does not mean that it is easy. Indeed, what I'm describing is without question the most challenging endeavor a human being can undertake.
You have to recognise that, even you feel deeply that you want to surrender to the Divine, to be an agent of evolution, there is a big part of you that wants nothing to do with that. A part of you that desperately wants to maintain control, to keep your life small and manageable.
So, if you want your life to change that profoundly, you have to come to terms with what you are doing here. That means cultivating a clear and unwavering intention to bring your life into alignment with this higher order you have tasted.
Cultivating this kind of intention requires a 24/7 commitment, but you can begin this inquiry by engaging the following exercises on a daily basis. Any of these exercises can be engaged as a silent contemplation, as a journal exercise, or as a dialogue with a trusted spiritual friend.
- Every morning, before you do anything else, take fifteen minutes and contemplate: What you are really living for? Ask yourself: what is the most important thing in life? What is of ultimate significance? And what do you need to do to align with that, to be an expression of that in the world? Don't simply ask these questions with your mind. Ask them with your whole being, as if your life depended on it.
- Then, every evening, take another fifteen minutes, and again ask yourself: What is the most important thing in life? What is of ultimate significance? How did I live my day? Did I do everything I could to live in accord with the deepest truth I know? To align with a higher purpose? Where could I have given more?
- Ask yourself: What would I need to give up or let go of to be able to align with the evolutionary impulse? To be a vessel for a greater intelligence and power in this world? What is in the way of me stepping into full surrender to and partnership with the creative force of the Cosmos? When will I be ready to leave that behind?
The spiritual path has always been about surrender. But the truth is that in this evolutionary awakening, this integral enlightenment, there is a further goal, which is the willingness to not only surrender to the divine principle, but to step up and take full responsibility for its manifestation and expression in the world.
In the end, you realise that the very power you have surrendered to, is also your truest self, and that it needs you to fully embody that, to dare to be a creative agent of evolution, to align your own being with it so completely that you become the conscious choosing aspect of the Evolutionary Impulse itself.
In this radical realignment at the core of your being, you begin incarnating the divine, and you give your every breath to making that divinity known and fully expressed in this world.
In this unconditional stand, you discover your final liberation from attachment, even as you passionately give everything to transforming the world into an expression of the sacred.
When enough of us learn to live in this way, we will have Heaven on Earth.
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
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