“You weren’t born just to pay bills & die”- Anonymous
We spend so much of our adult life caught up in fulfilling the roles that society demands of us. We are armed with the checklist we are told we need to have a successful life. I’m surprised that we aren’t just given a literal handbook seeing that we could easily recite all the things expected of us. From how our bodies should look, the kind of job we should have, the relationship we should find, what we should eat, what we should say (or not say), where we should be seen and how we should be perceived. We have it all covered!
Yet so many of us find ourselves unhappy & unfulfilled.
All animals have a ‘life urge’ – to survive. We are no exception. But what makes us human is our desire to seek meaning way beyond survival. If this is true, why does the way our lives are built right now not serve this intention? With all the beauty, wonder, possibilities, complexities & miracles of life- there must be more to it. This I know to be true. And so we begin our journey within to ask ourselves:
What makes me happy?
What does success look like to me?
Who am I? Who do I wish to be?
What are my dreams?
Who am I without my traumas, fears & beliefs?
In what part of my life am I limiting myself?
What do I want to offer to this world?
When we spend a whole lifetime looking to others and outside for answers and permission, our innate desires and the truth of who we are, can seem like a foreign language at first. Just like how we’d learn a new language- we need to expand our mind and be open to a new way of thinking, learn new vocabulary, recognise that what worked before in ‘English’ may not be the same in the new language. Perhaps even, that we need to shift control from our mind and open more from our hearts to be any good at this new language of who we are & what our purpose is. This is the inner work, the spiritual journey- for me. To find our way back to ourselves.
To remember the language of our inner voice.
To start knowing our desires again, our values & intentions and readjusting our life to what our inner being seeks. And thats the beauty of this ‘work’. Despite all my best intentions, I cannot dictate that this is how to be happy or find meaning. That would be hypocritical. You get to find this out for yourself 🙂 I can simply share my experience and what I believe to be true. This is what I have learnt so far:
1. Your inner being has all the answers already.
A universal truth. Despite the deeply ingrained mass consciousness, we all instinctively know to look inwards for the answers. Because its a truth that cannot be hidden. Maybe life dealt some of us shitty cards for sure and it gets hard to trust anyone, let alone ourselves. Sure, at the beginning, there may not be the stillness yet to listen, trust yet to connect, or the conviction yet to follow. But that’s part of the process, to uncover and unravel who you are. Seek help and guidance where you need. Read the books, talk to frineds, go to therapy, look to leaders & guides to start with. Slowly yet surely, you learn to trust yourself. You remember again that you are much more than your body and mind. More than your experiences. That our essence and spirit is a unique embodiment of a higher intelligence- whether we understand it or not.
If you are reading this, there’s a high chance that you want to build a life that works for you- you want to find ‘happy’ and ‘success’ in your own terms. No, I’m not here to tell you to give up everything and become a monk. That may be the path for some. For some, you may change your job, relationship, travel or do something new. For many of us, the change may simply be in how we approach our life and what we prioritise. By connecting to our inner being, each of us get to find our own unique answers that is in the highest good for ourselves 🙂
2. We are here to receive life from a place of truth & curious wonder.
This is my personal truth and the compass that guides my journey. If we aren’t here just to pay bills and die, what exactly is our purpose? To me, purpose isn’t a mountain you reach the top of or a list of goals that you achieve. It is more the philosophy with which we approach life. Its the path on which we’d like to drive the vehicle of our life on. I’d like to share mine in an attempt to answer this big question. I hope that perhaps you resonate with it too, or that it sparks an inspiration for yours.
My purpose is to simply allow myself to receive life from a place of truth and curious wonder. I’d love to break this down further:
“What would happen if we respected the flow of life and used our free will to participate in what’s unfolding, instead of fighting it? What would be the quality of the life that unfolds? Would it just be random events with no order or meaning, or would the same perfection of order and meaning that manifests in the rest of the universe manifest in the everyday life around us?”Excerpt from The Surrender Experiment- Michael Singer
The Surrender Experiment had such a profound impact on me and the way I view the world. What I learnt from this book is that truly, we live in a world governed by an intelligence that is far greater than our own. That the flow of life, if we allow it, will shape our life in ways we could never imagine. Yet our human minds insist that we are to take control of our life. That we dictate what the order of our life should look like. We should know and prepare for the exact conditions there ought to be- in order for us to be happy/ successful/ peaceful. I have decided that the only steps I am to take are in response to what this beautiful, miraculous, intelligent life brings to me. Of course, I have free will to choose, I still have my desires to sort through my preferences, and I have experienced enough contrast to know what I would like more of and what I do not enjoy. Choosing to ‘receive life’ does not mean I sit idly and am no longer an active participant in pursuing my desires. I find it quite the opposite. I ‘receive life’ by realising that I have a source of inspiration inside me- that is always in commune with the universe. Whenever I seek from this part of me, my inner being- I get to receive what actions to take, which direction to move. Sometimes its an urge to go somewhere, talk to someone, take the different route to work. Sometimes its the urge not to do the task list even though the mind insists it is urgent. Instead it might be to daydream, rest or listen to a podcast, read a book. Inspiration finds you in so many wonderful and unexpected ways- and that is the gift of receiving life. Its being in tune with the natural rhythm and pace of the universe. When I am in tune with this, I move and take actions in ways much more meaningful and enjoyable than when I simply decide from my mind only. So it is my life’s journey and a daily agenda to surrender my mind’s sense of control and instead be a ‘recipient’ to life.
A PLACE OF TRUTH
I believe there are two kinds of truths. The truth that IS, and the truth we perceive to be. In our minds, our perception is always ever changing and always dictated by what we believe and our feelings. I have learnt to understand that feelings- no matter how valid in the moment, are not always the truth. Because when we change our beliefs, the feelings shift too. If I no longer believe “I’m not good enough at cooking”, I simply will not feel inadequate, jealous, judgmental when it comes to cooking. I perhaps will also no longer draw a sense of validation or whatever my mind was seeking from cooking before. Our life is governed by hundreds and thousands of these beliefs, and each one makes us wear its own special glasses to see the world through. Each one with its own agenda- it makes it hard to know- in all of this, what is my truth? Its like every day, we’re seeing through a different instagram filter of fear, worries, control, doubts, beliefs and they take it in turns to drive the steering wheel leaving us in the backseat. In my experience, this is a recipe for constant anxiety and misery.
And so it becomes necessary for me to know what is the truth that IS, rather than the ‘truths’ my mind perceive based on its limited beliefs. I owe it to myself to become aware that in every situation, when I am connected to my inner being, where fear does not dictate my perception, my reaction, my motivation- I get to experience the truth that is. I get to see from a different perspective- a higher one. I get to uncover false beliefs so that, even the mind can see for itself- really how flawed it is. The place of truth is sacred and being in pursuit of it keeps allowing me to see outside the constant chatter and drama my mind creates, and receive life way beyond what my mind can control or expect.
This is my glue that holds it all together. The thing that lets me enjoy life! Its the fun, spontaneous friend to seeking truth. Without curious wonder, life is super serious and heavy! We might as well be a robot collecting and storing data that way. Without curious wonder, how do we even uncover all the amazing surprises life has in store? In fact, the first step to receiving anything is by being curious! Curiosity never comes with expectation or demands, but simply an intention, and a warm hug that welcomes new and different experiences. Both known and unknown!
I love wondering how I will be surprised today? When I’m on a walk, I’m curious about what wonderful, miraculous things I will witness. And whenever I have this intention, I get to find something delightful- even in the routine, everyday tasks. The flowers growing on the side walk, the trees moving in the breeze. I even get to play silly games like walking on the other side of the road on the way back. Curious Wonder allows me to see all that the present moment has to offer. Inspiration comes more easily when I am in the present. I get to approach difficult things with a sense of lightness, and even joy at times.
It doesn’t mean there are no obstacles in life, that everyday is rainbows and butterflies. It does not eliminate the hardships that are simply a part of our reality and that life is easy all of a sudden, but what it allows me to do- when I am connected to it and not lost in the circumstances- I get to experience a sense of ease even in the midst of suffering. I get to experience joy even in the absence of solution or outcome to my problems.
I’d love to hear about your purpose! Is it something you think about? Do you think its important? What role does this play in living a happy life?