Following your North Star
“As the human mind ascends in divine consciousness the gap between subject and object begins to vanish and the oneness of life emerges.” — Sydney Banks
Here’s the kicker. We assume that the better the world out there, the more our lives will be enriched.
And so we run and run to find our elusive nirvana, but it never materialises.
Oh sure, there are some highs along the way — a few personal dreams realised — but we never find that one thing to light up our souls.
In the end we die: spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. (Is it any wonder we’re such a miserable lot?)
Imagine a world though where instead of being told to find ourselves in paid work, we’re told to follow our true calling come hell or high water.
It’s much harder than you think.
For a start, many of us wouldn’t even know where to begin because we’ve subsumed any attempt to exorcise our true-self ghosts on the altar of busyness. You know, the ‘doing it, doing it, doing it’ methodology that has so come to define us.
Before you leap from one job to another in pursuit of something with higher purpose, surely the question you need to posit is “Who am I?”. If you don’t, how will you know if option ‘A’ — i.e. paid work — should be jettisoned in favour of doing something that is authentically you?
At this stage, you might look back on your life and recall a few moments of bliss where you did something because you loved it — e.g. singing, dancing, writing or reading poetry — and what will arise is the obvious but slightly dull question, “How can I make a living out of something I love?”. I might ask the equally glib question, “Have you even tried?”. But it’s true. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve met who wax lyrical about something that lies buried deep in their soul and when you ask why they’re not pursuing this, even if not in a vocational setting, they’re hard pressed to respond, let alone come up with a cogent answer.
In my case, as I’ve explained before, I had no choice. But looking back, even if I hadn’t been hospitalised and woken from my narcissistic torpor, I’m quite sure the halo would have slipped and I’d have jumped from the metronomic tedium of billing into something that allowed me the freedom to serve a higher purpose.
In saying this, I’m not suggesting I’m somehow different from you or live apart from the system. I’m not and I don’t. Indeed, even now, I’m still wrestling with how to find meaning in my work — both paid and the stuff I do for the pure hell of it. But at least I’m trying.
I appreciate we’re all different, and, as my wife constantly tells me, “Perhaps people are happy”, but the way I see it if we’re not growing emotionally and spiritually we’re dying (or perhaps we’re already dead!). If you need a metaphor to describe the experience, it feels much like climbing a mountain but not to reach the summit but to know in the daily grind, you’ll come to know and discover more about yourself than you ever will in putting up a series of faux goals to constantly knock down.
My parting shot is simple. Even if you’ve not yet had your epiphany moment, don’t think it won’t ever happen. But if you don’t try, you’ll only have yourself to blame.
I’ll leave you with a few words from Charles Bukowski:
“those who escape hell
never talk about
and nothing much