Do you ever doubt whether you are doing the right thing with your life?
I confess I have this doubt on a fairly regular basis. I have so many passions, it would be really easy for me to take off in a variety of directions. Some days (or years) I see myself as a yoga teacher; some days I am a psychotherapist and want to change the world of mental health care and create a movement that blurs the boundaries between psychology and spirituality. Other days I can quite happily see myself going into meditation retreat for a decade or holing up as a hermit writer. OH, and then there are days I dream of living a simple life off-grid with a loving partner, growing and cooking (or not) our own organic food and creating a nourishing community in harmony with the land.
And then there are the usual days, like today, when I want to do ALL of that, and NOW.
Man, is that exhausting. I don’t know about you, but I am not capable of doing EVERYTHING. So it helps to narrow down the focus, identify your core values, and set an intention. Then, and only then, you can create the life what you want.
Last month at New Life Foundation in Northern Thailand, a few of us gathered for a 5 day retreat to engage in practices to first identify and then align with our life’s purpose.
Are you aligned with your life’s purpose?
For a practical strategy, I identify 10 aspects of a balanced approach to daily life (if you missed that post, read it here.) When you check in with body, speech and mind on a daily basis, you train yourself to ally with the sane aspects of your being, rather than getting distracted or carried away by elements that would derail you from your life’s purpose.
What is your life’s purpose?
Consider this as a two-fold question. There’s your ultimate life’s purpose, and your relative life’s purpose, or calling.
Here are some examples that participants came up with of an ultimate purpose:
- live in the moment
- to be myself fully
- be happy and to share happiness with others
- love and be loved
- listen to my body and let that message lead me where I need to go
- live from a place of truth
Here’s the trick: when you live your ultimate purpose, your calling unfolds before you.
So how do you live your ultimate life’s purpose?
Align body, breath and mind with the call of your heart, and your life’s purpose will reveal itself without you having to do anything. It is simply a matter of training yourself to be present, listen, and follow the voice of your inner guidance, then allowing the momentum of your intention move you forward. It’s like catching a wave. The trick is that you need awareness practices to help you ride the wave. Without balance, you’ll get overwhelmed by the sheer force of that momentum and wipe out.
How can you align with your life’s purpose?
- Set an intention or aspiration. What is the one thing that is important to you? Identify it.
- Connect with the body. Engage in a daily physical discipline.
- Tune in to the breath. Make a habit of checking in with your breath. Speak with awareness and integrity.
- Rest in the nature of mind that is not distracted. Learn to focus the mind and train your awareness through meditation practice.
- Listen to what your heart tells you. Once you are able to observe your thoughts with precision, you’ll start to hear where your heart wants to lead you, and where you get in your own way.
- Act on your heart’s instructions. Take one small step in the direction your heart calls you to go.
These practices, when engaged with intention, will help you to clarify what is important to you in life, and to see what steps you need to take to start living with more joy, more love and to learn to accept that suffering does not mean you are doing it wrong.
The tools of tuning in to body, speech and mind are available at any moment to help you move through obstacles and make your way in life guided by your inner wisdom.Then you won’t waste any more energy going down the wrong path, or spreading yourself too thin trying to figure out what to do. You can stop worrying about where you’re headed because you are allied with the now.
Or as Marlon Brando’s character Johnny once said, “You just go Daddy!”