Open to me, so that I may open. Provide me with your inspiration, so that I may see mine – Rumi
Rooted in many of us is the belief that success means hard work, long hours, struggle and sacrifice. As adults, the mantra ‘no pain no game’ influences us to work on weekends and holidays, sacrificing time with our family and friends, neglecting our health and wellbeing. Our egos would have us believe that the more we do, the more we become. Yet the path of forced effort and struggle ultimately limits our success because it is based on the ego’s insecurities and struggles for power, approval and safety. Over time, we are likely to feel burned out and disconnected.
In Trina Paulus’s book Hope for the Flowers, two caterpillars get caught up in the long held fallacy of competition and struggle to reach the top of a ‘caterpillar pillar’. By their journey’s end, they learn that their true nature, and that of every other caterpillar is not one of winning and being at the top, but of going within and emerging as beautiful butterflies born to soar. Like the caterpillars in that tale, early on in our lives we may receive messages that we must compete in order to succeed, whether it be in sports, tests at school, or finding a job. There seemingly must be winners and losers; those who stand out above the rest, and those who are left behind. These scenarios give a sense that there is deep lack in the world, with only so much glory, money and other resources to go around. This perspective can create such urgency to be seen to be the best that we may adopt a willingness to do whatever it takes to win or be right, even if it is out of alignment with our values. We may begin to see the success of others as a threat, as if there is not enough room for everyone to win.
When we shift the belief that the path to success means struggle and hard work, we open ourselves to a new path. The truth is, abundance exists all around us, in nature, in the love of our friends and families. In going within and connecting with our true selves, we find it easier to understand this and appreciate what we already have. We no longer exist in competition with our fellow human beings, choosing to see the world as a place where everyone can express their unique talents and succeed.
Each of us has a unique purpose to fulfil in this lifetime. There is no one else on the planet who is here to be who you are and give what you have to give. Purpose is there all the time, and it is always calling you. When we identify the things that bring the greatest joy to our lives, we are on the trail to discovering this inner truth. When we live in accordance with our purpose, we are happy and create a ripple of good that emanates from within. Your life begins to shift, as you remove the beliefs that limit you.
In his 21-Day Meditation Experience, Deepak Chopra teaches us that finding our purpose starts with setting an intention for our life. When we embark on the journey to follow our purpose, our constant travelling companion – the ego mind – naturally wants to know all the details ahead of time. Where exactly are we going? How long will it take? Will we succeed in achieving our desired outcome? The ego mind creates certainty and control, yet life is inherently uncertain and cannot be controlled. Set your intention, take whatever action is needed, and then relinquish your attachment to the result. By opening yourself to uncertainty, even if just a little bit at a time, you will gradually release any self-imposed limitations and allow your life and journey to unfold in ways that are more wondrous and fulfilling than you could ever have imagined. You will come to realise that there is nothing you can lose that will diminish your wholeness, and nothing you can gain that will add to who you are. You are already whole, as is everyone else.
Being intentional about our purpose inspires action. What we speak comes to life, sparking collaborative potential and igniting possibility. It is through our willingness to communicate and share ideas, perspectives and vision with others that we grow more comfortable being in and speaking our truth. We begin to let our guard down and sincerely ask for what we want and need. By staying present with one another and being ourselves, we start to recognise common personal and professional interests. Just as the Buddhist teaching says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” new opportunities spontaneously arise and new ideas roll in. We are pointed in the direction of where to go and whom to meet. We have gifted ourselves with an authentic platform to share our vision and, as we courageously share, we receive support, inspire others and live in a global community.
I invite you to speak freely about your vision and dreams. The spoken word is a powerful tool and, by leveraging your voice, you expand your dreams from internal thoughts to external possibilities. Know that by verbalising your ideas out loud, you are empowering your ideas to the Universe. The world is waiting for your vision.