“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.” — Kahlil Gibran
When a new disciple came to the Master, he was subjected to the following examination:
“Do you know the one person who will never abandon you in the whole of your lifetime?”
“Who is it?” “You.”
“And do you know the answer to every question you may have?”
“What is it?” “You.”
“And can you guess the solution to every one of your problems?”
“I give up.” “You.”
Anthony de Mello’s delightful parable highlights the growing tension to look for answers outside ourselves.
In Zen Buddhism, it is said every question contains its own answer.
Similarly, it was the American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson who declared: “What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
Many search for answers outside themselves to make sense of their life. Some give up, while many are disheartened since the solutions seldom arrive in the form they hoped for.
If something within you seeks change, it will only come from inward — not from an external source.
“Many people confuse or conflate ‘purpose’ with ’meaning’ in life. There’s a very important distinction. Meaning in life asks “Why am I here?” Purpose in life is concerned with what we most deeply value, and purposeful living is concerned with whether we’re living for what matters most,” affirms author Victor J Strecher in: Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything.
We want some form of validation we are living a purposeful life. Yet the irony is, nobody can grant us that because our lives are independent in relation to our experience of it. Others can only share wisdom relative to their experience.
If this message resonates with you, your personal evolution is calling you to expand, not to contract.
You needn’t know the details, yet recognise you are dissatisfied with your current conditions.
I call it leading with love because life answers the call from your core self when you go in search of it.
I have often said, life doesn’t know what it will become until you step into it. Until you show up with purpose and seize opportunities.
We want to live a meaningful life instead of allowing external forces to control us.
If you consider life from what is missing, your mind looks for answers based on the form of the question.
Yet, if you ask: “How can I live my fullest potential and enjoy the process?” you will attract conditions in alignment with that very question.
“Counterintuitive as it sounds, taking on more of the ‘right’ things can actually increase the sense of meaning and accomplishment, even if your job does not specifically require it,” states author Jonathan Fields in How to Live a Good Life.
“You are afraid to die, and you’re afraid to live. What a way to exist.” — Neale Donald Walsch
I enjoy the embedded quote above by author Neale Donald Walsch who reminds us we are stuck between a rock and a hard place: “You are afraid to die, and you’re afraid to live. What a way to exist.”
So how can you find peace of mind within your circumstances?
Pursue that which resonates with your highest values. Life is full of ups and downs and you will make many mistakes along the way. Yet, those mistakes are pivotal in drawing you closer to what is significant.
Rather than dwell on the mistakes, see it as separating the wheat from the chaff.
From chaos emerges order.
What is important to you ought to be pursued by letting go of minor concerns. Life is full of contrasts to help you make conscious choices.
Contrast exists in the subtlest details. For instance, an unpleasant thought is distinguished by a positive one, and conflict is contrasted by kindness.
It involves choosing your focus of attention to find meaning through your questions.
Similarly, people are disillusioned that happiness is not a constant state. Here’s an enlightened perspective. You can be happy, yet experience struggle and still turn your attention to gratitude by shifting from negativity to enthusiasm.
We’re not talking about false optimism or Pollyanna syndrome. However, recognising the dualistic nature of life and aligning your awareness with your highest values.
Author and Jungian psychotherapist James Hollis states in What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life: “Healing, satisfaction, and meaning only come when we identify what feeds our soul, and find also the courage and the where-withal to make it happen.”
Your point of reference determines the meaning in your circumstances. It is why altruistic people tie their good deeds to service and the meaning contained within it.
Conversely, those who align with darkness, act on impulses and unconscious desires. They are conditioned by forces not of their choosing.
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” — Car Jung
You can stop struggling any moment rather than trying to fill the void within.
Accept life’s circumstances are always serving your personal development.
There is no place to reach, other than paying attention to your personal evolution.
Assuredly, searching for purpose and meaning outside you is analogous to using your hands to carry water, instead of a bucket. In gathering water from a stream being careful not to spill it, you are left empty-handed.
So it is with life.
Holding on to what you desire most causes it to vanish because of the anxiety devoted to it.
The great American mythologist Joseph Campbell said: “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about.”
Avoid looking for answers to empty questions, but consider what is already complete in your life. Use that as the foundation to what you wish to realise.
Nothing outside you will bring about what is contained within.
It was the imminent Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung who said: “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
This sentiment is echoed by Anthony de Mello’s fable of the Master who counsels his new disciple, noting that everything you desire will arise by looking within.
Originally published at medium.com