This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realise it is play.
We were sat at SAID Dal 1923, one of London’s finest Italian chocolatiers. The table behind us was particularly loud; the kids couldn’t contain their excitement from having all this decadent chocolate around them. Without getting distracted, we continued our chat about existence. Yes, the topic was as thick and gluttony as SAID Dal’s classic hot chocolate. And, like the spoon rests almost magically on the thick chocolatey layer, our attention rested unwaveringly on questions like what is life and how does one actually navigate it without feeling lost?
After an hour of intense discussion that bordered on philosophy and the esoteric, my friend put her hands up and said with a bit of exasperation, “I wish there was a manual for life that would tell me how to live it!”
We had that fateful conversation in November of 2019. A lot has happened since then, including the rise and rise of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the conversation never left me. It’s like I began a subconscious quest to answer the question – how to live life without feeling lost. It is this question that led me to start my blog Source Driven where I write about how to live life from your true self. To be able to navigate life with ease, we must understand life and our true self completely. Simply because once we know the true nature of something, it is easier to have right expectations and use it correctly. For example, when you know the properties of water, you will never expect it to fly. Similarly, when you are intimately aware of how the universe and your true self operate, you will be able to make informed decisions from a place of inner knowing, i.e. you will make decisions driven from within rather than making decisions that are driven by external circumstances. This is the key to not feeling lost.
The Manual of Life is a collection of the foundational principles of life – fundamental truths that speak of its essence. Aligning with these principles will increase your resistance to the constant fluctuations; you will feel centred in spite of the fluctuations. This centering will keep you from losing yourself and you will feel a sense of inner peace, calm and harmony.
Why do we feel the need for a manual of life, in the first place? Why do we get a feeling of being lost? Are we lost on our path and we don’t know where to go next or have we lost touch with ourselves?
There are times when we make decisions with our mind that leads us along a path that is filled with challenges and it takes us away from our true self. We get a feeling that we are not where we are meant to be. Or that we are not living our authentic life. This happens when we are unreasonably dependent on our thoughts and feelings to guide us. Instead, we need to rely on something that is not as fickle and as fluttering as our mind and heart. We need the wisdom of life to guide us. And, our soul is where this wisdom resides.
Fundamental truth 1
Listen to the wisdom of the soul to make life decisions
We are as much subjected to the laws of the spiritual plane as we are subject to the laws of the physical plane. The spiritual plane should be used as a driver to make our choices while the physical plane is where we experience the manifestation of our choices. Ignoring the spiritual plane or our spiritual nature is the single most sure shot way to feel disconnected from our true self.
A tree, like humans, is subject to the rules of our physical world – it grows towards sunlight, it needs water and minerals to grow, etc. Similarly, as physical entities, we need to protect ourselves from harsh weather and look after our bodies. As emotional entities, we need a sense of social connection with those around us. As mental beings, we set ourselves goals and challenges that stimulate us mentally. And, as spiritual beings, we must listen to the guidance of the soul, i.e. meet the need to be in a state of gratitude, compassion, surrender, faith and inner abundance. If we are not tuned in to our spiritual nature, our understanding of life is that much incomplete and thus, becomes tricky to navigate seamlessly. It’s like travelling in the dark. If we do not switch the light of awareness on, it is going to be that much harder to reach our destination.
Say, John is someone who is highly immersed in the physical world and is not connected with his spiritual side. He does not believe in spirituality, “How can I believe something that I have not experienced myself?” he says. All his decisions are based on his external circumstances. He believes he needs a certain amount of wealth, a certain kind of a family, a certain kind of a job and fitness to be happy. And he uses his mental acumen and agility to meet these goals. Yet, he is not happy. He is not fulfilled!
This is how most people live their lives. They may have all the physical, emotional, mental abundance but their souls feel hollow. You know that feeling. We have all felt it at some point in our lives, which drives us to question everything. That is a good thing.
We can overcome that doubt by going within and listening to the voice of our soul, our intuition. By following this voice, we are sailing with the tide. The soul knows what it’s doing. We must just tune in, listen and follow.
Fundamental truth 2
We have freewill to choose either the path of the soul or the path of the mind. But we all have a path that is in our highest good. Following this path keeps us from losing ourselves.
We have the freewill to choose the path that is meant for us or to not choose it, but we all have a path. It is up to you to find that path. The path is not static, it changes as you evolve as an emotional-mental-physical-spiritual entity and as the universe evolves with you. The closer you are to that path, the more connected will you feel with yourself. Vice versa, the further you are from your path, the more lost you are going to feel.
You can find your path by listening to your intuition and by seeking guidance from the universe. In early 2020, I had finally listened to my inner voice and decided to act on it. I felt the urge to start sharing some of my insights about life and I decided to call the blog As Above So Below. You could call those initial articles draft-1 of the content I am now sharing on Source Driven. I was sitting at the cafe at Waterstones, typing away those insights. But I was questioning the whole point of these articles. Who would be interested in reading them? A little annoyed at what my soul was nudging me to do, I shut my laptop, ready to leave the bookstore. Still muttering to myself about the futility of the task, I was about to leave when a book fell open at my feet. I picked up and felt the urge to read the page that lay open. The second paragraph on that page had the phrase As Above So Below. I think that was assurance enough that I was on the right path.
Fundamental truth 3
Please keep an open mind for this!
We are not alone as entities, we are surrounded by forces working behind the scenes to help us. Ask for their help! Gabby Bernstein puts it beautifully – The Universe has your Back. Reach out to the universe for healing, direction, and strength.
Last week, when I was indulging in some negative self-talk, an Oxford Dictionary, a good 2 kilograms in weight fell flat with a loud thud that brought me out of my zone of negative self talk. The book was not perched precariously and had no reason to fall out of the blue, definitely not at that very moment. Have faith in the universe to show you the path and bring to you situations and events that keep you on the path that is best for you. But, equally important is to have faith in oneself.
Regularly check-in with these forces and ask for guidance. You can begin by just talking to yourself and asking yourself all that you need an answer for. As you start getting answers, your faith in these entities will strengthen. It will then, overtime become easier to surrender to the guidance without even being able to make sense of it logically.
Fundamental truth 4
Have faith in yourself to do what is best for you – to recognize your path and to follow it through with conviction.
This happens when you are as aware of your physical nature as you are of your spiritual nature. Being in tune with your strengths and weaknesses and working through them by strengthening your discipline, commitment, and unwavering focus is what will help you be grounded to your spiritual nature. This will help you manifest in the physical plane the inner bliss that you are feeling in the spiritual plane. Your mind is not the end all be all. But, seeing it for what it is and using it wisely is necessary to have a complete experience as a human being.
Having faith in the universe will bring to you opportunities and guidance, but you, as a mental-physical-emotional entity, need to act on it. Acting in this direction requires you to let go of all your past conditioning, memory, imprint, beliefs and patterned way of working. When you do let all that go that doesn’t serve you, you will elevate yourself. Being connected with yourself is thus, a two-way street – you must show up because the universe always shows up.
Fundamental truth 5
You are exactly where you are meant to be in the here and now
Whether you are acting from your mental plane, buried deep in the material world, or from the spiritual plane, overflowing with wisdom, love and gratitude, you are exactly where you are meant to be in the here and now.
When we say that life is a journey, it means that like any journey there are multiple routes and each route has multiple stops or milestones, but in the case of life, our destination is the same – becoming one with our true self. Hence, no matter what you are experiencing on your journey right now, you are meant to experience it because all though you cannot see it yet, these experiences are designed to bring you back to yourself. Those of us who take up the materialistic route are bound to experience more bumps on the journey than those of us who take up a route that is directed by our soul. That is not to say that the soul path is free of any hard bumps, but it is certainly the most streamlined path to our destination.
Think of the bumps in your journey that make you question your path, like this – we need a bad dream to wake us up from our sleep state. Similarly, we need some intense experiences on our journey in life to pull us out of our distracted wakeful state and into the awoke state.
The most important truth, Fundamental truth 6
Life is so easy
Jon Jandai, a farmer from Thailand gave a TED Talk called Life is so easy. It is easy if we let go of attachment to outcomes and expectations from ourselves and the world. You can do so by being present in the here and now. When your sense of self is not attached to the external, you will inevitably feel aligned and connected with yourself. By constantly reminding yourself that this is but a game of life that should be experienced and learned from, you will release the pressure that you may be putting on yourself to excel or live a certain kind of a life.
This one is simultaneously hard and easy. It is very easy to surrender if you are fully aligned with your true self but surrendering is the single most hardest thing to do if you are still operating from your mental plane or the external plane. This is not to say that we shouldn’t fulfil our responsibilities. Definitely not. But differentiate between real responsibilities and those that you have taken upon yourself based on external desires.
Finally, Fundamental truth 7
Engage in Service
By engaging in service, you are essentially moving the focus from yourself and surrendering to selfless action. This simple change in mindset is enough to release you of any pressure and bring you closer to yourself.
Renowned motivational coach Tony Robbins was broke and had lost all hope when he decided to give the remainder of his money, a few dollars, to someone whom he saw at a cafe and thought was in greater need than he was. That selfless action released him of the heavy burden that he was carrying everywhere with him and soon after, opportunities starting flowing in. Helping someone in need is the best way to detach from our worries and that detachment is what it takes to put you in the right place at the right time.
I write about living from your true self in my blog called Source-Driven. Do give it a read and subscribe for a weekly dose of spiritual pick-me-up.