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22nd Nov 17
How often do you find yourself wondering what your life’s purpose is? If you’re lucky enough to have found it, that’s fantastic! Most of us however are left wondering, what’s it all about eh, this life of ours?
In many Eastern philosophies, Dharma is the term used to describe life’s purpose. It stems from Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language and translates as ‘pillar’, that which upholds. So really, when we are looking for our purpose in life, we are searching for the pillar, the very thing that upholds our whole existence. These ancient teachings tell us that everyone has their own special gift, a gift which allows us to make a difference to others, to touch, heal or serve them in some way but how can we find our purpose? Where do we start?
Life changes. Think for a moment about your life from childhood to adulthood, everything that you have been through, all the major impacting experiences and all the twists and turns that have got you to where you are now. How often has your pathway changed, your beliefs been challenged or overturned? Maybe there have been times in your life where you thought you were living your purpose but at the drop of a hat your circumstances changed and somehow you were back to feeling unfulfilled. When we lose sight of our purpose we can feel anxious, uncertain and even hopeless. We can feel depressed, our future clouded in a veil. And so we search for the answer, any answer to help relieve the stagnation and hopefully propel us into some amazing realm of untold happiness. And the clue is in the searching. When we search externally, whether that’s reading the latest self-help book or listening to the wisdom teachings of a guru, we are handing over our personal responsibility and hoping that someone will give us the answer and tell us what we should be doing. If only life was so simple!
Have you ever heard yourself thinking ‘When I have … or, when this happens, then I’ll be happy?’ What if I told you, that searching externally for the answers was futile and that actually you already have the answers within? Right there in our very inner core rests the solution. Before we can access our deep inner wisdom, we need to practice self-care, self-belief. We must nourish our core needs of love, belongingness, affection, appreciation, attention and acceptance and then connect to our inner voice, because that way we are coming from a completely difference perspective, not one of ‘lack, desperation or need’ Maybe you’ve heard the saying: ‘Happiness is an inside job’? Here we can arm ourselves with the tools to be centred and to follow our passion.
So how do we know if we are following our dharma or that we’ve discovered what our life’s purpose is? You know it’s not always a massive revelation or an astonishing light bulb moment. Our true purpose can run quietly in the background. Maybe, unknowingly, you’ve spoken kind words to another that has changed their life dramatically for the better. Maybe those few kind words have unknowingly saved a life. Our life’s purpose isn’t about puffing our chests out and strutting about on ego because ‘we are someone or the do you know how important I am attitude, or collecting material belongings’ it’s the work we quietly do, the smile to a stranger, the kindness to an animal, all these simple little things that add up, that actually make a massive difference. It’s the reaching out to another soul in need, it’s extending the hand of help or friendship, sticking up for the underdog, those unconditional random acts of kindness where no reward is expected. That’s what brings purpose to life.
We can find the answers to our questions by turning within. It’s not always guaranteed that the answers are going to be forthcoming immediately, sometimes there are things that we are not ready to hear and that aren’t ready to be revealed because we have more experiences to encounter first. To begin the journey, find some time to settle down, away from any distractions and follow the gentle rhythm of your breath for a while, with each outbreath allowing the body and mind to relax deeper. You may find that the mind is in endless chatter mode, just accept that and watch what’s going on in there with curiosity, not judging or criticising yourself. Be an observer to your thoughts without engaging in conversation with them. Give yourself permission to relax and then ask yourself the following questions:
What do I like to do? What activity fills me with passion?
And pause and wait to see what bubbles up. Then ask yourself:
What makes time stand still for me? What puts me in the zone?
Pausing once more to listen to stillness and silence within and then ask:
What brings me joy? What brings me fulfilment?
Listen intently, not trying to search for or demand the answers and then ask:
What is it that I am truly good at? And, how can I use this gift to help others?
The answers that unfold whether it be immediately or after some time is the starting point in discovering your true purpose in life. Meditation is not called a ‘practice’ for nothing so practice! As you begin to gain clarity on what it is you truly love to do, the answers will start to unfold so invest some time in that stillness and silence and do remember, your life’s purpose will evolve throughout your life because life never stays still, does it?
Ann runs meditation classes every Monday morning at 9.30am to 10.30am and every alternate Monday 7.30pm to 8.30pm. All the details can be found here:
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Mondays 9.30-10.30am. Evening class on alternate Mondays 7.30-8.30pm.
QiGong Evening Class
On alternate Mondays 7.30-8.30pm.
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