“But we are supposed to do what’s important for others, right?” he asked somewhat intrigued at my proposal that he live a life centered on his purpose.
I reasoned that both are important: others’ happiness and also your own fulfillment. To be selfish is natural and necessary if it will help you render selfless service better in the long run. Many in this world live a disgruntled life while externally claiming to serve others tirelessly. And there are also those who can’t think beyond themselves and have an ‘I don’t give a damn’ attitude. Both types of people are unhappy and helpless victims of their own minds. But self-care with a desire to bring light to this world is healthy and deeply fulfilling.
Ravish confessed that when he joined the monastery, he was inspired to serve the deities in the altar and help in the publications department. He thought he had found his purpose. Slowly, others’ needs became so prominent that he ignored his own needs.
I suggested that for the next one month he render service that would help him connect better to his own self and offer that as a service to the society. Wonderfully, he made the shift and rediscovered his old self!
3. Entering a sacred wisdom space – the magic of ‘hearing.’
Adolf Hitler was introspective and also wrote diaries. Over the turbulent two decades of world history (1925-1945), he wrote almost ten books. However, during the same period he initiated the Second World War, caused the genocide of over five million Jews and under his Nazi regime over 20 million civilians and prisoners of war were killed. Moral of the story: without a conscience, our introspection is dangerous!
The first two practices of journal writing and introspection are incomplete without humbly entering a sacred wisdom space i.e, hearing the words of scriptures, holy books or revered saints submissively. As Steven Covey points out in his all-time classic Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that Hitler had self-awareness, imagination and willpower but no conscience. It’s this critical factor in aligning our consciousness to the ‘true north’- universal principles – that ensures our purpose adds meaning and joy to others’ lives as well.
To be continued…