In the last post, we delved into the need to uncover authentic desire. Whether we know it or not, our deepest desire drives our destiny. The mind can clutter and obscure authentic desire and we end up chasing things that never satisfy us. Not living our authentic desire leads to deep-seated dissatisfaction, causing inner conflict and restlessness. Not aligning with our authentic desire leaves us wanting more, like we haven’t lived to our fullest potential. To live fully, we need to unearth what it is that we really want. The “last-day-of-life meditation” is a powerful tool to unearth this desire. This desire can be used to fuel our actions and create our destiny.
It was exhilarating for me to discover my passion for writing even though it was not exactly a surprise. I’ve geeked out on syntax, grammar, word choice and creativity in language for as long as I remember. Well-written books and articles bring me to tears as much for the style of expression as the content. My love of writing was obscured by “other” desires and goals, like establishing a medical practice and raising a family. However, the authentic desire for expression never went away. It unconsciously drove my career choice where writing scientific papers, reviews and book chapters became facets of my daily work. When I started blogging years ago, I realized that writing nourished my soul. Whether it is a scientific paper, a blog post or a clinic note, the process of writing is deeply satisfying for its own sake. Whether or not a manuscript is accepted at my targeted journal or whether anyone is reading the blog post I painstakingly wrote is irrelevant.
As important as it is to unearth our authentic desire, it is only the first step. The desire is most useful if it fuels our actions. Like a wheel, desire fuels consistent action. Consistent action opens us to deeper authentic desire and further clarity of purpose. Purposeful action creates our destiny. While this is a process we must traverse in our own unique ways, here are 5 simple steps that might be useful for you:
- Allow. Writing about yoga or the divine feminine has nothing to do with my job. When I first began writing, I worried about what my colleagues would think, and whether it would affect my credibility. The more I dug in to my own purpose, I realized that it didn’t matter. Not allowing this passion to arise and shape my life was stifling. Firstly, acknowledge your authentic desire. Don’t worry about whether it is right or wrong, whether it makes sense or not, and whether it is applicable to your life. Let your passion speak. Say you have a corporate desk job and what really drives you is music. Allow this love and dream of playing music to consume you. Sure, it has nothing to do with your job and you can’t make a career out of it (yet). Let it surface anyway. Allow the natural excitement of your interest to fill you up.
- Research. The next step in the desire-t0-destiny process is to research your passion. Become curious. Read up on the genre, the instrument and the musicians. Look up online and social media groups with similar interests. Join in the conversations. The advantage of living in this age of information is that there is no dearth of learning material or inspirational, like-minded folks. Use technology to your advantage. Cultivate enthusiasm for your desire.
- Apply. This is the critical next step. When I started blogging, I was periodically overcome with self-doubt and inertia. They arose from feeling that I was wasting time, that I should be doing something else, or that nobody was reading my writing. Again and again, I was pulled into writing despite the mind’s chatter because it was so joyful. It was not enough to research and read up on my favorite authors. I had to actually write. Take your interest and just do it (thanks, Nike!). Commit to 10 minutes initially (nobody can say they don’t have 10 minutes). Take the instrument out of the case. Tune it. Play it, even if it is for 5 minutes. The most important thing is your attitude. Bring your curiosity and enthusiasm from your research and discussions into the process. Make it fun.
- Re-evaluate. Check in when you are doing the activity. Does it feel joyful? Even if it is challenging, does it make you feel alive and vibrant? Do you lose yourself in it with no cares of the past or future? Do you love the activity for its own sake without worrying about what you will gain from it? Do you feel you could do this all day every day, given a choice? If the answer to all of the above is a resounding yes, you’ve nailed it. You’ve found your authentic desire. Become accustomed to this inner joy. Favor it every time. Soon, the activity will become a habit if you favor your joy.
- Intensify. Once my self-doubt about writing was mitigated, I began to write with abandon, participating in groups and learning from those whose style I love and admire. I enjoy interacting and learning from writing tasks. When the self-doubt arises, it is remedied by allowing the love of writing to take center stage again (Step 1). Once you’ve aligned yourself with the joy of doing, kick it up a notch (or several notches). Increase the time you commit to the activity. Reorganize your schedule. Practice more. Take a lesson. Or learn on your own.
At some point, we may be tempted to ask, “Fine. What then? How is this going to pay my bills? Will I make money off of it?” The answer is maybe. Or maybe not. Making a living is a respectable goal. How we want to live is a different goal. When we allow our heart’s desire to sprout, the two goals may come together in unexpected ways. Keeping an open heart and allowing our inner wisdom to bloom are essential ingredients for magic!
Radical Beauty Ritual:
- After you’ve applied the five steps for a few weeks, do the last-day-of-life meditation again.
- What comes up now? Is the passion still the same?
- If the five steps are in line with your authentic desire, it will come up again with clarity and certainty. As you get to the last moments of your life in meditation, a sense of peace will prevail.
- If you’ve dabbled in the activity to fulfill superficial desires, you will quickly lose interest in it.
- Here are some examples of inauthentic or “borrowed” desires that will not inspire you to keep up the commitment:
(a) Trying to live up to an ideal image of yourself.
(b) Trying to please someone else.
(c) Because it might be fun to try it.
(d) Because someone else is doing it.
(This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try something for fun, of course! We are talking about creating destiny here and not casual activities).
Hope this gives you something to ponder about and put in practice. As always, do share your thoughts in the comments below.
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