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What’s Missing When You Pray to Discover Your Purpose

Kirtomy View Point by Paul Wordingham of Flickr

Kirtomy View Point by Paul Wordingham of Flickr

 

Not all of my clients are religious, though most would claim to be spiritual. I am constantly working on procuring and presenting the scientific studies that continue to emerge to promote the benefits of ritualized higher communication, which I will define as an attempt to connect with any nonphysical entity perceived to have power. This can take many forms, including most commonly prayer and meditation. I have covered in previous blogs the scientific implications of meditation without fully realizing that some of my religious clients believe that praying is meditating. There is a very clear distinction between prayer and meditation; with prayer, you are TALKING and with MEDITATION you are SENSING.

Discovering your purpose can be a very confronting process where limiting beliefs about yourself and the world inevitably surface. The services that I provide that to help facilitate this process can be very challenging to answer, because it requires my clients to see themselves in a way they may not have been willing to or needed to in the past. It hurts their brain, and they are brilliant – it has nothing to do with intelligence. I encourage them to rely upon multiple methods and tools that have helped them increase self-awareness in the past, and provide them with new tools and methods that enable them to answer these questions as comprehensively as possible so that we can arrive at optimal conclusions about their future faster.

After all, a ship captain does not rely solely on his cutting edge navigation system; it could fail at any moment. He needs maps, and perhaps would even be wise to learn the age-old system of using the stars to navigate the seas in the case that his maps are lost or thrown overboard.

Meditation is one of many tools that have proven to be very effective at helping my clients, and myself, gain more clarity on meaningful questions about how to achieve the life we want.

I have no intentions of minimizing the power of prayer, as it too has been scientifically proven to cause results and I have seen it work in my own life. However, the shortcoming of relying on this method alone is that the answers to your prayers can come in so many different ways, and they can be easy to mistake as insignificant coincidences. In order for this to be an effective method, you also have to attune yourself to be completely receptive to your answer and have unwavering faith that the answer will appear without using reason or logic to question that answer. You have to LISTEN for something beyond yourself.

Have you heard the story of the man who was warned by all of his town officials to evacuate to a shelter due to expected flooding? The sheriff came and knocked on his door personally after the rest of the town had already found safety and he refused, insistent that God will save him. As the floodwaters started to rise, a boat came by to take him to safety, but the man insisted that God will save him, and so he stayed, moving to the second floor. The floodwaters continued to rise until the only place the man had left to be safe was on his own roof. A chopper flew by and sent a rope down. The man refused this last attempt of human help. The waters continued to rise and in desperation the man cried out to God, “Why didn’t you come save me? I had faith that you would get me to safety.” God replied, “I sent the sheriff, I sent a boat, and I sent a chopper. What else did you want from me?”

What did the man think the help was going to look like? Perhaps he thought God Himself would come and raise him up to the heavens.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we have a lot of noise to sort through in order to hear or see the answers and resources that are truly all around us. Besides needing the faith to know that the answers are really there, you need to create quiet in the noise in order to notice the answers.

Meditation is a practice, albeit challenging for most, that requires us to be still, eliminate self-talk, and sense, as opposed to thinking. The best answer does not always come from our logical brain. Our logical brain will provide us with valuable input, but just like relying upon one form of increasing self-awareness limits how self-aware you will become, not consulting your intuition and your subconscious will narrow your spectrum of possibilities, risking that you will dismiss a very viable future as too far-fetched. We often focus prematurely on the HOW before we are clear on the WHAT. Another risk is that you simply will not be able to bring to light the things you don’t even know are possible.

Meditation is one of many powerful ways to attune yourself to be more receptive to the answers to your prayers, and I’m sure you have already heard about the studies that link meditation to other health benefits, including stress management.

Stress management is critical when you are in a state of flux in your life. The things that life throws at us can be that much more difficult to gain a sense of control over when we feel our future is out of control. The fear and anxiety that problems in life cause can be that much more of an inhibitor to our ability to be attuned and awakened to how to create alignment between our reality and our vision of an ideal future.

 

Meditation and prayer, as well as engaging experts in the job market like me, can all be powerful tools to help you accelerate what is usually the very uncomfortable stage of career discovery. When you are in flux, you don’t have a destination, and therefore are unable to gain control of your vocation navigation. Not everyone minds drifting aimlessly from port to port, but it will make some sea sick, and you eventually need to reach port to acquire the food and resources you need to live.  Wouldn’t you agree that it would be even better if that port has the potential to provide you with the resources for a fulfilled, happy life that you might even call home?

 

How I saved myself from me

I beat myself up pretty bad sometimes. Last week was a doozy.  It seemed like anything that could go wrong did go wrong. Usually I know what to do to take myself out of a tailspin; I’ll plug my phone into the radio, and play some motivational, informational YouTube video try to find my center and gain a better perspective, perhaps Tony Robbins, Stephen Covey, Jim Rohn or Deepak Chopra, etc.  This was a futile effort, similar to when I try to meditate for just 15 minutes while I hope my kids play safely and quietly in another room, but I’ll hear them fight or get hurt or break something, and it’s as if I should never have tried to meditate in the first place. It’s as though I’m even more angry that I can’t just have 15 minutes to restore my energy and focus. Every attempt to find my center last week was interrupted by a variety of saboteurs: kids misbehaving, things breaking, technology not working, weather changes, unnecessary messes, plans being broken, sickness, infestations – you get the picture. I was looking forward to making progress on four major initiatives. There were client projects that I was excited to start or complete. I had administrative projects, like my taxes, that I was anxious to get done. On top of that, the dishes in the sink were piling up, the messes my kids were making were beginning to accumulate, and the cat box was in desperate need of changing. I was defeated and disappointed in myself. I felt swallowed by chaos. Been there?

 

Having shared with you before and knowing well that resilience is the number one quality of successful people, I garnered my grit. In spite of how I felt, I was somehow able to keep going.  Once I was over what I hoped to be the worst of it, I decided that I would make a list of everything that I was actually able to do that week in spite of the relentless kamikaze challenges.  After I made this list I felt powerful. Without my permission, Katy Perry’s Roar was playing loud in my head like an anthem. I was in awe of myself.

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obstacles and achievements p3obstacles and achievements p4The next day, it was almost like I was challenging something to go wrong. I had my game face on, the one I learned to give pitchers when I finally gained confidence at the plate as a senior. I was like, “Go ahead and try me.” Coincidentally, it was one of the best days that I’ve had in a while. Things went pretty smoothly, until my throat became sore. I knew I was getting strep, because my girls just had it. I almost asked myself, “When will this ever end?” Then I laughed at myself – out loud.  The answer is: it won’t end. The good news is, I’m getting better at dealing with what comes while keeping my focus forward. I had no idea I was improving like this until I made that list.

 

We all beat ourselves up from time to time. That list of things we want to do does not seem to get shorter, and maybe it shouldn’t. The list of what we have to do will never be completely done as long as were alive. That’s just what’s so. I realize with magnified clarity that I am a warrior training to be able to handle bigger problems so that I can do bigger things in this world. That is how I choose to see it, and as long as I do, I have the power.  So, bring it!