LIVING FROM THE MEANING

At some point in life, human beings resolve their basic needs (afterwards it is time to face their higher needs): earn money, buy a house, form a family… they are no longer their sole existential motivation. That change in priorities is the fruit of an existential crisis, and then it passes from ambition to meaning.

Now, the great need is not to achieve more things, or successes, but rather discover who one is, and what the meaning of life is. They call it “Mid-life crisis.” Everybody has to confront this inflection point in our lives and orient it accordingly.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer is a reference for anyone. In his work: “The Shift,” he proposes one of the inflection points which we must all face at some point in life: the shift from ambition to sense. The first has to do with the appetite of the ego, or false self, and its gluttony; the second has to do with the real self, or the ‘Essential Being.’

It happens in our first years, when we all make up an ego with which we identify. That ego is the sum of mental concepts that configure an illusory or false identity, far removed from the spirit, and very close to the world of shape and matter. From ego, in the first phase in life, we idealize getting more: it may be to “have” or to “do” what we believe will make us happy.

As the ego seeks extraneous approval, in its confusion, it believes that personal value depends on the opinion of others. So, it attempts to be pleasant to everyone. And, when it understands the futility of its purpose, being liked by everyone, it starts another journey to nowhere: self-evaluation.

When the ego finds what it wants, its self-esteem increases; when it does not, it decreases. It has fallen into the self-evaluation trap, because ego does not recognize that the value of any human life, regardless of how that life is faring,is infinite; it makes no sense to “score” one’s self, be it a high or a low score. What the ego does not understand is that the only thing that must change is not the “score” it gives itself – good or bad – but rather the belief that it is possible to assign that score.

At a certain age, normally around forty, new values emerge, and that shift in value implies a change of lifestyle; and finally, things begin to add up. We need meaning, and not ambition.

Dr. Dyer thus encourages: “To pass from ambition to meaning does not make you lazier. In fact, you become more active. You do more things, and your CV expands. The list of accomplishments increases without end. But you stop being attached to that. You no longer need it. You live more of the process and less of the result.”This shift from ambition to meaning has four characteristics, as he explains, the shift: is intense, is surprising, is benevolent, and is durable.

In his work as a coach, Samso has realized that more and more people turn to coaching seeking sense and purpose in their lives. More than a life with results, they seek plentiful life. “Spirituality is not a luxury, a fad or an exotic whim; it is anauthentic necessity, like breathing. If you eliminate the factor of spirituality from the equation, you will not understand anything in life.”

What he has also learned, both by personal experience and by that of his clients, is that it is fine to have objectives, but that at an essential level, after achieving them, it does not have the slightest importance to achieve them. There is a huge difference between “having an objective” and the“objective having you.” The difference between both perceptions is in the attachmentpho, or absence thereof.

Discipline is the process, and perhaps the goal. What you achieve is anecdotal, because when you discipline yourself, you have recovered yourself, and you live with the self-esteem of providing yourself with everything.

MISSION IN ACTION

The idea of mission or purpose in life sounds grandiose and, in consequence, intimidates people: What was I born for? What must I do with my life? What am I predestined for?

These are frequent questions, at a certain age. And to dwell on that does not stop being disturbing. “What if I am wrong about my mission in life”? And so the years go by with that unpleasant feeling of being stuck and going nowhere.

We can simplify this decision process, so that you do not get it wrong. Your mission in life is to serve. Yes, to serve others, notto serve yourself, as you have been doing since you were born. It is about returning all that you have received from your ancestors, and compensating forall your blessings.

Serve in whatever you like most, but resolve some type of problem in someone’s life. Choose from the heart. Decide from the heart, and then follow that path until its end. Do not doubt half-way, or you will not make it. Do not change your mind halfway,or you will not finish anything. The goal is not what fails, but the lack of perseverance and firmness.

Samso insists that the “what” and the “how” do not matter. “In the end, if you examine your strengths, you will realize that you are valuable for a couple of things.” If you analyze your life you will see that everything converges toward one talent, skillor capacity. Or easier still: your mission is where your heart is. The iconic Mother Teresa puts it aptly:“Discipline is man’s best friend, because it makes him realize the deepest yearnings of his heart.”

So take that talent, passion or skill, and build your life around it. Not to care foryour needs, but to satisfy those of others (who are going through some sort ofproblem that you have decided to resolve). If you do it with love, you will haveno problems being disciplined, but on the contrary: you will not be able to not beit. “To help is a vital necessity of human beings, imprinted on our DNA; thesurvival of the species depends on it.”

Many people feel the need to help. Perhaps because they know that, by helping, they are helping themselves. Deep down, there is a mission to surrender to an objective greater that one’s self. The ego is diluted and love (for what you do) emerges. Samso believes that many hesitate to surrender to a mission because they feel that they must disappear as individuals,or shift their ego boundaries.

A mission is a magnificent chance to learn to persevere and do something good.It is a great lesson in perseverance and the more transcendent the mission, the more perseverance it will require. “We have all tasted what it feels like to start something and abandon it half-way. There is a bitter aftertaste of impotence and failure.”

To fulfill a life mission, that gives meaning to our existence, we do not onlyneed talent and skill, but something more important, and that is the discipline of perseverance. The goal is not wrong, the intelligence is not wrong, the opportunities are not wrong… those who do not insist hard enough fail.

And remember, one of the favorite definitions of discipline: “do what is required, for the time required, to achieve the best result.” And when you achieve it, you start over, because it is the process, and not the achievement, that speaks to your soul. Discipline, more than a behavior, is a mental attitude. Discipline comes afterwards, and from its reiteration comes habit.

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