"We do not learn from experience...we learn from reflecting on experience." -- John Dewey
To fall in love with something that is capable of awakening our genius is not for the fainthearted. Trust me, I’ve been looking for a very long time.
There are no secrets -- mastery is up there somewhere but simply getting really good at something doesn’t mean it’s your calling -- but only a lot of suffering, hard work and introspection.
For most people, they give up trying to mirror their soul work with their paid work -- the latter always holds sway; but for those few souls who are willing to sacrifice everything, the rewards are much richer than bagging a bunch of material goods as a shrine to your efforts.
I could be wrong, but, save perhaps in the sporting arena where some people go beyond their childhood dreams, our (one) true calling is unlikely to be found in a rationalist, left-brain view of the world but something much more creative...and I’m not just talking about the usual substrate that makes up the genre. I’m talking about doing something that takes us to the edge and back, and yet we’re still driven to come back the next day, and the next, despite and in spite of the fact that there’s no material or ego-fantastic reward.
It could be a charitable project; it could be making something with our hands; or farming the land; or serving others. It doesn’t really matter.
The thing that matters is that you do it no matter what.
But of course we all know what stands between us and the enormity of our calling: fear.
Yes, but it’s your life we’re talking about.
This is where it gets tricky...really tricky.
In my view to get past the fear we have to be prepared to move out of our shadow existence, and, of course, some people never do. They stay rooted to the spot by dint of the fact that any change could just change the existing narrative. Not the whole thing, i.e. “I’m going to quit my job and give it all up for [insert details]” but instead just a very small part of their ordinary existence. I say this not as some universal truth but as someone who knows what it’s like to initially do nothing, then leap into the unknown, and finally draw back to the daily routine of change, but only so that I don’t end up living completely within my assumed capability.
If I’m still not making myself clear, here’s a few questions that bear on the issue:
What do you want to do with the rest of your life?
Are you prepared to sacrifice your life to live a shadow existence?
Were you born for this life as opposed to something more fulfilling, fun and loving (of everyone and everything)?
Are you willing to fail to fulfill your calling?
Are you willing to admit that you don’t know the answers to any of this stuff, and instead to fall more fully into the space you occupy?
Frankly, I could fill pages and pages with similar questions but what I’m really asking you to do is to go beyond the thinking process that’s filled up you mind for the last few years, and change the narrative in some way.
And I suppose that’s it really.
Change the narrative: we’ve got to find a way to change the way we see the world. If all we do is see it through the lens of the industrial complex then, frankly, it’s going to be impossible to see how you can live out your true calling. Why, because the system is set up that way: to keep you as you are, not as you might become.