"Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future." -- Robert H. Schuller
Okay so now we've expanded our awareness and explored meditation, great! But why? What's the point of all this? The point is to create a life worth living. Once you've opened up the doorway to your soul, creation will start flowing through you. You've started to break down the walls that trapped your being; limitations that have kept you from living out of your highest potential are starting to be erased. You're finally wiping away the dust on the mirror to see what's truly there. Now the fun begins!
Who doesn't want to create a life of love and passion where we're able to follow our bliss and achieve things we've always wanted and desired? Ah desire... such a tricky word in a spiritual context. Buddha would suggest that desire is the cause of all suffering. And that's a valid argument... I know it's certainly true in my own life. "I want to be in a Broadway show, I want to star in a film, I want to be a series regular on the TV show... Damnit, why isn't it happening yet!?" When our desires don't come true it's easy to get depressed, lose sight of our goal, and then quit. But perhaps there's a way to still have desires without suffering. Perhaps there's a way to trust a higher consciousness and know that you will be provided for. In our world it's next impossible not to have desires, unless you're a monk, but even monks have the desire to have no desires... It's tricky huh?
Take a look at Deepak, the very same guy who was teaching us all about mindfulness. Does he not have desires? Of course not! I would not have been sitting in the audience listening to a man doing a public television taping about the "Future of God" if he didn't have any desires. It took years of training, exploration, engagement, strategy, and luck to get to where he is. He had to have desires to get to where he is now, truth be told, he is a business. So then how does one of the most prolific thought leaders justify his desires? Does he avoid suffering?
Well, I was about to find out as Deepak began Act Three of the "Future of God..." a new recipe for prayer.
Side note: Oh no, the "prayer" word... I know what you're thinking: prayers don't work. That's for religious people. What a waste of time! Well what does prayer even mean? According to the dictionary, it is, "An earnest hope or wish." So if you read 'prayer' and different connotations come to mind, think of 'prayer' as a hope or a wish. You see, we're always praying. Whether or not we're praying to a higher source is irrelevant because we all have hopes and wishes, some that are consciously called forth and some that are unconsciously spilling out of you.
1. Stillness of Mind.
2. Focused Awareness.
3. Letting Go.
Preparation Time: Years
When praying for something, ask yourself these three questions... How deep in the mind is my intention? How steady is my intention? How willing am I to let go of my intention?
Cook Time: Always
1. Stillness of Mind (covered mainly in part 2):
If you don't have a still mind, you can't know what you really want. How could you if your thoughts are all over the place? We have to be able to focus in on one desire. That's why meditation is so important, because it trains your mind to be still. As you become more and more still, your true desires, or what you're praying for, becomes clear. If you don't know what you want, then you're not going to get it.
2. Focus awareness:
Desire doesn't conflict. If you know what you want, then you're not going to feel conflict inside of yourself anymore. You know what you're after and now you just have to focus on getting it. Too often we lose sight of our goal and we don't follow through... trust me, I'm notorious for this. I'm always starting new projects that don't get finished. Perhaps that's because I didn't really know what I was focusing on. Sometimes it takes dabbling and experimenting in all kinds of different things to really figure out what you're going after. Also, I'm intensely curious about so many things... and that's great... but it often leads to unproductive multitasking.
I'll let you in on a little secret. Multitasking is a myth- it doesn't work! We are not meant to multitask; the reptilian part of your brain is simply incapable of doing it effectively. So every time you focus on something and then your mind goes to something else, you're losing the power of intention, the power of your prayers.
One tool that's really helped me focus is Neil Fiore's book "The Now Habit." You can actually download and get free instructions about how to schedule your time here.
Aside from just focusing in the short term, are you multitasking in the long term? Meaning, are you trying to achieve a million different things in a million different industries? Or are you starting here, starting there, and never getting anywhere? I know myself it's hard to stay focused on one desire, especially when it doesn't seem to be coming true. That's the hardest part about focusing awareness, keeping at it even when it doesn't seem to be happening. Again, this is where desires are thought to produce suffering. You can want something for so long and if it doesn't come true, we slowly give up and it leads us into a depressive state. As Ross Perot says, "Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one-yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown." What if you're one yard away? Or what if you're on the wrong field? Maybe it's not your decision... maybe you can still desire but be free of suffering.
But why are prayers (hopes/desires) often linked to suffering? Well, because a lot of times prayers are not answered like they're supposed to be! "Supposed to be" however is something we've made up. Sometimes we don't know what we really want, and that's why expanding your awareness and opening the door to your true intentions is so important if we're to really know what we're asking for. We think we know, but it's just our thoughts about who we think we are (ego) instead of who we really are (inner being). So keep cooking!
Ready In: Who knows...
3. Letting Go.
Yes, your focus has to be steady, but it also has to be fluid. It seems like a contradiction, I know. But you have to accept things as they are, while believing in the wisdom of uncertainty. Our suffering comes from not letting go! We don't know what we don't know. Point being, what are you really after with your desire? Does it have to be so specific? Perhaps your prayers are being answered but your tunnel vision prevents you from seeing other possibilities that are coming into your life.
In my own life, massive amounts of suffering have been produced by not getting cast in certain acting gigs that I wanted. But what am I really after? Hmm... well, I'm trying to use my talents as a performer, as a storyteller, and as a communicator to inspire others. So that's my true prayer. And suddenly, as if by magic, I've been asked to do all these speaking gigs and to coach people even though I wasn't asking for that directly. Though it may not be the specific vehicle that I was trying to drive, it's still taking me down the same road of my prayer. This alleviates suffering because I trust that my prayers, the deeper desire found in the stillness of my mind, will be answered. Of course I'm still working hard, setting goals, trying not to get distracted, and challenging myself; but I'm also open to new possibilities.
So could it be that your prayers are coming true? Could it be that you're being asked to drive a different vehicle but still heading down the same road? Making our desires come true takes work, but it doesn't have to produce suffering if we can trust in the unknown.
• Write out your goals in life.
• Go deeper and uncover what's truly underneath the goal.
• Set out to accomplish your goal with focus and clarity.
• Let go of the "specific" intention and be open to receiving what's really underneath your goal.
So, what ingredient above do you find yourself running out of in the kitchen? I'd love to hear in the comments because if you can identify it, then you can take steps to make sure you have enough of it. And even better, we can keep each other accountable. Once you're honest with yourself, you'll be self-aware of where you need to level up... which leads to the last blog in this series of the "Future of God": self-awareness. Leave a comment! Stay tuned!