For most of us, adult life begins with following what everyone else is doing. We trudge on along the beaten path, hoping to find our happiness somewhere on the way. But, with time, many realize that their calling lies in a different direction. Often this realization seems to lead us away from the masses and towards an unbeaten path. The uncertainty and possible perils of such a journey induce intimidation and fear in most. Most will never dare on this path.
There may have been times when you broke out of your comfortable shell and took on this unbeaten path. You saw a light in the distance and felt attracted to it. There probably was some hesitation, you were scared. But your determination and curiosity were greater. You drew a deep breath, summoned all your courage and broke out of the herd, all alone.
The path was long. You made plans, you followed them diligently, you became a daring adventurer. The new direction aligned with your heart and the journey gave you a sense of freedom. You felt alive!
You probably haven’t reached the light yet. The journey is still on. The initial enthusiasm has probably come down slowly. You enjoy the journey none the less and accept the reality of it. The uncertainty of this journey doesn’t scare you, you have made peace with it and accept it as a part of the trade.
But ever so often, you find yourself on the cross roads again. Doubts start creeping up. You come to a place where you are not sure which way to go. You feel unsure whether it was a wise decision to have come on this path, you are not sure which of the multiple direction that you see here you should follow. Maybe the light that seemed so clearly in the beginning has become a little hazy, maybe it has become a little less attractive.
Should you just turn back and try to find your way back to the direction of the crowd? On one hand, you enjoy adventure, you feel that you can not enjoy the drudgery of following the masses. You do not want to go back to something you don’t like and accept defeat in the process. On the other hand, you are not sure whether you want to keep moving forward.
Should you accept defeat? Or should you carry on?….
First and foremost, I think the question above is the voice of the ego self. Your ego holds itself higher than others(because of the courage you had shown earlier) and does not want to ‘fall’ back to their level. Also, it is afraid of what will happen on the current lonely path. It is scared of staying without control, of not knowing what to do next. It is scared that the heart will lead you to doom.
Doubts and growth
The path of the heart is not a one way ticket to doom. It has scary moments, when you become clueless or when you fail in a grand way. You start doubting your heart when it leads you to confusion. But confusion is not bad. These recurring moments, when you are unsure of yourself and your life, are moments of learning and growth. You probably have better questions now than the last time you were in doubt. You may not have reached your dream goal but you have improved, you have learned and you have grown. There are more steps to go. You will get there in time.
If you focus solely on being in control, on finding answers, you may loose the lessons. Being humble, open and receptive will help you in assimilating new lessons and insights. Be ready to be surprised pleasantly by the new avenues that come up. It is sometimes in these moments of loosing control, in these moments when the intellect starts shutting down, that quantum leaps in growth happen. You may witness a sudden rise in your sinking enthusiasm levels, you may find new meanings in life.
Less money on this path?
Some fear their heart will always lead them to lesser money. The heart only leads you to that which you truly enjoy, and that may mean taking on lesser paying jobs for some(not for all). But think about it, it is happiness that you ultimately want. If you are getting it with lesser money, why would you want more? In fact, more money than is necessary can cause a lot of unhappiness, since you will be worried about handling it properly.
Of course, if it is expensive things that you find happiness in, your heart will lead you to it.
In any case, it will make sure you take care of your basic needs, it will take care that you do not starve or do not loose true and close friends.
What your heart might make you loose is doing things to just comply with social norms, trying to appease others, to fit in. It will take you to what you, as your unique self, will most enjoy your life with.
Aliveness and the heart
In a sense, moments of doubt are also moments that make you feel more alive than ever. If you just allow them, these moments often lead to such crystal clarity that you again start working with passion and enthusiasm. That is something a lot of people would give anything for, for they have lived safe lives that have now become meaningless and directionless. They can not, for the life of them, realize what’s wrong? Why do they not feel enthusiastic about their lives when they have all the comforts and securities one could ask for? They crave for the enthusiasm you have gained by braving your doubts.
Urge to quickly define things
When in doubt, you may have a strong urge to reason things out in your mind. You may find a solution with all this thinking, or, as often happens, you may find that no solution is forthcoming, no matter how much you push your intellect.
This overpowering urge to be in complete control, to have all the answers often makes us want to jump to conclusions, especially when they are about ourselves. We try to quickly define, name and label ourselves and our situation, and find security in these explanations.
Unfortunately, trying to define things does more harm than good. We are looking for the truths of our life. But the thing is, truth and reality are fluid, they are constantly changing. If we give ourselves a definition(I am good at such and such, this or that is not my cup of tea), we instantly limit ourselves. Also, these definitions are usually very extreme as they are inspired by our fears.
Uncertainty is the way of life, especially on the path of our heart. Seeking security and complete control won’t help here, what may help is faith…
Faith and hanging on
Above and beyond confusion, when your mind is totally clouded and intellect seems to be failing in providing an answer, what matters is your faith. What matters is carrying on with a deep connection to yourself such that you neither beat yourself up and try too hard for an answer, nor leave the effort completely. You sort of hang on. You have no idea absolutely of what is best now. But you hang on with faith and you stay connected to your Inner Self. You hang on with alertness and full awareness, ready for the solution to show up.
And when the solution shows up, you follow it, whether it takes you in the same direction, a new one, or leads you back to where you came from, the masses.
Until next time…