What is the lens that you look through? As a coach, I see people struggling with a broad spectrum of the “How” and “Why’s” of accomplishment.
The search seems to fall into two broad categories: The “what” crowd ( boat, car, house, bank account, etc.), and the “why” crowd (I want a happier – wife, children, community, work place, ________, you fill in the blank!)
I suggest a synthesis. Usually by merging the “what’s” and the “why’s” you have a better chance of a happy ending. Will achieving the object of your desire create a feeling that blesses you and that_________?
Now we come to the “How”. I believe many people have been searching, sometimes inarticulately, for a more richly rewarding spiritual life. Two best-selling books, among others, on this topic are: Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl and Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.
I believe the reason so few who are looking are finding is the either/or model. Either I am dreaming about a 600SL Mercedes or I should be in some drafty monastery in northern Quebec praying twelve hours a day. Some may be called to this, but I don’t believe most of us have been.
Back to the lens: The lens you look through is the world you see. Can you have the new Mercedes and still be a blessing to man and God? Yes! Does it require clarity and regular priority adjustment? Yes again! It’s easy to get attached to stuff. (And yes, I am preaching to myself first!)
A Buddhist philosophy which is helpful in navigating these waters, and which is also central to Jesuit teaching, is striving for detachment. Things are useful, and the striving can be fun; it seems the trouble happens when we serve the things instead of having them serve us. Put another way, love people, and like stuff, not the other way around.
If you follow my blog, you know that I get great insight from Wisdom literature. Consider this – it speaks of where your treasure is, your heart will be also. Therefore you must ask yourself regularly, “what do I treasure?”.
We as a culture can easily fall into this or that thinking. So instead of “name it and claim it” (Prosperity gospel), we have often developed a mindset of lack, believing it shows our humility. I’ve actually heard someone bragging about how humble they are! Both of these positions can be backed up by “proof texting” found in Wisdom literature, where you read one or two lines and ignore the rest of the page or chapter, allowing you to take whatever you have found out of context, to back up your stance.
So now what? It seems that I have given you homework and not provided the textbook. Here is what I recommend; ponder, pray or meditate. Ask yourself “Does what Wayne is saying make any sense? Can I find, or am I in a community (a group of people not a geographical definition) where thoughtful people can tell me what they are finding or have found? Can I find a mentor to help me process this? Would a coach help me find direction?“.
I would love to hear if any of this resonated with you. Send me a note: firstname.lastname@example.org
As I have said before, I don’t have all the answers, but I do ask great questions!