Monday, August 20, 2012

Surrendering and Purpose

Sorry to be absent for a long time. I was on vacation, and I guess I needed a break from writing.

This morning, when writing for what I am grateful on my chalkboard, I made a mistake. With chalk, of course, you can erase mistakes easily, but I hesitated before grabbing the eraser. Sometimes mistakes are a great way to learn something about ourselves if we take a moment with them.

I started writing "I am grateful for Good Conversations..." but Good came out God. Essentially, I caught myself writing I am grateful for God. I don't like the concept God. I haven't liked it since I was ten, and 19 years of not liking an idea makes it difficult to appreciate. That doesn't mean I don't believe in a higher power. I just don't like the limited view a lot of western religion takes on God.

In the past few years, I found myself looking for a little more spiritual grounding. I really like the Dali Lama as a spiritual leader; his big thing is kindness, and I have been saying for years one doesn't need the threat of damnation to be kind. My take on life: you get out of it what you put into it. You put kindness and love in to the world, and people are going to respond in kind.

I've been reading a great deal lately, mostly because this is my last shot to read only what I want to read for a while. I've been drawn to writers like Deepak Chopra and Caroline Myss. I have had more interesting revelations in the last two months than most people have in a lifetime. I keep getting stuck on one point: Surrender to the path God has laid out for you.

I'm a pretty staunch believer in free will. A "Damn it I am in control of my life and if you don't believe me I will starve myself for a day to prove it" sort of staunch believer. This idea that some great big man in the sky has something laid out for me like an outfit for the first day of school: it annoys me. I know there is value in it, because people wouldn't write extensively about it if there wasn't, but I can't accept it on those terms.

In life coaching, we learn about something called "purpose". Purpose is the one thing that directs everything in your life. If you are living in your purpose, life feels like it is clicking along, you are successful, you are happy, you are able to live the way you feel you need to live. If you are living in ways that contradict your purpose, you feel alone, stressed, exhausted, and generally ill at ease. Don't ask me why, but I love the idea of purpose. Purpose is something I can get behind 100%, and if you ask me, I will tell you my purpose is to love (I'm not totally sure this is the right word, it might be respect).

How is this different from surrendering to God's will? I can't say it is. In fact, I'm pretty sure it is the same thing. Isn't living my purpose going to put me on some sort of path I might not have total control over? I'm going to make an experiment, and see if I can't insert the word purpose for God now and then. If I can more easily accept what I'm being presented with, I will know in my life, purpose and God are one and the same. Maybe purpose is given to us by God, but I'm still a little uncomfortable with that relationship.

It also could be the word surrender. It is possible I haven't totally disassociated the word from the idea of giving up. This step is going to be a challenge for me no matter how I dissect it, so I might as well stop trying to think it through and start trying to live it. I'm going to surrender to my purpose.

Which, if to love really is my purpose, is a pretty appealing thing to do.


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