I’ve been seeing this idea quite a bit recently that is very popular among entrepreneurs, coaches, and more New-Age spirituality – it’s this idea that you create your own reality; that achieving your goals, building the life you dream about, is just about envisioning it and “making” it happen, and remaining in a positive, grateful, energized state at all times.
To be fair, I do some of this visualization and gratitude work myself (although NOT during my centering practice, because that’s different – more on that below).
BUT if you go deep into any contemplative or mystical tradition there is a point at which you are called to let go and surrender your individual will to Something-Beyond-Yourself. At some point you have to reckon with your attachments to wanting and needing to have things turn out “YOUR” way. This addiction to MY way becomes the ultimate obstacle to spiritual growth.
I see so many people in the world of personal and professional development get stuck at this point; and I admit to being stuck here for quite some time myself . How do we reconcile these conflicting views, both of which claim to be spiritual truths?
We can look at this from multiple traditions:
- In Christian mysticism we are called to die to self so that Christ can live in and through us, and we do this through spiritual practices that help us cultivate interior detachment.
- In 12-step spirituality, the third step emphasizes “seeking only the knowledge of God’s will in our lives and the courage to carry it out.”
- In Buddhism, craving and attachment are the cause of all forms of suffering. Liberation from suffering comes from letting go of our ego’s attachments.
For those of us seeking to live as contemplatives and leaders in business and our organizations, How do we reconcile these two conflicting images of what counts as “success”?
The New York Times Bestselling author Caroline Myss points out that we are in the first period of human history where we have people like us – that is, busy professionals with careers, families, and mortgages – who are attempting to integrate a contemplative practice and interior disposition of detachment into our lives.
This is a massive undertaking! And it’s never been done before. In the old days, if you wanted deep union with God, you gave all that up, became celibate, gave away your possessions, and entered a monastery.
Let’s just savor the richness of what we’re trying to do here – if you’re still reading this post, then you are a part of a group of spiritual pioneers trying to work out an important evolution of human consciousness in the struggles of our daily lives! Just take that in for a minute… Do you think you can do it? And do you think you can do it just by visualization and positive thinking?
The reality is that there’s a grain of truth in the new-age idea of creating your reality. Your thoughts, feelings, and emotions have an energy and they will attract similar energies to you – this is part of the natural law, or the law of attraction. I practice visualization and gratitude for what is on its way to me (BUT I don’t do this during my daily centering practice, because that’s a call to a deeper surrender beyond what I could visualize.)
And you can get pretty far with this kind of positive-thinking approach. BUT here’s the deeper, more important, truth that self-help gurus and positive-thinking-motivational-speakers aren’t going to tell you – if you are truly committed to pursuing a contemplative path, at some point you will be called to face your own ego – your own limited, selfish desires and attachments.
And to put it bluntly – it’s going to suck…
The problem with the idea that you just have to visualize it and it will happen is that clinging to this belief can become a call to double-down on your ego’s attachments – and this will only increase your frustration and stress. It will block you from the next stage of your growth and evolution – both spiritually and professionally.
Many reach this point; few recognize the deeper opportunity that is being presented in the frustration. Even fewer have the courage to act on it. Those who make it to this point are being called into a deeper faith, it requires what St. John of the Cross calls a “dark faith.” It’s dark because you can’t see exactly where to go next, or what the final outcome will be.
That is when you know you’re being called into the contemplative transformation of a leader.
For those who experience this call in the middle of professional life, the modern contemplative path is not one of giving up everything, leaving your family and your job and your mortgage, to go join a monastery.
No, now you’re being asked to continue to use all the skills, knowledge, experience, and resources you’ve accumulated in this life and surrender it to a will that is so much larger, expansive, powerful, and loving than you can possibly imagine.
This Divine Will always desires the best possible outcome for you, your business or organization, the people you love, and your community… BUT Divine Wisdom will not allow you to grow into the next phase of your contemplative leadership while still hanging onto your old habits, narrow vision, and attachments to having to have success on YOUR own terms.
Perhaps you are wondering if you’re at this stage of growth? I talk with people every day on Breakthrough Sessions and my primary goal on these calls is to get total clarity on your current challenges, where you are being led to grow next, and to come up with a plan to get you there.
- For some people, they’re not at this point, or their problems are not ones I can help them solve… for them, I try to connect them with resources that I think will be helpful.
- For others, they are right on the edge of this deeper letting go… for them, I offer an invitation to go deeper:
- Some of them are ready to take action, and some of them aren’t (that’s up to you, not me, to decide – but I’ll support you 1000% percent if you’re ready!)
Are you at this stage of struggling between pushing harder to be successful, and being called to let go into something much bigger and more purposeful? It shows up at first as ordinary stress, but you will know if there’s a deeper spiritual unrest driving your anxiety.
Honestly, I don’t know. But One way to find out is to book your free Breakthrough Session – most of the session will simply involve me asking you questions to help you get total clarity on how to lead at a higher level, guided by divine wisdom, beyond your expectations.
If you’re curious about exploring this together, then I am inviting you to click that link right now and sign up for a time that works for you. Then all you have to do is answer your phone at the time you chose, and honestly, after that, it’s all guided by grace and Divine Wisdom as we continue our conversation… into whatever is next for you.
There’s only one way to find out what that next adventure is, and it’s to take action!
Thanks for reading and I look forward to talking with you soon! Click that link right now and I’ll talk to you soon.