There's a school of thought in spiritual circles that ascribes to the idea that everything that happens in our lives—the blissful things, the growth edge things, the horrid things—all happens with purpose. This spiritual teaching suggests that everything reflected in our lives is the result of our conscious or unconscious desires, and that when things aren't going our way, it's because the blueprint of the subconscious actually desires the very thing we think we don't want. In other words, we may believe that we want to meet the love of our life, or we may hope to have the cancer cured, but if someone were to muscle test us or read the subconscious mind intuitively, we would discover that at the level of the subconscious, we’re actually terrified of falling in love because of a past heartbreak, or the cancer is meeting some core need for rest, connection, or freedom from a toxic job, for example.
“Wait!” you say. “But I really DO want to find The One!” Or “Hang on a minute! I swear I want to be cured of my cancer.” Or “Watch it now. Are you suggesting that my business is failing because I want it to fail?”
Yes, and no. Those who promote this viewpoint are not suggesting that you CONSCIOUSLY want a crappy love life or cancer or failure in your business. They’re saying you subconsciously want it, and because your subconscious is in charge 95% of the time, this subconscious blueprint will sabotage the very thing your conscious mind wants to create. They say that everything in your life, you create. The good, the bad, the ugly—it’s all up to you.
Communing with the Pueblo ancestors at Bandelier National Monument
In the past couple of weeks, three people I love dearly died. Two were quite young and died tragically.
Scott was a beloved friend whose hand I held as he skyrocketed to very quick, meteoric fame. Scott, who founded Live Your Legend and gave this wonderful TEDx talk, died while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Scott and his wife Chelsea, who he has been with for more than a decade, had been traveling the world for the past eight months, checking one thing after another off their bucket lists. Every email I got from Scott while he was on the road was filled with exclamation points, laden with the exuberant enthusiasm that made everyone who met him fall in love with him instantly. After a day we spent together in the meditation garden at Green Gulch Zen Center, Scott wrote this fiercely brave blog post to reveal vulnerable details about himself as a way to inspire others to live authentically. He was so passionate about helping other people live authentic, vital lives that aligned with their callings that you could feel the fire in his soul burning through him and radiating out into the world. Some souls are just too big for their bodies. I can barely imagine a world without Scott in it. The day after Scott died, I was almost paralyzed with shock. But in spite of my inclination to stay in bed all day, I attended a sound healing conference, where this random woman came up to me and said, "You just lost someone you love. They want you to know that he was just called to a very important Divine assignment and has just been promoted to Lead Angel." Then she turned around and walked away. Later that day, a dear friend texted me to tell me Scott had just become Lead Angel. I can only imagine it must be true.
Recently, I spoke at Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit, where 3000 people who yearn to make the world a better place gather to inspire one another and compare notes. My talk was, in part, about sacred activism, how we can find and fulfill our spiritual mission and allow our gifts and talents to be used in service to our life purpose. As part of my call to spiritual action to those in the WDS community, I shared something I wrote about in my upcoming book The Anatomy of a Calling.
Once upon a time, I had the crazy thought that I had to save the world single-handedly. I won’t bother to list the number of ways this thought was misguided. Wait. Strike that. I’ll list a few ways in which I might have been totally off base.
What if it’s only my ego yearning to feel worthy that drives me to feel like it’s my responsibility to save the world?
What if I’m just judging the world as wrong, when on some cosmic level, it is perfect the way it is?
What if it’s impossible for any one person to save the world—yet paradoxically, it’s also the only way the world can be changed?
What if Margaret Mead was right when she said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has?”
What if it really takes a village to create a movement—and movements are what we need to really shift consciousness and lead to genuine change?
What if we can’t really change the world from the same egoic consciousness that created the problems in the first place? What if global transformation is only possible with a radical shift in human consciousness?
Certainly, you can make an argument that there are many things in the world in need of changing, but if you dive into the non-dual teachings of the spiritual realm, you can also make a case for how everything that is falling apart has cosmic significance, how as a species, perhaps we have chosen to journey this far into the disruption of Oneness, this far away from Love Itself, just so we can choose as a collective to participate in a revolution of love. (Listen to Charles Eisenstein and I explore this issue in a free teleclass The Revolution Is Love).
Perhaps Love Itself is yearning to reclaim its role as the central operating principle of our lives, and when we let it, it leaps us into inspired actions that change the world.
I travel a lot, and I meet the most well-intentioned, beautiful beings who are fighting against the injustices of the world. They stand for ending sexual violence against women, the destruction of Gaia, climate change, social inequality, and any number of other very good causes. I appreciate that these people are DOING something to heal the world. Their passion seems admirable and their commitment and self-sacrifice command respect.
Yet, I find something about the energy of some forms of activism weighing heavy on my heart.
We’ve all met the angry feminists that lash out at men, the rainforest activists who judge those who drill in the Amazon, and the Occupy activists who hate the 1%. But how can we possibly co-create a more beautiful world if we’re coming from the energy of judgment and hate? As one of my spiritual teachers said, (forgive her language), "Fighting for peace is like f*cking for virginity."
When I was in Australia speaking at the Uplift Festival in December, 70 spiritual self-help leaders, elders from the indigenous tribes of five different nations, and change-the-world activists spent a week before the festival participating in an ongoing conversation about the intersection of spirituality and activism. How do we marry the principles of "Being" that we learn through our spiritual practices with the practices of "Doing" embodied by many activists on the front lines of global change? Are we better off sitting on our meditation pillows, raising the vibration of the planet and emitting frequencies of love into the world? Or do we need to get off our pillows and go DO something? Is there a way to be even more effective by merging the two?