Mindset Training Week 3: Purpose
Growing up in Twin Falls, Idaho, my best friend Lacey and I would play the game of MASH. You know, the one where you predict your grown-up life, house, car, number of children, and which one of your crushes would be your husband? One, two, three, four, opening and closing the origami flower to reveal our futures. Lacey and I played it countless times. Looking back now, it seems a cheap commentary on what girls are taught they need to have in order to have a fulfilling life. Once you are grown up, you find a job, land a husband, buy a house, and have some kids. Right? This game was a poor predictor for my life because I never chose a micropod apartment, zero children, and no husband—which is where I landed at age 43.
At the close of my thirties, I knew my fertility window was narrowing. An elderly client who came in to see me every few months would always ask if I was dating anyone. Every time I’d say no. She would follow up by asking how old I was. Each time, a little bit older. She’d pause and reply, “You still have time.” After a while she’d pause even longer, and then uncertainly trail off: “Oh…” I guess that’s when I ran out of time.
Romantic ideations, cultivated by books, movies, and incomplete stories I’d been told growing up, led me to believe that my soul partner was out there—I just had to meet him, perhaps in the produce section reaching for the same bunch of bananas. Where was he? There were so many logistics to meeting someone, dating, getting married, and having children, none of which I wanted to rush. I was open to meeting a compatible partner, but every man I met who had qualities I found attractive was unavailable in some way. I signed up for a dating app and swiped left on just about everyone. The thought of putting time and effort into meeting complete strangers and navigating their unwanted advances or interviewing them to be my husband sounded awful. Annoyed at the waste of time, like many single women, I deleted the apps. After this happened several times, I asked myself, Is a husband and children my destiny or am I trying to force something that is not meant to be?
I didn’t know. So I made a choice: to give myself permission to not have a partner, and to stop pinning my hopes and happiness on an unknown factor. Instead of waiting for my mate while choosing my vegetables, I was going to relentlessly pursue my purpose. My value in society wasn’t going to be being a wife or mother, it was going to be something else.
The quest for earthly purpose is like following a map to buried treasure. Prior to getting to X marks the spot, the route winds around the map with a series of stops. At times, I didn’t know exactly what my purpose was or where to find it. Other times, I marched toward it with confidence. Initially I didn’t have my compass calibrated correctly and was stumbling sideways. Often, I felt I was navigating toward a moving target, unsure I would reach the final destination in this lifetime. Once I made knowing my Self purpose number one, a light bulb turned on. I realized: It’s okay if I don’t know exactly where I’ll end up in this physical plane of existence, because my spiritual purpose will illuminate the way.
This determination was what led me to Thailand, adding yoga instructor to my list of skills. Passionate about people in my career as an energy healer and esthetician, I increased my focus on building my life independent of a man and making a difference in the lives of others.
Connection to God through meditation brought the knowledge of Self with its unlimited potential and love for my experience in the physical body. Because of this knowledge, I feel more sure of myself. I trust each stop along my path will uncover the next clue. I believe this to be true because of faith in a higher power who loves me and will not fail me. God wants me to succeed. Life has taught me that I cannot know everything, and I am better off having faith rather than fear of the unknown or worry I am making the wrong choice. Faith moves me forward and fear paralyzes me. All the twists and turns give me experience, knowledge, and adventures, and what brings me comfort and satisfaction beyond all else is the belief that my existence has a purpose. I believe this because I put conscious effort towards knowing my Self as a part of God. When I sit in silence, I do not feel void. I feel expansive. I feel supported. I feel unlimited. This shifted my perspective from confusion to excitement about my earthly existence. This life is a great mystery, and I will continue to evolve my quest for the constantly moving X.
FOLLOW YOUR PURPOSE
The purpose of this program is to teach you how to awaken your unlimited Self, and by doing this, manifest your greatness in this earthly life. Knowing and loving your Self is your number one goal. Just as you thought of yourself as having a higher and lower mind, consider life as having a bifurcated purpose. There is your purpose on the earth. This is tangible in nature, your occupation, your family, what you do. You can measure and quantify it. But there is also your spiritual purpose, to know the Self as part of God. Self is individualized consciousness. God is omniscient, omnipresent consciousness flowing through all of creation. You may call it God, like I do, or substitute a term that suits your beliefs, Source, Truth, Universal Intelligence, Cosmic Consciousness, Higher Self. These terms are all interchangeable with God. If you are unsure, that’s okay too. Your knowledge of something greater than you will develop through the program. Knowing your Self as part of the whole is your divine purpose. Put God first. Everything else is secondary.
As you get to know the infinite part of you by following this program, you will be guided to your tangible, earthly purpose. Trust in the overarching singular goal of knowing Self as a fragment of something greater than you. You will build this trust with your meditation practice, easing the stress and tension of constantly seeking and questioning your physical life purpose.
Your life purpose will become clear to you as you make your way through the exercises in this program. You can easily stress yourself out by trying to figure out too soon the exact reason for existence or how to achieve a singular goal. Rather than seeking your purpose like one single buried treasure, consider that your life has infinite treasure troves. Multiple Xes marking the spot. Your ultimate purpose can be elusive, because it’s greater than you can comprehend. This emphasizes the need to trust and be flexible en route, recalibrating your compass to new coordinates when you are fighting hard against the current of expectation. Contentment in life is found on the adventurous path of seeking. See each booby trap as an exciting opportunity, a treasure of growth.
As you traverse life’s treasure map, your inner compass realigns with your infinite purpose when you pause in meditation. The daily practice of self-observation gives space for the mind to let go of attachment to the house, the job, the kids, the partner—the things out of your control—and trust the inner guide. It does not mean you won’t have those things; if they’re part of your purpose, you’ll be motivated to seek them out and they will be magnetized toward you. If something is not a part of your purpose, then you’ll free yourself to use that time and energy on what your purpose really is.
When I stopped to align, I wasn’t compelled any longer to pursue a partner. I was motivated to go back to school and complete my bachelor’s degree, open my own business, and improve my health. My contentment is not from anything outside of me. It’s from knowing that my soul is constantly evolving. Each stop in pursuit of the constantly advancing X is a gift, an opportunity to re-orient toward your treasure, your purpose, your soul’s growth. Fulfillment comes from following your soul’s map to enlightenment, not anyone else’s.
HOW TO MEDITATE
For our practice today, we will incorporate four areas of concentration: posture, gaze, breath cycle, and breath count. These four areas give the mind a place to focus, your home base. When you notice the mind wander, come back to these three areas.
Sit with a neutral spine to maintain spinal curves. This is done by sitting tall and positioning your shoulders over your hips. Imagine creating space between each vertebra. Sit on a cushion with your legs crossed. Alternatively, sit in a chair with your feet planted on the ground. Rest your hands in your lap or on your thighs. Adjust as needed to find a position that is comfortable without strain.
Use the third eye as your focal point to concentrate. Located between the eyebrows at the center of the forehead, the third eye point is your center for intuition and deepest wisdom. With eyes closed, concentrate upon this point for the duration of your practice. During meditation you may find your attention diverted elsewhere in the body (the belly, the heart, somewhere calling your attention.) Return to the third eye as your home base. If the eyes feel strained in this position, relax the gaze enough to a singular focus just beyond the third eye point where you can comfortably concentrate.
Once seated in meditation posture with a focused gaze, breathe consciously in and out through the nose. Notice four parts to the breath cycle. Inhale, pause at the top of the inhale, exhale, and pause at the bottom of the exhale. On the inhale, fill the lungs with air expanding the belly, inflating the ribs and the upper chest. Pause for a moment at the top of the inhale, then slowly exhale. Exhale in reverse, deflating the upper chest, ribs lastly sinking the abdomen. Pause at the bottom of the exhale. This is one breath cycle. Continue with the next inhale.
Counting gives you something to center your thoughts upon. Count to three as you steadily intake air. To yourself silently, count Om 1, Om 2, Om 3. Pause at the top of the inhalation. Silently count to three as you expel air out of your lungs. Om 1, Om 2, Om 3. Pause at the bottom of the exhalation. Repeat for the duration of your meditation. Om is the sound vibration of the universe and draws the awareness toward God, the infinite source of Love.
Meditation is recognizing the Self as a fragment of God. Knowledge of Self as part of God is not something I can teach you. You must experience it on your cushion. Each time you pause for meditation, you are getting to know your infinite Self. You are building a foundation of self-love that will navigate you through life.
Find a consistent place and time to practice your concentration exercises. Before going to sleep, set a cushion by the side of your bed along with your values. Make an inner resolve that you’ll meditate upon waking. The next morning, before doing anything else, sit on the cushion and breathe. Practice the four “how to” steps detailed above.
ON CUSHION: 3-MINUTE MEDITATION
Continue your meditation practice morning and evening. When the mind wanders in meditation, notice the thoughts arising, remind yourself that meditation is a productive activity, then return to the focus on your gaze and counting the breath.
- Read your values and your “why” for growth. They should be written down and placed in your meditation area. Once you write your statement of purpose, chapter 3 Workbook assignment, place it in your meditation area.
- AM: Read value components. PM: Check off completed value components.
- Start a timer for three minutes, prior to closing your eyes.
- Sit on a cushion with your legs crossed.
- Align the vertebrae of the spine by sitting up tall and stacking your shoulders over your hips and your ears over your shoulders.
- Rest your hands on your knees or in your lap.
- Relax the body as much as possible while maintaining meditation posture.
- Close your eyes.
- Gently focus the gaze upward, toward the intuitive point at the center of the forehead.
- Take a deep inhale through the nose, then open the mouth and exhale, Haaaaaa.
- Begin to breath in deeply through the nose. Feel the sense of the breath at the back of the throat.
- Abdomen and chest expand as you inhale and relax as you exhale.
- Silently count to three on the inhale, Om 1, Om 2, Om 3, pause.
- Silently count to three on the exhale, Om 1, Om 2, Om 3, pause.
- Continue until the timer goes off.
Notice the feeling of peace after meditation practice. This is Love awakening from within. Affirm I am worthy of love.
OFF-CUSHION: RESET WITH THE BREATH
Take the mindfulness of meditation into your day. When you encounter a moment of stress or need to reset in between tasks, pause and take in one to 10 deep breaths. This will connect you with your divine purpose, resetting you in any situation. Use the four steps outlined above with slight variations.
- Posture: Bring awareness to the spine and draw energy up from the tailbone to the crown of the head. Repeat your values.
- Gaze: If in motion, keep eyes open and bring the inner attention to the third eye point.
- Breath: Take abdominal thoracic breaths expanding the abdomen and chest as you inhale and relax on the exhale.
- Count: Pace the inhale and exhale by counting to three: Om 1, Om 2, Om 3.
Complete introspection questions and Chapter 3 exercise from your TMHH Workbook.