A lot of people turn to me for an understanding of their place in the world. This includes my clients, of course, but also I get so many emails from people around the world who have read my books. “What is my path?” they want to know.
I got such an email question from a young Korean person who told me they had turned their life over to a service-oriented path after reading one of my books. Now, they faced a challenge. They had entered a competition based on doing a project. They hoped their project would win them a scholarship. They wanted to know what project I thought they should do.
But why would this gifted Korean person with a clear intention to help the world ask such a question of me, a complete stranger, living thousands of miles away and having no understanding of their circumstances?
We get stopped, so many of us, because we don’t trust ourselves. We don’t trust our own natures to guide us. Instead, we keep our focus on our desires and goals and then get frightened we won’t get them. Concentrating on our worries, we ignore the constant guidance given to us in each moment. We look for answers that are already revealed, except that we don’t trust them.
Here is how I replied to the young Korean man:
“You are faced with challenging questions, but I cannot answer them for you. Look inwards. Where do your passions lie? What concerns you most? What do you need to teach or provide to the world and your community? How do these things about you connect to the situation of your life and the world in ways that are helpful?
“Moment by moment, what is your human job? What are you?
“If you approach these questions with a desire-mind, it may be hard for you to find your way. If you approach these questions with a not-knowing mind and without clinging to your desires and your idea of your destination, your path will be revealed to you and your function will become clear.”
Concentrating on a destination, we lose our way.
Concentrating on the way, we have already arrived.
By the way, if you want to read more about the wisdom of concentrating on the path instead of the destination, read this lovely story by my friend, the meditation teacher Jason Quinn, about how he nearly got a whole group of people lost in the woods and how he found his way out by looking where his feet were. It’s a great metaphor.
I hope this all helps.