We all want to know that our life has made a difference. Feeling a sense of purpose doesn’t just make our days more meaningful and joyful. According to research, it can also help us live longer. The sooner you uncover and start living in line with your purpose, the more you potentially increase the odds of outliving your ancestors.
Living with a sense of purpose is ultimately about living for someone or something larger than just yourself. It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to a job or a non-profit organization. For many people, it means making a difference in the lives of their loved ones – being the best mother, spouse, or friend they can be. Yet many others feel most fulfilled when they are part of a larger mission - whether an existing one or their own.
So how do we connect with our purpose amidst our busy lifestyles? How do we figure out how our natural passions can become a pathway to helping others and then fearlessly step in that direction?
You guessed it – by going within. Here’s exactly how having a consistent meditation practice can help you uncover and follow your purpose.
Meditation helps you notice how your thoughts, beliefs, and ideas drive your behaviors. When you see your own mental patterns from an objective lens, you may discover that many of the things you thought you wanted weren’t even your desires to begin with!
How do we choose the activities we want to fill our days with? Whether it’s our careers or the goals we set, we often unconsciously take on the ones that our parents or society have laid out for us. Then we end up stressing ourselves out by chasing after something that may not even bring us long-lasting joy. When we get that something - whether a promotion, a new car, or a new house - the initial happiness wears off and that empty feeling sets right back in.
Perhaps you know someone who’s spending their nights studying to become a lawyer or a doctor – not because they want to be one – but because that’s what their parents or peers expect them to be. Society builds up ideas of what “success” means in each culture and community. These pressures can be so strong that it seems impossible to choose another path.
Through meditation, you can discern between the voices of societal conditioning and the voices of your heart. When you recognize that you’re spending your time going after something because of outside pressures, you can either choose not to waste your energy on it or contemplate how it could fit in with what you do want to be pursuing in life.
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice." - Steve Jobs
Once you catch a glimpse of your purpose, it’s not always easy to take the steps needed to move in that direction. We all face limiting beliefs in the form of self-doubt and fear. The problem is that we’re often not even aware of them. Scientists estimate that around 95% of our thoughts and beliefs reside in our subconscious mind.
If you grew up around others who were afraid to pursue their dreams, you may unconsciously be letting your inner critic hold you back from pursuing yours. When you recognize beliefs such as “I’m not deserving” or “I’m not worthy” or “I could never do that,” - ask yourself if these are actually yours or if you inherited them from others.
Because meditation is a way to disidentify your sense of self from the stream of thoughts and beliefs that are constantly flowing through your mind, it helps you notice the ones that hold you back most. The more you notice what holds you back, the more power you have to change it.
Affirmations and journaling can also become a powerful ally here. Along with meditation, they can help you access the subconscious and reprogram it with more empowering beliefs that allow you to step towards your purpose.
We are the happiest when we’re fully immersed in the present moment – regardless of the activity we are doing. Think about what you’re usually doing when you “lose yourself” in the moment. It could be learning about a particular subject, practicing a new skill, or pursuing a hobby that you can’t get enough of.
When you allow yourself to find the time to do the activities that make you lose your sense of self, you often radiate joy or peace naturally. You are so filled with meaning that you forget about the worries and anxieties that bothered you just a few minutes ago. You may also be gaining skills that you can then translate into a way of helping others.
Studies have even found that not being able to “lose yourself” in activities is correlated with high stress, depression, and negative emotions. Mindfulness and meditation teach us how to be more present and thus how to lose our attachment to our personal worries and fears - regardless of what activity we are doing.
When our meditation practice reveals how much joy just being present can bring, we are then more likely to pursue the passions that help us “lose ourselves” in the service of others.
Meditation helps you access your intuition. When you are able to quiet all of these self-limiting beliefs and see that they stem from the unconscious, you become more alert to the inner nudges and hunches that you normally would’ve dismissed. As you meditate, you can train the neural pathways of self-doubt to weaken and those of confidence to strengthen.
The more you act on these hunches, the more you learn to trust them. You may then notice that more synchronicities start appearing in your life. These signs may be pointing toward a certain larger vision - one that you perhaps wouldn’t have been able to think of yourself.
There is a part of you that may already know what you would love to spend your days doing. That part of you also knows how much of a positive impact this could have on the world.
Even as you’re reading this – you might know what it is. It’s just about learning to train your mind to not allow the voices of fear to stop you from going after it.
If you’d like to start quieting those limiting voices in your mind so you can uncover your purpose, join us for today’s FREE Sunday virtual meditation at 6 pm PST
. Kelly will guide you in a meditation to help you connect to the deeper part of yourself that knows what brings you the most meaning. Sign up here.