What does “fulfilling your potential in life” actually mean?

What is life all about?

The science fiction writer, Kurt Vonnegut wrote “We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.”

Fulfilling your potential has two dimensions:

The first dimension is to find who you are and make the most of yourself.

The second is to enjoy and revel in the magnificence of existence. The cosmos is an unfathomable mystery, vaster than we can possibly conceive. Mother Earth is a source of such beauty, creativity and sustenance. The beings who live here, from the insect to the human, are of glorious variety and complexity. When I am teaching, one of my jokes, mildly in bad taste, is to say to someone in the group “I know how old you are… [pause]…you are 17.5 billion years old!” The matter in our body was created at the big bang.

Some of the elements we are composed of were created in the heat of exploding stars. We are made of stardust.

We get so absorbed in day-to-day living that we hardly ever step back and notice the magnificence of existence, the magnificence of the flower and the magnificence of the vital spark of consciousness that gleams in the eyes of the person opposite us.

So, we can make the most of ourselves by maximising our use of our strengths and talents, our life-calling, our vision, our psychological resources and our personal history – both the good experiences and the wisdom –  that we have acquired from the difficult experiences.

But we are much, much more than this. We are like the foamy crest of a wave that has risen for a moment out of the ocean of existence.

If we identify only with our skin-encapsulated ego, we will have good days and we will have terrible days. On some days, dreams will get trashed and loved ones will die.

If we can simultaneously identify with our own life and with the ocean of existence, then we will never die.

It is not enough to simply understand this profound poetic idea.

It will only reduce our suffering if we realise this at an emotional and spiritual level. To do this we need to practice identifying with the whole through prayer, meditation, devotional singing, time in nature, ritual activities and other ecstatic practices.

A few years ago, I would have said that meditation is the most important of these because it confronts us with the mystery of consciousness itself. We only experience the universe because of consciousness.  Now, however, with the crisis of global warming and loss of biodiversity, re-connecting to our sense of being part of nature seems equally important.  We are “part” of nature rather than “apart from” nature. Meditation and prayer are perhaps the inner starting point of a consciousness that then reaches out to notice our place in the great mystery of life.

When you identify with the great mystery of existence, suffering decreases, a sense of bliss at being alive emerges, and compassion grows for other people whose attention is over-focused on the ups and downs of their own individual lives.

Fulfilling your potential in life has two dimensions: firstly, to find who you are and make the most of yourself. Secondly to participate in and luxuriate in the great mystery of existence.

How do we support this opening to the great mystery during the 4 day The Personal Transformation Intensive: Life Talent Level 1, Friday 17 – Monday 20 January 2020 and the 15 day (over 4 modules) Life Talent Programme: Level 2 starting on 6th March 2020?

The major focus of the programme is to find yourself and to develop what is great about you. In that process we begin to explore our own being as body-mind system rather than just as rational mind.

In coaching others, we have moments of flow when we are so engaged in coaching or being coached that we become a greater whole: a body-mind system comprising of 2 people. As this develops, we begin to experience the field of the entire group.

Compassion for each other and ourselves is the main force for psychological healing, and the group begins to create a field of support in which healing takes place. There are moments when we sense our place in an existence far greater than ourselves.

This year I am developing this further by running two workshops for the graduates of the Life Talent Programme: the first is “The Vast Sky: unveiling and developing you own innate spiritual practice” which takes a postmodern approach to helping participants develop their unique spirituality, drawing on experiences in their lives where they have been touched, somehow, by something greater than themselves..

The second is “Love, Bliss and Presence: developing a spiritual practice around these three essential Buddhist psychology principles” which draws on my own experience as a student of Buddhism for over 20 years.

You can find more blogs on learning to feel the support of Life itself here.