The more I grow and expand, the more I open myself of two truths:
- The more that I can find purpose in life, a mission to live and build over my lifetime, the more fulfilled I become and the more I serve my communities
- The more that I detach myself from the need to accomplish, to strive, to achieve, and instead become present to this very moment, the more peaceful I become, the more I honor this incredible gift of life I’ve been given
As I sit with these truths longer, I find myself wondering: Are these truths at odds with one another? Which do I prioritize? Which is the “higher” truth?
Do we focus on building our purpose in the external world, and in doing so live a life of service and action? Or do we focus on becoming present in the now, on our internal world, letting the realities and desires of this external world wash away so that we can simply experience the wonders of being alive?
I often judge that people who are too wrapped up in meditation, mindfulness, etc. to the point of being detached from reality, do so at the expense of others. There are billions of people suffering out there and they need our attention. Yes, we should cultivate mindfulness, but we must also stay present to the suffering of the world and serve those less fortunate than us. Life is hard work. It’s about serving those less fortunate, not floating up in the clouds.
I also often judge that people who are too wrapped up in their purpose work, also do so at the expense of themselves and thus, others. Yes, they are doing good work in their communities, but they fill themselves with stress, anxiety, and tension in the process. And then they bring that negative energy home to their loved ones. Yes, they are doing “good” work, but it seems motivated mostly by ego and the desire to accomplish and to be recognized. This is not the message to send to our children. We should show them that they are good and worthy beyond their actions and accomplishments. They don’t need to be constantly striving just so they can feel good enough and worthy.
Perhaps there is no “higher truth”. Perhaps what we need is mindfulness geared toward serving the greater good and change work rooted in mindfulness and awareness. We need purposeful mindfulness and mindful purpose. Both, at the same time.
And perhaps is even a key frame from which we can orient our practice of conscious leadership. How do we take care of ourselves such that we are most able to take care of others? How do serve our communities in such a way that feeds our souls and fills us up to the brim?
I don’t yet have a good answer to these questions. But it’s the direction I’m aiming my focus.