Do you have small children in your life? Perhaps you have your own children, or nieces or nephews, or grandchildren, or maybe the children of friends or neighbors.
Imagine that you go to the toy store and buy the gift that would make one of these children incredibly happy. When my kids were young, it was the latest Lego set, so they could build a pirate ship or a Star Wars space craft. It could be tickets to Disneyland, or a beautiful doll house.
Now imagine that you buy that gift for this special child. You have it wrapped in shiny, silver paper with wide red ribbons and a bow. And now imagine that you take this gift home and hide it in the closet behind your clothes.
Now imagine that you never give this gift. It remains hidden behind your clothes in the closet ...
Oh come on, Arjuna, enough of the emotional manipulation, what's your point?
My point is that, sad and twisted as this story may be, it bears a tragic resemblance to the way many of us have led our lives, not just in relationship to one child, but in relationship to everyone you know. I'm sure that at peak moments -- when feeling deeply in love, or inspired, or at the beginning of some new endeavor, or after a vacation -- the clouds part and you absolutely know your own deep potential and what you have to give. Suddenly it's clear: the movie you could make, the novel you could write, or maybe it's the way you could be raising your children, or the meals you could be cooking, or the garden you could be growing. In these moments of great insight, you realize how you could be treating people, how you could be treating your own body, the gifts you would be pouring into the world if not for ...
That's right. Just as everyone has a unique gift to give, for most of us it is also buried behind the clothes in the closet. And, tragically, for many people, the deeper gift never gets given.
I think of my mother, who died at fifty-two of breast cancer. She had love in her heart. She had a keen intellect, and wit, and sense of beauty. She loved theater and cinema and novels, and she always wanted to create her own work, but never did.
I think of my father, who died a couple of years ago. In his last few years, he was just starting to reflect with me on how he'd never really loved. He tried in his own British way to apologize to me for never haven fully given me his love as a father. He knew that he had held back his love in all of his many relationships.
And then I think of all the clients that I have worked with over the past few years, where this is a common thread. The gift is there, the gift sometimes begins to flow, but almost always the gift is being held back by invisible forces.
I'm sure you're all too familiar with what those forces are: those invisible points of view that tell us that we're not good enough, that tell us that there's too much to do, that tell us that nobody would ever listen anyway. These are the invisible scars we carry from old relationships and childhood conditioning, which keep our hearts locked in sorrow, and our wings unable to take flight. These are the tensions carried in different parts of the body, which have been there for so long that we've gotten used to them. We've forgotten how to feel in a deeper way.
As soon as we get a sense of these obstacles -- in our beliefs, feelings, and body -- we start to become motivated to release them, challenging as it may be. There are now countless methods for doing that, our own Awakening Coaching Training being one of them. We train coaches to guide people back in their awareness to the dimension of themselves which is always free, which has always been free. This is sometimes called your "original nature" or the "natural state." Millions of people are touching into this dimension of consciousness today. In this opening, it's much easier to liberate blocks in consciousness because we're no longer so tightly attached to them. We can experience them as though for the first time. In our way, we use a method called "radical releasing" to briefly intensify the energy pattern beneath the block, and then to let it go so that energy can flow again.
Here's the amazing and paradoxical thing I've noticed now with all my clients: the more you relax into this spaciousness, the more you subjectively feel that there is no gift to be given. You feel relaxed, spacious, and empty, you are observing life unfolding and there is no sense of a "me" with something special to give. At the same time, and here's the paradox, something else starts happening too. Other people feel your beauty, and your clarity, and your love, more powerfully than ever before, and encourage you to let it shine.
This is a strange situation. In a condition of great egotism, we feel that we are the best at everything, and that everyone should listen to us, but other people aren't always quite so keen. As we relax into awakening, we have less and less of a sense of anything to give, but other people feel the gift that flows though us more vividly. This is the foundation of natural humility, which is the hallmark of all great genius. When the gift is flowing though you and not from you, this is how it always is. You feel like you are nobody in particular with nothing special to give, and yet everybody else sees you as someone extraordinary with great gifts flowing.
Having glimpses of awakening on their own, I have noticed, will not necessarily allow the gift to flow. There are many people today who have strong breakthroughs into liberated consciousness, but continue to feel stuck in their contribution to the world. This can create the feeling of a pressure: a gift is trying to push it's way through you, like grass through concrete. And that impulse cannot be ignored.
I've come to discover that this is one of the the primary reasons to work with a coach or a mentor, and it has become the primary focus of my own coaching practice. It can be a delicate affair, rather like midwifing a birth: to become sensitive to the original gift that wants to be given, to clear the blocks to its expression, and to find suitable channels for it to flow freely into day-to-day life.
There are certain key elements I've been working with in this way with clients, and also with training coaches.
- Recognize the unique gift that wants to come though you. The gift is not actually for you, it flows through you, and therefore you may feel it much less than other people do. The key is to know who are the right people to ask in your life, and what exactly to ask them, so that the gift can be recognized.
- Recognize the specific blocks in belief, feeling, and even in posture, breathing, and flow of energy which inhibit the gift being given.
- Discover ways to evaluate if your life as it is now is really an expression of your gift, or how much is lost in distraction.
- Find ways to slowly align your day-to-day life with the flow of the gift.
- Allow yourself to become more and more skilled at clearing the pathways that allow your gift to flow, often through mentoring or coaching.
This is a very rich and multifaceted area of investigation, and it's the area where spiritual awakening and worldly success find their common ground. I'd love for you to join me for a free tele-seminar on this topic, Thursday, June 24th at 6 pm PST.
If you can't make the live event, don't worry. Just register anyway, and you can listen to the replay on the same page afterward.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more