How can I follow my passion?

Your Calling and Worry

Natan Morar, PhD
Mindfully Speaking

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Photo by christopher catbagan on Unsplash

I’ve been thinking about a scene from the Sermon on the Mount. “Do not be anxious about your life”. This and all the other things Jesus said are not commandments. They are meant for our guidance in our quest to find joy. If we’re true to ourselves, this is what all of us want. It all boils down to this. Happiness, but not the type that lasts for 5 minutes after the acquisition of a new toy — whatever that may be, clothes, shoes, phone, computer, house — but the one that lingers as a backdrop to our lives; Joy.

We all search for it. All that we do is an attempt to bargain with it, persuade it to come with us and maybe even stay. That’s why we work so hard, that’s why we party so often, that’s why we study so much, eat so much, exercise, sleep, dream, travel, drink… And I get it. I’m no different. Even if we feel joy today, who’s to say that it will last? Who’s to say that it won’t part with us the next moment? We are but subject to its whim. Who can persuade joy to stay?

Definitely not worry. Worry and joy are two faces of the same coin, the valley and the peak. Going downhill will not get you to the top. Persisting in work that sucks the life out of you, won’t bring you fulfilment. Maybe it’s common sense when you see it written down, but it most definitely is not common sense when you’re deeply involved in worry. Reluctantly doing work that you hate is a form of worry. It’s a form of hurry and it will breed more hatred and fury.

Worry is a form of distrust. Distrust in yourself and distrust in the universe, in the life-force that brought you into being and sustains your flowing. Procrastination can also be a form of distrust. Whether we procrastinate because we’re afraid of failure or because we don’t like what we’re about to do, it’s distrust that sits at the root of this behaviour.

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Matthew 6:28–30

Can you do more than you have done? I mean, really, look within. Sometimes you can imagine that you could do or could have done more, but in reality, you wouldn’t have allowed yourself. You are not different from your body. We are very divided in ourselves on this issue. We think that we are somehow inside our body and that we own it, we control it, but we are not it. Yet we spend so much time, money and effort into making it look nice so that people compliment us on the way we appear to them. Isn’t that weird? We aggressively hold that we are different from our bodies, yet pay so much attention to it and are severely hurt when people don’t like our physical appearance.

You are not different from your body. But that’s not to say that you should apply to yourself those standards and judgements that society applies to your body. You are one with your body just as you are one with all other things, beings, thoughts and particles in the whole universe. You are one with the universe. As cliche as it sounds, it is a fact. It may sound like a platitude to you, but that doesn’t make it less real.

You operate in this slither of reality that is the so-called physical plane; the reality that can be seen, touched, smelt, tasted and heard. These senses are meaningless without a physical body. But this physical body has its limits. While you can envision yourself as unlimited, this body of yours is not. In fact, you are unlimited, unbound in the form of the universe, but not in the form of your person, Joe or Joanne Doe. What you can envision yourself doing in an ambition-high, is not necessarily something that your body can accomplish. You can think you’re capable of running a marathon without prior training, working 12-hour workdays 7 days a week, spending countless sleepless nights in bars without any consequences, but reality will hit you soon enough.

Worry is an echo in your head after you, as a being-body, have given it all that you can. Worry is: pushing yourself uphill, lifting yourself up, dragging yourself, beating yourself up. These are not only pointless, but also damaging acts. And your body will keep the score. There’s no way of cheating. There’s no way of cheating yourself, deluding yourself, hiding from yourself. You can agree to overlook certain things for a while, but your body keeps the score. Overwork, stress, worry, dissatisfaction will take their toll. It’s a just a matter of time.

But this is nothing to be scared of. It’s enormously advantageous that it’s this way, even though you might not see it at first. It’s better that you get a slap on the face and a kick in the butt than to be allowed to negate your true being and stray indefinitely from your calling for the rest of your life.

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.

Matthew 5:29

I have not fully understood this verse until now. How much truth condensed in so few words! My body has stopped me many time when I was leading myself astray. And for that I am grateful beyond what I can express in writing. Your body has a wisdom that is hidden from the conscious mind. It doesn’t matter whether it’s below or above consciousness, it is still there and sometimes you can feel it. It is always available to you if you pay attention. And on some occasions, when you’ve ignored it for too long, it may start shouting at you, tripping you… anything to get your attention. Disease in my life happened only when I was at odds with myself for too long, when I have ignored my being, my calling, my true self speaking to me in a gentle voice. The gentle voice is very easy to ignore. You may be fortunate to listen in the early stages after you lose your path, however the most powerful changes, the most pivotal moments in my life happened when spirit shouted at me; when it tripped me, when it kicked me in the nuts and slapped my face.

A side-effect of not listening to spirit, of not walking your path and not staying in your purpose, is that you get increasingly insensitive, numb, cynical and unable to feel joy if it hit you in the face. While the voice of spirit is still with you, still whispering its guidance to you, you’re numb as a rock. You forget all that you once loved. You forget how it feels to be happy and none of the things that previously brought a smile to your face have the power to do it anymore.

Living in spirit is a joyful experience but, being numb, you’re no longer able to recognise the path that brings you to joy. Every step on that path brings joy. But who can feel it? You need to snap out of your worry, you need to stop dragging yourself where ambition only dictates. Ambition is good, but ambition without love is abusive. Ambition coupled with love is nurturing and conducive to growth. It is patient. Ambition without love is demanding and doesn’t acknowledge your efforts. Ambition without love is worry, anxiety in disguise.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 6:28

This is a rhetorical question, but the answer is no one. Actually, only now scientists are beginning to discover the effects of stress and anxiety of our health. Don’t know how much scientists know about this but, I am persuaded that all prolonged negative emotions have a detrimental effect on our health.

The result of living off your soul path, the result of not listening to spirit, to your own self, the result of postponing your deepest and truest desires indefinitely is feelings of unworthiness, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, purposelessness, pointlessness. Staying in any one of these states is bound to leave a mark.

While I was studying for my Phd, I was fortunate enough to be awakened to my calling to write and share my discoveries and experiences with other people. I found the immense joy that doing what you love brings. What you love doing is what you are meant to do. What you love doing is your calling and purpose. Doing what you love brings meaning to your existence. Joy is the symptom of listening to your calling.

Our desires are put there to guide us. However, we have been persuaded to think otherwise. We have been taught that desires need to be suppressed and ignored and that we need to do what’s right. What is right, even? What is right is to listen to authority. First, parents, then teachers, religious leaders, then bosses. But, always doing that which we are told confuses our inner compass, leaves us unable to listen to spirit, makes us oblivious to our truest desires.

It feels good to not disappoint and do what you’re told for a while. And this strengthens your belief that what you are told is the right thing to do. But, at some point, something starts to feel rotten. It is bitterness. Live begins to have a sour taste and dissatisfaction, cynicism and hopelessness begin to dominate your experience. It used to take people half their life to get to this point. That’s why it’s called midlife crisis. But I had my midlife crisis in my twenties. However, I don’t think that I am an isolated case. I hear of more and more people experiencing midlife crises earlier in life. Maybe it’s because of our ever-developing technology, our ease of access to way more information than a decade or two ago, or maybe it’s because of the development of human consciousness worldwide. The reasons for midlife crises don’t matter nearly as much as their effect on our life.

Midlife crises are moments of awakening, of enlightenment. They can trigger a re-evaluation of our priorities, our attitude towards life and of our current path. It’s not called awakening for no reason, it feels precisely like you’ve been sleepwalking through life, or you have been living based on a script that you’ve been given. You realise that you’ve been living somebody else’s life, while putting yours on hold. It doesn’t feel nice. It feels like you’ve been cheated. But, it’s the most fortunate event. Your encounter with truth might sting at first but, it gives you a chance to start over.

Not listening to yourself is going against the flow of the universe. Now that you know what you are called to do and be, it hurts even more to not listen. It is way more painful to be able to hear spirit and not listen. It’s like pulling yourself apart. Your true self attracts you in one direction and fear pulls you in another.

It’s normal to be afraid when you’ve been freed from the illusion that the authority figures in your life have any intrinsic authority. The authority they had was the authority you’ve given them over your life. The illusion is dispelled but, the habit remains to seek authorities to govern our lives for us. However, they no longer have the same grip on us. We can no longer believe them fully because we also hear spirit. And spirit rings true.

This is the point where you have to make a decision. Do you follow spirit, your new-found voice, or do you seek authority figures to tell you what to do? I chose the latter. I’m sure quite many of you will have done so too. I ignored spirit and I ignored my calling. Reluctantly, but I did it. I did it because I sought the approval of the authority figures in my life. It killed me on the inside. It made me bitter, depressed, hopeless, numb. I felt forsaken, alone, helpless and the joy that I felt left me with its memory.

All these feelings materialised in disease. I got to a point where I could barely get out of bed, not to mention walk. My bones and joints hurt so badly. I had inflammation in my whole body. The whole thing culminated with me nearly losing sight in my right eye. I know it sounds scary but, this pain made me rethink my priorities. I made me realise that it’s not worth listening to authority figures with the price of losing your soul. Especially now that I understood that it was me who endowed them with their authority. Why not place this authority in myself?

I am persuaded that this shift in attitude and behaviour is what healed me. No doctor I saw was able to, and I saw many… It was this decision to take responsibility for my own life and live it according to spirit — my own spirit — that saved me.

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Natan Morar, PhD
Mindfully Speaking

Author of “The Shift: An Introduction to Freedom” • Relentless questioner, happiness seeker, writer, programmer, rapper, jack of all trades • natanmorar.com