Last night kept me up quite a bit. Lately, the question of what I am here on earth to do has been wandering around in the back of my head again. Feeling I am on the right path, but not really getting anywhere. As I cut quite some ties in the last few years and months I found myself in a place where for the first time in a long time I felt sort of safe and free. And the thing this is, once I feel that way aspirations start. Energy starts to flow and it was trying to find its way out. However, I could not really put my finger on what it was that wanted to break free. A lot of ideas came up, but in the end it just let to me laying awake at night and missing focus. After staring at the ceiling for about an hour and a half I started strouning on facebook (even though I have a no phone at night rule), as if that would give me answers. Of course I knew better. That never happens.
Yet this time, I ran into a livestream of the Dalai Lama. The last few weeks my mind has been wondering off to my time in a buddhist monastery quite a bit, so I was triggered. However, not enough to keep listening at 4 am in the morning. So after listening for about 10 minutes, not being triggered by the questions answered, I opened instagram and I stumbled upon the instagram of one of my favorite buddhist teachers of my time spent in Nepal, Robina. The day she was giving her teaching, I was sick as hell (probably purifying) but my roommate told me I shouldn’t miss her, she was good. I am glad she pushed me to go, cause you either love or you don’t, and I am definitely in the first camp. Anyhow, the last few days she has been posting something to think about every day. Today, she posted one about the five greatest regrets of people who are dying. Number one being not having followed your heart and not having had the courage to do what you thought was most beneficial. Wow, this was so on point for me. Not only is my biggest fear in life to not be able to follow my heart, and therefore my soul’s mission, in this life, it was actually exactly the thing that was keeping me awake at night.
Because in order to do this, you have to know what you think and what you want. And that is where I was stuck, I felt like I had no clue what it was I wanted (and whether it is beneficial to me and others). Deep deep down I know, but I was getting frustrated by not knowing what was the best way to do this and get there. And on the days that I do have a clue about this, my mind is interfering and fear is holding me back to act on it. The thing is, it takes quite some courage to actually do what we think is best and most beneficial.
So how do you know what you think and what you want? As Robina explains, his holiness the Dalai Lama says there is a simple way to work with this: ‘Always aspire to do what is most beneficial. If you are not sure what to do when you wake up in the morning, you just live your life right this second, and you think whatever is most beneficial, may I do it. Do that every day and then one day there you go, there is the decision and you will be courageous enough to take it.’
I got inspired. This is exactly how I felt when I decided to quit my job two years ago and leave the Netherlands to spent a month in a monastery in Nepal, even though I had never been into contact with Buddhism before. One day I just knew, this is what I needed to do. And the funny part was, it didn’t feel courageous at all. I just knew I had to do it. So I knew this worked. And why would it be any different now?
So this morning as I woke up, after I had fallen asleep again, I wrote down: ‘Always aspire to do what is most beneficial, that is to you and others. And trust that you will make the tough choices if and when you have to.’ Then I asked myself, what would I do today if I aspire to do what is most beneficial, to myself and to others? Suddenly my fear of not living my truest path disappeared and I started typing… I know I might lose sight of what my heart wants sometimes. Feeling like I do not know where I am going and that I am not getting anywhere, but that is okay. Because I can wake up every morning and remind myself that I do not have to know all these answers right at his moment and I do not have to save the world in one day (or at all), I just got to aspire to do what is most beneficial, to me and to others in that moment. And the answers will come, along with the courage.
What would you do today if you aspire to do what is most beneficial?