One of the unfortunate things that I see when I look out into the world is people who either don’t know what their calling is, or if they do know what it is, they have made the conscious choice to live out of alignment with it. The first type of scenario I have a good understanding of because of my own lived calling journey. The second scenario was more of a mystery to me, until I collected my research data which shed much light on why people would undermine the opportunity that they have to live their best life.
The process of discovering your calling is a journey that can take time to unfold, so there will be moments where we are in the dark about what our next move should be. I have been there, and only with the benefit of hindsight can I see moments of clarity that allowed me to better understand my calling. The greater tragedy though is when people have achieved a level of clarity around their calling, and yet have chosen to betray it by living an inauthentic life.
The reasons why people choose to neglect their calling are many, and I will deal with many of these reasons in future entries. The one that I want to focus on here is self-doubt or the lack of confidence in our ability to manifest our calling. Among the respondents to my study who were living their calling, many of them reported moments when they had a crisis of confidence that impaired their ability to move forward and more fully engage with their calling. For some, their experience of this barrier was temporary, for others it lasted a while longer. The part of the story that inspires hope though, is that in the end, they found it within themselves to believe in who they are and what they were given life to accomplish.
If these people can do it, then the good news is that we can too. As I analysed the stories of these people’s lives, along with my personal story, what emerged was the significance of being grounded in our true identity as we travel along the path to living our calling. French Philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience of life. We are spiritual beings having a human experience of life”. What he is bringing our attention to here is that our true identity is rooted in our spirit from which our calling emerges, not in the ego and its false beliefs about who we are. This might be shocking for us to hear because we have been so heavily conditioned to see ourselves as limited to the physical form and the ego-based beliefs that guide our physical existence on this planet, but if we are to learn what true confidence is about we need to move past that shock to connect to a deeper truth.
When we are grounded in our spirit and living in alignment with our calling, we become acutely aware of not only what our mission is, but also the gifts that we have been given to allow us to traverse that path successfully. Here, I am reminded of the marvellous saying that the spirit of God endows us with both a purpose and the means of its accomplishment. Blessed in abundance by this package deal, our embodiment of the highest form of spiritual confidence is dependent on our faith in the spiritual life. If we don’t believe in our calling or the fundamental relationship that we have with spirit, then no genuine confidence will exist to sustain a journey to the fulfilment of our calling. The best we can hope for in a life that is lived in concert with the ego is self-confidence, which on the surface may appear robust, but in its substance can be quite weak. If my identity is built around what I do and what I have, then when I cease to do what I do or lose what I have, then my self-confidence is going to take a big hit and render me ineffective.
We see this all the time with people who have suffered various forms of adversity and have not found the strength or confidence to recover. Perhaps a relationship that a person was invested in ended, and in the absence of their partner, they forgot who they are or what other purpose they have to serve. Another scenario is when someone who was once rich loses their fortune and because what they allowed to define them is no longer present, they slip into depression and helplessness. Whether we encounter this adversity or not, things need not be this way, and we can make the decision to connect with our core identity and live with the confidence that whatever comes our way, we can successfully deal with it because the basis of our spiritual existence is permanent, while these physical conditions or challenges are fleeting.
There is that wise wisdom which teaches us to build our house on the rock and not on the sand. What is built on the sand is vulnerable to destruction by forces that are stronger than it. This is our ego identity that cannot stand up to the truth of the spiritual life. What is built on the rock is indestructible and cannot be overcome by inferior forces. This is our spirit and the source of our abiding confidence that we can do what we are called to do.