Feeling alive, rekindling our sense of purpose and passion. Sometimes, what is missing from our life is simply the sense of feeling alive.
The Union Path Podcast - A practical spiritual podcast about truth, awareness, and walking the path of unity.
The Union Path Podcast
Being More Alive in Our Lives
Sometimes when we're lost, sometimes when we're wandering, sometimes when we're just uncomfortable or dissatisfied, moderately frustrated and we're a little beaten down, a little burned out, a little depleted,
it can actually be somewhat difficult to figure out why, especially if we've constructed a life that on its surface makes a lot of sense to us, we've constructed a life that seems to make a lot of sense.
We've done all the things we're supposed to do. We've been very responsible, we've been a very good grownup. We've pursued the things we're supposed to pursue. We've done the things we're supposed to do. We've achieved what we're supposed to achieve.
Yet through all this, if we find there's something missing, if we find that despite crafting this life, then looks really good on paper, that would pass muster with the biggest critic that would return the grade of an A,
we have to ask ourselves, how does our life actually feel to us? And if we feel it all stuck or burned out or depleted, or just generally unsatisfied, generally kind of a sense of malaise, a repetition of routine of stagnation, just feeling kind of stuck,
it's really important to pay attention to these feelings. It's really important to listen because these feelings are telling us something. We can feel and perceive the absence of something we can feel, and perceive some sort of void, some sort of discrepancy.
And when we have these sorts of feelings, it's really vital to listen. Because going through our lives can be really easy to get all sorts of mixed messages on what we're supposed to pursue, what we're supposed to achieve, what we're supposed to value. And all of these ideas are very rooted in truth, but they need to be balanced with what actually matters to us. What feels good to us, what actually feels right for us? What actually feels like us in these times of dissatisfaction, in these times of feeling stuck, feeling dissatisfied, feeling uncomfortable, the obvious thing to desire is the removal or whatever feels the most uncomfortable in our life. Whatever feels like the biggest detractor from our life.
What feels like seems to be sucking out our life energy on a daily basis, and then endeavor to remove these circumstances, remove to change something. Maybe we can try some sort of shift. Maybe we can adopt a new habit or practice or routine. Maybe we can sever some relationships. Maybe we can build some new ones.
Maybe we can move, maybe we can get a new job. And of course, things outside of us do affect us. And of course our environment does influence how we feel, that's real. But if we've done that and we still feel a little stuck, but a little frustrated little, it's kind of empty, wanting, what then? Or similarly, if we look around and we can't really figure out what to change, we know that part of us really want something different, part of us really need something different, but we can't really find, we can't really identify what needs to be changed. It's going to be a very difficult thing to walk through. It can be a very difficult thing to experience, especially when we've constructed our lives that should feel good. Especially when we walk around in existence, that should be nurturing and sustaining to us. Especially when we should wake up in the morning with a sense of eager anticipation and overflowing gratitude.
But what happens when we don't? What happens when our shoulds bump up against what is? Awarenesses like these are really important because they're grounded in the truth. Are grounded in reality. They're grounded in what is. It's really easy, especially in times of dissatisfaction or discomfort to pin our discomfort or dissatisfaction on one particular thing.
To think that if only such and such was different, I would feel entirely different. But I think we've all experienced the shaky reliability of these kinds of expectations. I think we've all experienced that, we can think that just by changing one thing in our lives, everything will be amazing. And then we finally change that one thing, and after we get through kind of the honeymoon afterglow phase of getting something we wanted, oftentimes we're kind of right back where we were. Or maybe things are a little better, but not the profound enhancement we thought it would be, we were hoping for, we were expecting.
When we find ourselves frustrated or uncomfortable, we're just kind of stuck, it's really important to ask ourselves, well, what do we really want? What's really missing? And of course, our minds go to specific things. That's what our minds do. Our minds suggest, well, maybe we need to go over here. Maybe we need to do that. Maybe we need to buy this. Maybe we need to sell that. Maybe we need to meet so and so and forget we know this other person even exists.
But typically these longer lasting, more entrenched, deeper feelings of discomfort or dissatisfaction are a little more general. Because I think we've also all experienced that and we have a fairly deep seated problem, it's rarely one thing that fixes it. In fact, the fix usually comes from some sort of internal shift within us, and then all sorts of circumstances become different.
Maybe we do new things, maybe we have completely different thoughts and if and feelings about the things we're currently doing. Long-lasting relief is usually the result of some sort of internal shift, some internal change or growth or reevaluation.
So, one practice that I try to do when I'm dissatisfied, when I'm uncomfortable, I'm just kind of in a place that I don't really know exactly what I want, but I know that I haven't really felt good for quite a while or if I have, those moments have been very fleeting. And it's not so much the not feeling good that feels the strongest, it's there seems to be a void there. There seems to be some fundamental missing element.
I try to use these opportunities to look a little bit deeper in trying to figure out what I really want. Often the answer is far more general than what I've been focusing on. It's far more general than what I've been striving after, and oftentimes the answer to these questions, what do I really need? It can come down to fairly basic needs. I can realize that I'm uncomfortable or dissatisfied or frustrated because there's some sort of basic need that isn't being met. Sometimes that need can be met internally. Sometimes that need needs to be met externally, depends on what it is. But it's really important for all of us to know what our basic needs are and to be able to honestly know and say whether they're being met. And when they're not, then use that information to guide our path. It's really important to know when our basic needs aren't being met. It's really important to know and be able to honestly know whether our current circumstances even have the ability of meeting our basic needs.
And if that's the case, what then? Can we somehow meet these needs ourselves? Can we somehow add something to our life that will address these needs? Is it a change of circumstance or a change of perspective? Is there some new knowledge I need or do I physically need to do something? Only we can know, and often we'll only know if we try, but that's why we need to listen.
Because if we'll only know what we really need, if we try, we only try if we're willing to listen. We'll only try if we're willing to actually pay attention to what our basic needs really are. We'll only know if we have the clarity and the courage to really try to meet them.
I believe one of the most fundamental basic needs that everyone has to live a good life is to feel alive. It might sound simple, it might sound obvious. I don't know, maybe it's confusing, but it's kind of a funny thing to really engage with, to really ask ourselves the question, how alive do I feel right now? How alive do I feel in my own life?
How are my choices, supporting or undercutting my sense of being alive? How much life is there in my life? And these can be kind of funny feelings to get hold of, because in my experience anyway, that feeling of being alive is a very specific thing, but I had to go through a lot of different layers in order to really find it, to really experience it.
It's really easy to get confused with other feelings like excitement, novelty, sensory stimulation. And it could be a challenge to realize that although these experiences can be very pleasant and very nice, it's not really what we're going for. These things are a little too superficial, they're a little too ephemeral, they tend to come and go very quickly. We're looking for something a little deeper, a little more real, a little more lasting.
So one of the things I do to identify the sense of aliveness is really pay attention to where I actually feel it. True sense of aliveness, at least for me, seems to originate deeper down in my body, than things like stimulation or excitement tend to. I feel it kind of a stomach, solar plexus, heart area versus stimulation, excitement feels more of a head feeling to me. Also, the feeling of being alive feels expansive, feels expressive, versus a lot of times excitement and stimulation can feel a little bit more contracting. Feel like something I'm trying to take in and store and hold and sequester, rather than something I'm trying to emanate and express and share. Even though aliveness can really be enjoyed from an eternal sensation, it actually feels more expressive, than it feels receptive. It feels more like something I'm sending out rather than something I'm just taking in.
These are ideas I've worked with for a while. These ideas kind of all started for me where I had stumbled upon this meditation group. It's one of my first forays into trying to figure out what on earth is going on here and why do I feel so rotten so much? And in that group it was a 40 minute meditation followed by a reflection period afterwards. And I found myself coming back, not so much for the community or the group or the reflection even,
but something would happen in that 40 minute meditation pretty often that would answer some sort of deep seated question, I feel like I'd been asking for a long time.
It was on one particular occasion, I came in and the thoughts on my mind were really about solving problems, really about trying to remove all of these uncomfortable obstacles in my life to just find a bit of comfort, find a bit of relief. I was overwhelmed. I was overextended. I was doing too much, and everything I tried to fix, it just ended up being something else I had to, I never really seemed to get anywhere. I kind of felt like I was just chasing my own tail. It was in one of these sessions that I had the experience of a voice speaking to me. It hadn't really happened to me that much, and honestly, it doesn't really happen to me all that much at all, usually, any sort of direct guidance kind of comes through more as a whisper.
This is kind of more of a direct voice basically saying, the thing I'm looking for isn't relief, it isn't comfort, the thing I actually want is to feel alive, stuck with me for quite a while. Clearly, I'm still talking about it now, and this experience was probably about 13 years ago. But these profound bits of clarity, these just handful of words, it really started to unlock something, really started to unlock the idea of maybe what I thought I was looking for wasn't actually what I was looking for. Maybe in my specificity, in my over focusing on achievements and attainments and all sorts of external behavior, I'd missed what I actually needed. I'd missed that I actually needed to feel alive in my own life.
I'd actually missed that I'd gotten to the point where I was so caught up and focused on getting things done and pursuing things at such a volume and such a velocity that I'd lost track of do they even want these things in the first place? Do these things actually satisfy me? Do these things actually nurture me?
Do I actually feel alive in my own life? This has come up over and over again. It's kind of the funny thing about these realizations. It can feel so profound when we have them and then when we apply them, it can feel so just game changing,
but then something else comes up, something a little different, maybe something a little deeper, a little harder, and now it's not quite so easy to apply the same wisdom or not quite so obvious, the same wisdom applies, but here we are. We were at the 100 level of the class, now we're at the 200 level of the class. Things aren't quite so easy, things aren't quite so obvious, but that's our path. That's our work to keep growing and expanding and to keep reaching for more depth, more truth, more knowing.
We keep reaching towards perfection. Not perfection as a judgment of something being exactly right, perfection as the ideal that there's always more to know. There's always refinement possible. There's always more knowing, more wisdom, more clarity, more truth.
Perfection as an ideal shares a lot with the idea of infinity, it's never something that can actually be reached. There is no end, thus we can follow it forever. We can grow and expand forever and reap all the benefits along the way, and it never ends. It never has to end. We can stay on this ride for as long as we want to, as long as we choose to.
So when we look at our lives and we can ask ourselves from a quiet, connected, deep place, how alive do I feel in my own life, the truthful answer to this question is remarkably helpful. Might be a little difficult the year at first. Because on some level, if we're asking this question, we kind of already know the answer. But if these are hard truths, these are precisely the truths that will set us free. This is where we find our ultimate liberation by finding ourselves, by finding our true, real deep selves, and then acting from a place of service and support from this part of our being. Noticing along the way that when we do this, we also act in service and support of this part of everyone else's being as well. We can see this in our behavior, I believe pretty clearly, if we look. There's always a reciprocal service between the parts of ourselves that we're serving in those same parts in others.
But when we get down to this question, when we get down to this idea of just how alive do we feel in our own life, of just how much life there is in our own life, this alone, this awareness alone, can illuminate a whole new path. This awareness alone can illuminate a whole new perspective. This awareness alone can illuminate a whole new way of being because it's rooted in something deeper, something more fundamental. Yeah, it's a pretty difficult realization to have if we have it, that, that comfort and stimulation and excitement are pretty overrated. If that's an awareness we have, well, that's our truth. We can choose to use that truth however we wish, because the important thing is that we connect with ourselves.
The important thing is that we actually check in with ourselves deep on the inside, that we actually feel how life feels. Because if our life doesn't really feel very alive to us, it usually means that we've been ignoring our feelings. We've been ignoring how our life actually feels to us. And if we've found ourselves kind of spun out in stagnation or discomfort or frustration because we've lost this feeling sense of our life, we've only been going through life with a part of ourselves, leaving the feeling part behind.
And again, I'm referencing feeling from a deep felt perspective. Feeling from the parts of ourselves that feel the most fundamental, feel the most original, that exist outside of things like preferences, mood, opinions, beliefs, appetites, aversions, that feel more consistent, that feel more stable, it feels more real.
And so if we've gotten to this point, if we've realized that our lethargy or our malaise or discomfort or what have you is caused by not having enough aliveness in our life, not feeling is alive in our own lives as we want, well, what do we actually do?
This feels so general, this feels so vague, it doesn't really feel all that helpful. Well, of course, it is general, it is vague, it is unhelpful to the mind. And if we're feeling this way, this might be an indication that maybe we've leaned on our minds a little too much, maybe we listen to our minds a little too much.
We haven't really deeply felt enough. So one thing we can do, this is going to sound very obvious, to reconnect with our feelings, is actually try, is actually feel. Is to actually find a quiet place, sit in a comfortable chair, close our eyes, lean back a little if we like and think about this idea, being alive, being fully alive. Perhaps we need to think of a time in our life where we felt fully alive to conjure this feeling up, especially if we haven't felt it for a long time. This sense of aliveness has been abandoned, jettisoned in order to satisfy other demands. Or perhaps we can find our way into it by reaching after this feeling of aliveness and then seeing what comes up out of that.
Personally, I find it's so easy to go through life and what in hindsight feels a bit backwards. Of going after things to try to feel a certain way instead of feeling a certain way and then going after things. In a lot of ways, the pursuits of life to generate a particular feeling, kind of feels like running the machinery backwards. I've had so many experiences where if I start with the feeling that I want, not only does what I do tend to reproduce that feeling far more reliably, but it's so much easier. There's so much less effort involved because it's not so speculative. It's not based on unnumbered assumptions.
I already know what I want to feel like, and so it's obvious if I feel that way or not. I have a comparison that's very easy to hold up and know whether or not it's true or it's not. I don't have to try to guess. I don't have to try to predict either I'm feeling that way or I'm not.
So when we're in this chair, we're in this quiet and we're bringing up these feelings of being alive, being really alive, feeling glowing and buoyant on the inside,
feeling that warm golden glow that seems to grow and expand from the core of us, know that's what we're actually after. That's what we actually want. That's being alive. Being alive is being alight. Being alive is being aglow. And if we can connect with this feeling, if we can really feel this feeling and we know this feeling has been absent from our lives for some time, or in the very least, in far too short supply, then that's enough information. We don't immediately need to know what to do about it. Knowing what we're looking for, knowing what we want is often enough information for right now. Because that's a breakthrough. That's an epiphany, especially if we felt lost and confused. To have that kind of clarity to finally know, or at very least think we have a pretty good idea of what we actually want, what we're actually after, that's huge.
When we get down to those fundamental bedrock baseline awarenesses, I found at least, oftentimes the best thing to do is just linger with that awareness, just sit with that awareness. Let it in, let it grow, and expand. All the clarity, all the direction of what I need to do about it, and with it, all of that will come. In fact, all feels fairly automatic. I don't need to jump from awareness to action instantaneously. I can have faith that awareness oftentimes does the work. I can have the faith that the knowing is enough to change my perspective, and the change in my perspective is enough to change my behavior. And the change in my behavior is enough to change the results, the feeling, the experience of the life that I'm living.
And this is just a nice exercise. If we've had a shortage of aliveness in our life, we can just find a quiet room in a comfortable chair, we can bring those feelings up, that's incredibly nurturing. That's incredibly sustaining. That's nice, and it's nice to know that as long as we can still feel it, we can still have it. That part of us hasn't died. That part of us perhaps has just been dormant. But we can turn those coals, we can build that fire, we can nourish and support and grow that part of ourselves, that part of ourselves, which is what ultimately sustains and nourishes and grows us.
We can be alive in our lives as we choose to be. And when we choose to value it, we choose to seek this aliveness, it can't help but expand. That awareness alone is enough to bring more of it to us.
Because it's my opinion anyway, there's really just a few core things that everyone wants, that everyone needs. And in my experience anyway, clearly one of these core things is aliveness, is a sense of aliveness in our own lives. And that whatever periods of dullness or boredom or frustration or stagnation, whatever times I've gone through where I didn't really feel very alive at all, ultimately those experiences were leading me to this realization. Were leading me towards what was really missing. And we all have the choice. We all have the choice of how alive we are in our own lives. We all have the choice of how much life we experience in our own lives. The feeling of aliveness is always available because we're alive.
We are products of all creation, and we serve all creation. And it's through this profound sense of aliveness that we serve at the best. It's through this profound sense of aliveness that we are served the best. So once we've identified, we've re familiarized, we encountered this sense of aliveness, now we can entertain all sorts of different ideas about what makes us feel more alive. Deep down on the inside, what really turns on our light, what really gives us energy, what really sustains us? What really creates that sense of passion and love within us? Of connection, of meaning, of fulfillment, and we can bring our focus to those things and grow this part of ourselves and know as this part of ourselves grow, this part of ourselves will be present in more of our expression. And when this part of us is present in more of our expression, then we get to receive it back as well.
It's an ascending staircase of existence. This aliveness, this expanding, expressive golden light that we're all made of is meant to be grown, is meant to be expressed, is meant to be shared, and is meant to be received. And we get to choose. We get to choose what we do. We get to choose what we believe makes us feel alive, and then we can go out and see for ourselves. Perhaps some things that we thought made us feel alive, a little later, don't really feel so great. Maybe that's not exactly it, maybe this isn't as light and joyful and hopeful and loving and loved as I thought I wanted to feel.
So we can keep going, we can figure out what this really means for us. What does our aliveness really feel like? And then from there, what does our aliveness really look like and feel like to be experienced? What sort of things tend to do that for us? Then when we know those things, tend to lean in that direction, and on and on we go. And also know that no matter how not alive we feel, no matter how dispassionate, overwhelmed, uncomfortable, exhausted, burned out, frustrated, stuck we feel, that aliveness is always in there. It's always waiting to be stoked and brought back. That flame is always ready to be regrow.
There's always, more opportunity for more life in our lives. There's always opportunity for more aliveness. There's always more depth we can experience. There's always more breadth we can experience. It never ends, and we can start where we are. We can rekindle and revive from whatever sense of aliveness we currently experience. And we can choose to grow and nurture it however we wish.
The important thing is the knowing. The important thing is the awareness and then what we do with that knowing and that awareness will flow naturally. We can connect with our own aliveness anytime we want. We can nurture and build our own aliveness anytime we want. The choice is always ours. And when we choose aliveness, when we choose to have more life in our lives, then the lives we experience naturally grow in that direction.