Do you feel like you’re lost in life with no sense of direction, no sense of purpose, no great ambition or inspiration? Maybe you feel stuck. Maybe you feel stagnant. Maybe you feel like you’re at a standstill and you don’t know what to do with yourself. You’ve probably watched a dozen other videos and read a dozen other articles, looking for motivation, looking for inspiration, looking for advice on how to move forward in your life. And yet nothing seems to do it for you. Well, I may be able to offer you a different perspective.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times in my own life I’ve felt this way. And it’s not merely a feeling of being lost or stuck or unmotivated. Along with all that comes a feeling of restlessness, as if I should be doing something, but I just don’t know what. Or, I have a sense of what I should be doing, but I just don’t have the motivation, or I just don’t feel inspired in that moment . And that can be really frustrating, and even depressing. And once you get weighed down by those heavy feelings it can be very difficult to get out from under them.
But something that I’ve learned to do is to examine whatever I’m feeling, and to do my best to understand it, and more importantly to understand the cause of these feelings. It’s very easy to feel something and assume that the cause is external. That’s what usually appears to be the case. So, if you’re unhappy, you can look at the circumstances of your life and conclude that it’s those circumstances that are causing you to feel that way. But I’ve learned that our perception can be very deceiving, and that when we look deeper we find that the cause is always internal; that it’s not really about the outward circumstances, but about how we interpret them.
So you have to ask yourself, am I unhappy because of my circumstances? Or am I unhappy because my circumstances aren’t matching up with my expectations, with my vision of how life is supposed to be?
We all have some ideal in mind of what life is supposed to be like, or what we’re supposed to be like, or what we should be doing with our lives. And we use that ideal like a standard to measure our life against. And when life doesn’t measure up, that’s when we feel incomplete, inadequate, stagnant, lost. That’s when we become frustrated, disappointed, anxious and depressed.
And it may seem that in order not to feel lost, we need to find a direction. We need to find something that we’re passionate about, something that will inspire us to take action. But the problem might be that we just don’t have a clue what that is. Or it may be that we have some sense of what we would like to be doing, but we’re just lacking the motivation and inspiration to pursue it at the moment. And so instead, we find ourselves doing nothing.
But here’s the thing about inspiration. It can’t be forced. In fact it’s the nature of inspiration to be spontaneous and effortless. And so the more you try to force it, the more frustrated it becomes. It’s only when you stop trying to force it, when you surrender to the moment, when you stop resisting your current circumstances, that inspiration finds a space to germinate and flourish.
And what this requires of us is to simply be content with not knowing what we’re doing, and perhaps with not needing to be doing anything in particular for the moment. But rather, embracing that space of inactivity, and learning to rest in it. In other other words, to stop resisting it, to stop trying to escape it, to stop looking for something to do. And, instead, relaxing into the stillness of inactivity.
Every season serves a purpose. In winter, animals hibernate and trees become dormant. There’s a stillness and a silence all around. And it would appear that life has come to a standstill. It would appear, in fact that everything is dead. And if you we’re to experience winter for the very first time, having no prior understanding of it, you might think the whole world is coming to an end. All hope is lost. But then spring arrives and suddenly the animals reappear and the trees begin to sprout new leaves. And the world is filled with color and sound, as if resurrected from the grave.
We too have seasons in our lives. There are times when we grow and flourish, and there are times when everything is still and silent, and our creativity lies dormant. And perhaps to key to surviving winter is not to yearn for spring, but to embrace the dormancy, and to rest in that stillness.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that we must always be active, and so when we find ourselves at rest, we resist it. We think we should be doing something. And because we aren’t we get the sense that there’s something wrong with us. Why am I not motivated? Why am I not inspired? And so we see it as a problem to be solved. And we try to get inspired and we try to get motivated, and more often than not all we get is frustrated. We’ve tried everything, but nothing seems to work.
But what if the thing we need most is not to try at all, but to simply surrender and let go of the need to do anything? When I find myself in these moments, I find that the more I surrender, the more I feel at peace. The more I let go of expectations, of the need for things to be a particular way, of needing to understand, to have an answer, to know for certain, to figure it all out, the more I am able to relax.
And the more deeply I relax into that space, simply allowing myself to be without action, without motivation, without direction, and without resistance to any of that, the more naturally inspiration begins to arise on it’s own. And what comes from that spontaneous inspiration is far greater in quality than anything I could force.
But in the meant time, have patience and be present with where you are. Surrender to the moment and learn to rest in the stillness instead of fighting against it.