To think better, find your life’s purpose
In our life we learn many things; to walk, to sing, ride a bicycle—but no one ever teaches us how to think. We have to learn that for ourselves. Our teachers and parents probably did not know how to think either.
The mind is a little like an airport. In an airport, planes are landing and taking off every few minutes or seconds, and our thoughts are like that. Emotions, impressions, memories all jumbled up and arriving and departing into and from the mind every few moments.
Our excess of thinking is related to our not understanding our true value. The value we have as human beings, as children of God, as embodiments of spiritual, divine qualities at a deeper level. We have forgotten them.
So, when we go out into the world each day, we really do not know who we are supposed to be. We have to be so many things to so many people, in so many different situations.
I believe it to be true that as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, ‘we are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience’.
So, if I am this spiritual being going through this human experience, who am I? If I cannot see that, then definitely I will have to think more. If things become clearer, I will have to think less.
There are three limiting factors to a calm mind. Consciousness of the body, (its aches and pains and form and shape and gender), consciousness of my role (s) (parent, teacher, director, builder and so on), and my own story; the story of my life with the joys and traumas of what has happened to me, what I have made happen. The fact is, I am not a body, I am not my role(s), I am not my story! I have to widen my awareness; I am a soul, God’s child with divine qualities — these qualities are inherent within me. I have to go beyond my little roles because I have a bigger role — if these things become clear, I will certainly think less and think better.
What is my bigger role? What is my purpose? If I am a child of God, a peaceful being, what’s my purpose? If love is one of my deeper qualities, what’s my purpose?
Purpose is connected with identity. I have a bigger role.
I can be in peace, full of love and serve others. We feel best when we feel useful; when we are serving and giving benefit to others.
If I am giving benefit, I will think less. If we occupy ourselves with giving, we won’t have to think too much. When you give, the universe looks after you.
If I can calm myself, stop struggling and charging ahead and questioning so much, I will become still, and then I can reflect; just like the stillness of a lake reflects.
If I keep throwing rocks into my own mind, I cannot reflect any more; I am forced to interpret, conjecture, wonder—then my thinking increases. With clarity there is no need to think any more.
The real purpose of my life is not something I invent; it’s something I discover. It’s already there. When I discover that, I think less, think better and live well.
Ken O’Donnell, an author and international consultant on strategy and leadership, is the director of Brahma Kumaris’ services in South America.