How often are we prompted to find ourselves? These days in the trending new-age world of spiritual fitness and festivals, there is a sense that we must search for a uniqueness that is separate from the norm. As I spend more time in the practice of yoga, I frequently come across people who are looking for something: for a calling, for a passion, for an escape from the mundane of ‘normal’.
So we quit jobs, sell belongings, leave homes and wander the world finding richness and passion in all the new adventures that unfold. We assemble our very own search parties. I admire the bravery of giving up the norm in search of something that sparks passion- I’ve done it many times. And for a while, it seems to work. But I notice that all too often we (myself included) get tired of the wandering homelessness… we get tired of our own escape. We return to the place from which we came, back into the grind of the norm with amazing stories and experiences to reflect on, but still at a loss for the lasting calling and passion that we ventured out for at the start.
The disconnect here is that these seemingly drastic actions that incite instant passion are merely a superficial layer of discovery uncovery. To uncover lasting passion and calling, we must be willing to go just as deep as we go far. Wherever we land, we must follow our adventures rooted in the freedom of what yogis call samadhi and Buddhists call nibbana.
When the reality of this idea of freedom starts to sink deeper past the superficial highs of adventure, we often feel uncomfortable and scared. And so there comes a turning point in the unfolding of freedom, nibbana, samadhi… a turning point where we are asked to give up something that seems a little too close to home.
Either we choose to take the superficial highs home in a doggie bag and return to our comfort zone, or we learn to stay with the discomfort and the fear- to let go of even that which we might consider home itself- in order to understand the foundation of that superficial high. We learn to renounce.
Often when we hear the word ‘renounce’ we are consumed with the thoughts of what we must give up and the sacrifices we must make. And while on a surface level this is valid, if we truly practice and understand renunciation, it becomes the ultimate act of receiving.
When we are able to let go of everything we ever thought we needed, we create a void. First we void ourselves of luxuries, frivolities, amenities… and when we keep paring down and down through discomfort and fear, eventually we void ourselves of necessities and identities. We become no one. Nothing.
Sound dismal? Perhaps. But it is in this state of no one and nothing… in this complete renunciation of the self, that we come to experience universal and eternal fullness.
Consider a black hole. It is eternally empty and simultaneously consuming the entirety of its surroundings. It assumes no identity and yet is completely unique in appearance because it draws in all of its present-moment surroundings. In its complete emptiness, it is the epitome of flow and fullness.
It is only when we are completely and utterly void that we understand that we don’t ever have passions or callings. Rather, when we create a void, passions and callings flow eternally through each of us in a way unique to our circumstance.
Passion becomes no longer about what suits us or what we desire- it becomes about trusting enough to continually clear space and lose our conditioned sense of self so that we may receive every moment in every aspect of its fullness.
When passion shifts from selfish to selfless, it also flips from fleeting to eternal. So yes, take first steps to get out of the rut and assemble the search party: quit a thankless job, find new friends, accept wild adventures. But know that at a certain point when the superficial highs have been assimilated, regardless of where we’ve been or where we are, we are asked to give it all up.
That in fact, we are continually asked to give it all up. To give up anger, attachment, forgiveness, love… It is in this eternal act of renunciation that we find the flow of passion and calling surging through us in its own unique way. No search party required. Well, maybe just the party.
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