Sep 21

Seeking Freedom, Seeking Peace

What do you really want—what do any of us really want? We all have our own ideas of what would make up our highest good.

I want to be successful as a coach and a writer—to make full use of my talents and abilities and to help others attain their goals and find more fulfillment and well-being.

But why do I want those things? Each of us is born with our own talents and desires. Each of us is born to make a contribution and use our abilities in the fullest way possible.

As Viktor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning, who survived years in concentration camps during World War II has written:

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.

Viktor Frankl survived because he held a vision, but also because he allowed himself to find meaning and purpose even in the most horrific circumstances. Before he was taken into the camps, he had written an entire book which was then destroyed. He knew he had to survive and re-write that book. And that’s what he did.

Ask yourself what is the feeling you would have, if everything worked out the way you wanted it to. How would it be if you did use your talents fully and attained your goals?

That would be, I believe, a feeling of freedom, a feeling of peace, a feeling of having arrived.

So instead of saying “When I have accomplished this or that only then can I be happy,” or “When this happens only then I can have this good feeling,” why not reverse the order? Why now try to cultivate the feeling you’d like to have now? Today? Why not find meaning and purpose in this very moment? It is this moment that is carrying you into the future. It is the accumulation of these moments that create your future.

What if your goals were already attained?

After all, today is all we’re really sure of. So make your inner freedom and peace a priority. It may just help you attain your goals. And even if you don’t attain them as fully as you might wish, you will have made progress. No effort is ever wasted, and something good will come of whatever effort you put in. Continue to believe in yourself and in your eventual success.

“Be optimistic. It feels better.” –His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

“There is no way to peace; peace is the way.” –A.J. Muste