There was this man, head to toe with a lamppost, pushing and struggling against it, as he tried in vain to move forward. A passerby asked him what he was doing and he said, “I’m trying to get home but this dern lamppost is in my way!” Have you ever felt like you were struggling against some monumental problem or emotion that was as unyielding as a lamppost?
In a visit to my family, I found myself pulled back into old childish reactions that didn’t reflect the current “me” at all! I was up against that dern lamppost! I wanted to re-create myself, to pull myself up by my bootstraps out of that old muck! But how???
When you are caught up in a problem or emotion, you are really into the details of it with not much “big picture” perspective. To move to a bigger perspective, you can ask:
- What’s my higher purpose for this?
- What’s my ultimate intention?
- What is this problem an example of?
The man up against the lamppost forgot that his intention was to get home so he could kick off his shoes and relax. He was so engrossed in pushing against the lamppost that he couldn’t step back to see that he just had to walk around it in order to get on with his original purpose. By asking these big-picture questions, he remembers the intention for his daily actions, which lets him step back to see space around the “problem” (lamppost). This gives him more options.
When I was immersed in those old childhood reactions to my family, I asked myself what my real purpose was in being with my family members. I found my negative emotions lifting as I re-membered it was to share love and support with them. Remembering this higher purpose for our family interactions dissolved those old childhood reactions for me.
By using these simple yet powerful questions, you can get the perspective needed to see your way around problems and sort out which details are important. Two business partners who can’t even agree on the wallpaper color for their office agree that the purpose for their business is to make a profit. Any way they do that, as long as they make a profit, makes the wallpaper issue an inconsequential detail. Focusing on our vision, our highest intention, keeps us from being sidetracked into wasteful, useless minutia or negative emotions that don’t align with our big purpose.
A profound meditative exercise is for one day to ask yourself about everything you do, every thought you think, or feeling you have: What is my purpose for this? What is my highest intention?
You go to the grocery store and ask what’s your purpose. To get food, of course. Food for what purpose? To give me energy and keep me alive. Energy and aliveness for what purpose? So I can do the work I am here for. That may lead you to buy fresh vegetables instead of cookies! By constantly questioning everything in your daily life you may find dramatic shifts, new solutions, even a renewed sense of purpose and spirituality. Take yourself off automatic and look at everything through these powerful yet simple questions to recreate yourself in alignment with your highest purpose.