Everybody would like to be guided by a higher intelligence, even if that is not the exact wording they would give to this process. And why wouldn’t we? The amount of certainty and inner peace that we could derive from such an apprenticeship is comparable to nothing else in life. The problem is, side-by-side with this wish or idea, we hold concepts in our subconscious that sabotage the very possibility of receiving such instruction. We believe that life is a purposeless accident brought about by random forces such as a lightning accidentally striking a primordial cocktail of amino acids, bringing about our DNA and life. Really? What’s the likelihood of that to happen? Apart from bearded-white-guy-in-the-sky, that’s about the tallest story I’ve ever heard. The problem is that, so far, there weren’t a lot of alternatives offered to those two outlandish narratives. This fact alone should already have us thinking.
If our species is to flourish on the planet and to build a global sustainable civilization, it cannot be driven by the agenda of competition, coercion, separation and domination, an agenda that we assert against each other, men assert against women, whites against blacks, industrial people against indigenous people, neo-colonialists against the colonised and, most importantly, humanity against all non-human life on the planet.
A different agenda, the one of cooperation and bio-symbiosis of all life, must come by recognizing and realizing that cosmic intelligence expresses and computes itself through all matter and life. This means that the process of finding and implementing your life’s divine purpose should take place parallel to a form of spiritual practice to foster direct contact with the Divine. That’s the reason why I recommend combining the content of this book, How To Find Your Life’s Divine Purpose, with formal yogic practice. I have, however, taught this method successfully to members of the Christian, Hindu, Sufi, Buddhist, Daoist, Shinto and Jewish faiths. It works also very well combined with shamanic/animistic practices. It does seem that people who have an existing spiritual/religious framework in place find it much easier to obtain instruction from the Divine. And this is simply for the reason that, although the Divine is always communicating with each of its children, we cannot always hear and understand the language and messages. This is, however, entirely due to us, our conditioning and not because of any lack on behalf of the Divine.
Remember that the entire indigenous spirituality is based on the premise that pretty much every single individual can/will get in contact with the Great Spirit/Great Mystery. If a single individual would fail to do so, this was seen as a danger to the entire tribe. This goes some way for us to understand how our entire Western civilization could push life on Earth to the brink of extinction. It has cut us off from the very source of life, the source of all information that makes up this cosmos.
I want to encourage you to do some form of formal practice to make contact with the Divine easier. If you have one (an existing faith), use that one, great. If you don’t, try yoga based on the books that I wrote previously. There is a perception in some quarters that contact with the Divine should be automatic, easy, effortless. It may be so in the case of a traditional, aboriginal person who has never left indigenous hunter/gatherer culture. But as the old Lakota medicine people told the anthropologist Richard Walker, for modern white people, it is more difficult to have visions because we are “thicker”. We shouldn’t be surprised. Isn’t our entire way of life based on separation, alienation? Look at the artificial, de-naturated living spaces we created in modern cities. Personally, I find visions much more difficult to obtain in Faraday-cage-like, modern steel and concrete buildings, far away from nature. Accept, then, that you may have to do some form of spiritual practice to transform yourself to become a conduit or conductor for divine intelligence.
There is another aspect to this that is not easy for me to put into words. The process of yoga is somewhat complex because it is an undoing of a complex process of enculturation/conditioning that started with us exiting ourselves from the Garden of Eden, called in scripture “the eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” and continued right through to Noah’s ark and Cain and Abel (symbolizing the war of agriculturists against nomadic herders). The same process is described in the Indian Puranas as the myth of the four yugas from Golden Age (Satya Yuga) to our current Age of Darkness (Kali Yuga). We can say, then, that yoga is a complex set of practices because it needs to undo the complex activities that separated us from nature over thousands of years. But even if we go back all the way to the so-called Garden of Eden or Golden Age, which are nothing but fancy metaphors for our past as indigenous people, we see that indigenous people, too, usually do serious work to get access to the Divine. Australian Aborigines did send their pubescent youths on walkabout, a month-long process from which some would not come back. The African shaman Patrice Malidoma Some, when describing his own initiation process, said that it was normal that each year, some in each cohort would die. It was considered unavoidable. Lakota youths had to spend three days on a hilltop without clothing, food, drink, shelter or contact. The reason why I am mentioning all of this is because there is a white, neo-colonialist attitude that you can have divine vision and realization right now without having to do or give anything in return. “I wanna have it all and I wanna have it now”, do you remember that slogan?
I do think that we modern, industrial people, many of us white, do have to go back to this ancient knowledge, otherwise we’ll continue to do what we are good at, which is destroying the world and nature. But when we do go back, we should acknowledge that this option is still open to us because ancient cultures like the Aborigines, the native Americans, indigenous Africans, ancient Indians, etc., have kept the door open for us, have held space for us while we were busy destroying their civilizations. They did that for us because they knew eventually, we had to come back. They do, therefore, deserve our respect and gratitude.
Now, we clever white folks finally have realized we need to go back to ancient wisdom, so the latest clever scam we are pulling is that it’s totally easy, you have to do nothing, it’s just flipping a switch or two in your brain. That is again the same old story that we modern folks are supposedly smarter than ancient, traditional societies. now we think we can just get without effort and work what those traditional people had to work for. Do you see the modern sense of entitlement in that? Do you see the neo-colonialist attitude? We have to accept the fact that it will be work and, most likely, more work than traditional, shamanic people have to put in because they never departed from living in harmony with nature. I am afraid that modern people who believe there is no work required are only switching their words but not their actions, not their consumption habits. Brothers and sisters, if we then get back to this business of divine inspiration and vision, let’s hold in deep respect those who have held this space while we focussed on conquering, dominating, manipulation, coercing and destroying nature. For all that to work out, we have to give something back, put some work and energy into it. It won’t just happen all by itself simply by us stating that it does.
This is an excerpt from my recent book How To Find Your Life’s Divine Purpose