My last article on this site, Three Lines of Transformational Personal and Spiritual Development, discussed self-development as one of three lines of development in what we at Awakenings Institute call the Transformational Triad. We all want more from life. In our search, deep questions like "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?" call us to rise to our highest potential.
While these questions are inspiring and engaging, they are also confusing. They can trap us in a maze. Our brains don't generally know what to do with questions about the deeper meaning of life.
What is Your Highest Potential?
From a holistic perspective, where everything is known to be connected, it seems like you should be able to answer this question and you can. The key is to avoid looking in all the wrong places, which many people do.
To grasp the big picture, we first examine the purpose of life, why we are here. Each of us is, of course, a physical being, but we sense there's more. We're not here just to survive. How boring! It's a good start, but we're here for much more.
"We're here to live fully and evolve - to expand, enjoy, explore new possibilities, and above all, do something meaningful."
This is the essence of self-development. The desire for reaching our highest potential is built into us as deeply as the desire to survive. To us, it's the heart of success.
Aliveness as a Key for Self-Development
As holistic coaches and healers, we've come to see that our aliveness, the energetic force that supports life, rises to its highest heights when we are stretch ourselves to reach for our highest potential. It makes sense that this is essentially our reason for being alive. This aliveness, or life force, also indicates that we are heading in the right direction.
When we feel blocked from reaching for our true potential, our aliveness wanes. Settling for a mundane life represses our life force. It's a sign we've gone off track.
To confirm this sense of self-direction for yourself, try this simple experiment:
- Imagine settling for a mundane life - basically just staying alive - for a moment now. As you sense it in your mind and your body, notice how alive you feel on a scale of 0 to 10.
- Now imagine exploring higher heights and reaching for your full potential, the life you were born to live. Imagine exploring and doing something special with your life. As you sense this experience of life in your mind and your body, notice how alive you feel on a scale of 0 to 10.
- Evaluate both experiences. What, if anything, did you notice? Which choice feels better and how important is it to you to feel alive?
Who Can Best Understand Your Highest Potential?
When my husband Phillip and I first grappled with the desire to realize our true potential, we realized that we alone could set our course. We sensed the truth was within us, in our inner wisdom. The thought of being able access such wisdom made us feel tremendously alive and excited about our possibilities. There was no way we could ignore this calling.
At that time, we had spent years as members of a spiritual organization where the leader claimed to have the truth. As members, we were taught to follow the leader - explicitly. This was okay at first. We learned a lot, including many spiritual truths we haven't found anywhere else. We're grateful for the experience, but in the end it wasn't enough.
The day came when it was time for us to leave the nest. We finally questioned why we continued to this leader. After all, we are all evolving. If our leader had access to higher wisdom and truth, why couldn't we have it, too?
Maybe you've had a similar experience. It's an important question. With this possibility, we were more excited than we'd been in years. It was time for us to soar.
This is an important step each of us takes in our self-development. We describe seven stages of our spiritual development in another article on our website.
Our Self-Development Journey Continues
The desire for higher wisdom and truth became a priority. We left the safety of the group and headed out into the unknown. We had to leave the life we knew, but it was worth it. In retrospect, we can see the timing was perfect.
We left the nest in the 1980's and it took some time for us to discover the simple truth that changed everything for us. This is funny in a way, because it was and still largely is, hiding in plain sight – in the callings of our hearts.
The Significance of the Heart in Realizing Your Highest Potential
People commonly talk about "following my heart," but most rarely consider what this really means. In the spiritual traditions of India, the heart is regarded as the doorway to our essential and ultimate nature, the Supreme Consciousness, what many in western philosophies refer to as the "seat of the soul."
It's no coincidence that the heart resides in the center of our being. Some also call the heart the spiritual bridge and we would agree. The heart is the bridge to the more expansive reality.
"Through the love and the spiritual spark that lights an awakening heart, we access our divinity."
We call this spiritual spark soul, thus heart and soul. This is the place where we discover our true identities as spiritual beings with greatness that longs to emerge and something special to offer to the world.
In our hearts, we at long last found the inner wisdom and truth we were seeking. In the depths of the heart and soul, anyone can understand who we are and why we are here. We learned a process for enlisting spiritual power that opened our hearts and got us on the path to our highest potential. Life has never been the same.
The most surprising part to us is where our hearts have taken us. Along with accessing our inner wisdom, we also recognized the importance of clearing roadblocks that keep people stuck. Our aliveness led us to a new life. It's the life we live today as holistic coaches, spiritual healers, trainers, and founding directors of Awakenings Institute.
Awakening is a natural process that lifts each of us from the mundane to the miraculous. It soothes our fears and opens us to the truth of who we are, why we are here, and where we are going. Who wouldn't want this?
The profound nature of the heart brings up an important point. If you are not consciously aware of what you are thinking and feeling, particularly in your heart, life is happening to you by default.
And if you are not accessing your greatest resource, the spiritual wisdom that resides in your heart, you are missing the most important and miraculous key to a richly fulfilling life.
Your Highest Potential: Bringing Spirit Fully into Form
On the journey, we also realized it's not just about accessing higher wisdom and truth. It's also about bringing the lofty realms of spirit into form. We call this the Heart of Success, because it emanates from within.
A genuinely successful life is one where you can reach into your heart and realize your highest potential. As Confucius advised:
"Wherever you go, go with all your heart."
The heart of success includes success in your career or life endeavors, health, prosperity, and more. It is characterized by being motivated by the heart's joy, love, and excitement rather than fear, which motivates most people. This represents a dimensional shift we call The Ultimate Paradigm Shift.
As mentioned, self-development is one of three lines of development in our Transformational Triad.
The Three Lines of Development include:
- Self-Development (and the Heart of Success)
- Dream Development (and Manifesting Your Dreams)
- Purpose Development (and Awakening to Your True Purpose)
These three lines of development evolve together and all are necessary elements of the journey to wholeness. They are also the subjects of three courses Awakenings Institute offers.
As you can see, this the Transformational Triad reaches further into human development than a group of techniques. It's a transformational journey we call "The Ultimate Paradigm Shift." It's a complete reality shift that embraces self-development, exploring your full human potential, and more. If you want to live fully, to expand and grow in wonderful ways, the three lines of development create a synergy that truly transforms lives.