All of us come in with natural gifts. Some we’re born with and some arise over time. They’re natural qualities of the framework we’re born with.
Our society places an emphasis on things like smarts, perceived beauty, athletic ability, and extroversion. But our gifts can take many forms – even to be a disrupter. They can be physical, emotional, mental, intellectual, intuitive, empathic, or spiritual.
Trouble is, our gifts may seem quite ordinary to us. Often we’ll need feedback from others to recognize their value. They’ll be extraordinary for them, like healing, composing music, or physical stamina. If we don’t recognize our gifts, we may not value or culture them.
Our first job in this life is getting to know what those skills and gifts are. They’ll steer our life, even if we don’t recognize them. For example, I have a gift that was once called “storage and retrieval of knowledge.” I had not recognized it until then but once stated, it was obvious in every major role I’ve had.
Our culture often does a poor job of supporting our self-discovery. And our upbringing may have challenged our gifts. Parents may not welcome some talents and we may have learned to suppress them. That noisy child may be a natural singer, for example. Or we got negative feedback in school as we got pushed to fit in.
Further, our gifts are not for or about us. They’re about what we offer the world. They point to why we’re here and say more about dharma or purpose.
If we ask “Why am I here?” outside this collective context, we’ll miss the point. It’s not about you. Your gifts are to give to others.
Our second job is to develop those gifts and find a way to offer them. This is about meeting the need of the time. As the collective is constantly flowing and evolving, we want to learn to go with the flow.
This is the dance of life, a call and response to discover how we can serve.
Joseph Campbell famously said “follow your bliss.” This is because joy is a signal we’re on the right path. Ease and results are too.
A further challenge is the play of karma. Life will bring us challenges to work out. These will be temporary circumstances that we’re obliged to work through. But these challenges are distinct from our calling.
And yet, even karma will show up through the filter of dharma. For example, I had work that dominated a decade of my life that was very karmic. But the role was very much as described above – storage and retrieval of police evidence.
By serving the world instead of ourselves, we increase results and resolve karma rather than making more. R. Buckminster Fuller described the process as precession. This is stepping into the flow. We don’t need all the answers, just enough understanding to work with life rather than against it.
If we don’t develop our gifts into skills, they won’t have as much practical value. Not that we’re required to develop every gift. Different time periods may emphasize different scenarios as the karma plays out. But our theme song continues to play.
Ultimately, it’s not our gifts but what we do with them that counts.
Right action flows automatically if there is no hindrance to it. The result flows back quickly, sometimes enhanced.
But if there is some shadow or resistance, some blind spot, this can impede smooth flow. I’ve yet to meet anyone completely clear.
Awakening certainly speeds up the healing process but it still unfolds in time, in the chapters of our life. We still need to recognize our blind spots.
And that’s where others can help. They can reflect our resistance back to us, if we’re willing to see it.
Some people have gifts at helping, coaching us through resistance and motivating right action.
Even someone very awake may still have a blind spot they have not yet resolved. By using a coach or expert, they can get an external influence to help.
When the person has largely been resolved, there is also less drive to do something “personal.” By bringing in an outside influence like a friend or coach, movement can happen.
We can all use a helping hand, supporting each other on our journey.