How to Find Hidden Talent
Before you discover your hidden talent, do your duty. Our daily commitment is that shining light that can eventually reveal our real potential. A latent ability that will illuminate our way such that there is no choice but to be the creative force or cause of our prescribed disunity. Until then, however, you are in the dark, blinded by the fate of the false authority of social norms, rules, and dogma.
Or you might say — “If you can’t be with the one you love, then love the one you’re with.”
Can you ask yourself a question here? “Do I serve this body, or does it serve me? What is my body’s real purpose? Is it serving me, expressing myself through time in my given purpose in and of life? As obvious as the answer may be to the seeker of truth, the question is essential and yet rhetorical to all but the hardened hedonist, lost in the vicious cycle of the painful pursuit of pleasure, who has just now tuned out of this article. Obvious, yes, but harder than it looks, indeed.
How is this body obligated in our endeavors of higher purpose, and then how does that role differ in our daily race for survival? Can these two paths merge into one path, one simple principle that brings clarity to everything physical? This can also be called The Way.
This physical body takes information in through the five senses: smelling, tasting, seeing, feeling and listening. That’s all of them, right? Unless you count the subtle sixth sense, but mainstream science isn’t there yet on that. What happens when a sense object (scent of a flower, the light of a tree) contacts one of these senses? Something attractive catches in the nostrils or maybe the eye, I see it, I smell it, then it is labeled — an icon for easy access, a symbol for what it was to me, buried in memory, in the past. I am remembering and almost simultaneously I am calculating the feeling that it can give me based on personal history. I want to possess that object, take it out the world and enjoy it in me, then after some time, after I have it, I don’t want it. The desire disappears. This is my experience anyway. How about you? Have you gone into this vicious circle before? Can you examine this peculiar phenomenon more closely in yourself or have you observed this in others (easier)? I’ll come back to this later.
This day was devoted to my physical body, the whole day, something habitual was skipped over, a ritual put upon my body from the mind, not from a hidden addiction of the physiology. No. It’s disciplined that I am. However, I did include a pleasure mixed in with the discipline. This mix colors my mood, a feeling in the body, a sensation that I do not resist and why should I resist pleasure, as long as I am willing to pay the price for it. I pay and then I enjoy.
My wife and I head out at dawn, just before dawn, destination: the Iki Loop Trail inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, with a pit stop along the way for a cup of coffee and a vegan cookie at our favorite cafe. This is where the pleasure entered the story. We sat at a different table than the usual as we had no need for a power outlet this time, we are not staying long, no writing in the cafe today. We drank our black coffee and Yoshika prepared our lunch for the hike, a sweet potato salad sandwich. She had prepared the sweet potato mix the night before. She just needed the bread. We purchased a loaf of freshly baked spelt bread from the cafe’s bakery. She put the ingredients together right there on the cafe table. After that and the coffee and the cookie we left. It was still early, the orange sun had just risen behind us as we drove up towards the nearest volcano.
We parked in front of the Volcano House Hotel and found a place to relax in the observation lounge, got another cup of coffee from Jeffery the friendly barista there at the kiosk. After a few minutes of sipping coffee, I started to feel our altitude, 4,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean.
Thus the exercise had already begun, a new movement in the chest, compensating for the thin air here, the heart and lungs were motivated automatically, adjusting to the new pressure, bringing more energy, a higher force into the vehicle called the body. At this point, I felt it in my mind as an effortless expansion of thoughts. Not the quantity of them but rather the singularity of one after the other, like knots tied in a rope used to help in climbing, footholds. Longer and clearer, the thoughts unfolded in bubbles at this higher altitude with nothing to do but breathe and observe.
Sitting in a wicker rocking chair in the lounge, we fixed our gazes on the steaming vent in the Kilauea caldera. Thoughts formed in my pondering mind, informing me, speaking to me if I was quiet enough to listen. I heard, “We are sitting atop a living, breathing volcano, a lava tube is connected from here to the molten center of the Earth. This is called a hot spot.” Pausing, feeling it all underneath, my inner monologue continued as soon as it could, “This moment is perfect, all moments are ordinary, mundane but nevertheless, perfect. Moments temporarily suspended thought in between thoughts…” I lost awareness and lost time at this point, like a forgetting smoke creeping in under the door. “ That’s enough.” A thought brought me back. My mind cleared, this next round was in discovery mode with a deep direction. If this doesn’t make any sense at all then you are on the right track. It is not supposed to make sense. The less sense the better for the wanderer. Keep wandering with me, keep reading. The mind was not wandering to escape something foul. I chose to be there, I even wanted to be there, and that ‘want’ can be a tricky thing, it tends to fade out pretty quickly these days with so many choices. I mean once you get there, you are thinking about the next place, so the mind moves to the next thing on the to-do-list. But, to do nothing, in particular, was in the cards for today’s game. That moment was exactly what and where I was, completely. That is the combination that unlocks the safe door that shuts the subconscious, pulling the door open, pushing through boredom…
Awareness could go deeper now, like a deep-sea diver, the thoughts needed to get heavier to get deeper. The thought bubbles became denser from the continuous attention I was pouring into them. The bubble remained intact, the diver went deeper into my dark creative space with only one light source, that light of continuous attention pointed at it, like juggling, you must keep the balls moving or your not juggling anymore. Deeper in space, longer in duration, the empty thought bubbles continued to persist, compelling me to be with them. Time passed unnoticed until I reached a passage from the Bhagavad Gita, a passage hidden in a corner of my mind space:
“One’s natural work though done imperfectly is better than doing superior unnatural work. One who does the work ordained by one’s inherent nature (innate ability) incurs no sin (karmic debt). In other words, It is better to do your given duty, the duty that is relatively obvious to you, right in front of you, though your skill in it may seem to be flawed. Do it anyway, even if you are interested and better at something else. Yes, this may seem to fly in the face of the cultural mantra, “Do what you love!” or, “Do what you are good at.” However, remaining steadfast with your given purpose, mundane as it may be, you’ll be free of unnecessary entanglements, free of a complicated materialism.
I think you will agree with me that each one of us, you and I has and have a unique gift, a contribution to the world. This gift is given to you, you have it in you already. That thing that only needs to be discovered by you, by yourself and then given back to the world. This hidden talent takes training and hard work to uncover or it may have been discovered early in life such as a child prodigy.
I cannot say I have found my purpose but my duty is clear to me until I do.
In this world then, the activity of my duty leads to and will reveal my purpose eventually. I affect the body-mind complex, keeping my instruments clear and sound so I can perform actions naturally close to perfection. That performance is always perfect. Perfect only when it is my duty that is. Perfect in that it causes no harm to others or myself. No matter what I do today or any day if I exercise the body-mind I can do no wrong, karmically speaking. Duty is strength, in duty I can trust, and in doing my duty I gain peace of mind.
Could this be the crux of the dilemma facing most ‘worldly’ folks: 1. Ignore the body via self-medicating or escaping. The health of the body is ignored for a so-called ‘higher’ duty to the family, the career or something else altogether far away from the mundane sometimes boiled down to the expression — “putting food on the table”. We escape from this dilemma, dimming the inner lights, diverting power into the external senses for a distraction, a ritual deep-rooted in ignorance, in society. We put off what the body needs for what the mind wants.
That is why I say my duty was fulfilled by a different kind of exercise this day, different from my usual routine, a yoga asana practice done in the comfort of my own home. Which, of course, is totally fine. So left this comfort zone reluctantly, not for the escape of the senses or some imagined fantasy, but quite the opposite, to leave the routine for something unknown, something uncommon. This can be something simply done differently, like doing a typical activity with your left hand instead or your right.
Leaving everything behind and underneath for something unknown, I felt lighter and vibrant inside once I broke out of the morning ritual.
We started the hike at the Thurston Lava Tube, taking our time, pacing ourselves for the 4-mile hike in the thin atmosphere.
Though we walked slowly, we soon came upon a French man with his young son, probably 5-years old. The man was moving patiently at the same pace as the boy did, staying behind, allowing the child to explore ahead, the boy asking questions of his dad as he moved along the trail. The man answering calmly as the child’s curiosity wandered step by step, blissfully making his way downwards, towards the crater floor about a mile along the way and 400 feet down through the tropical jungle, a rainforest with no rain today.
We both fell in line, quietly in step with the slow pair for a few moments, enjoying the innocent pace we all took as four together. After a few minutes of this, the man suddenly stepped aside, noticing us behind them for the first time, the boy diverting his attention from the jungle to the two of us passing by and ahead and down in front of them. It was a beautiful way to start the hike, led by the curiosity of a boy.
Along with the surrounding jungle, there are a couple warning signs posted next to the trail, warning of potentially hazardous conditions: steam vents, earth cracks and cliffs.
We stayed on the trail as it opened up abruptly, giving way to the moon-like landscape of the crater floor, the flat, hardened surface of the lava lake, not unlike the surface of a frozen lake, stretched out wide and in front all the way to the horizon.
With no noticeable effort, using the stram we gathered from the downhill momentum, we started our track across the grey-blue hardened landscape, guided by occasional stacks of rocks and the powdery smooth compression left by thousands of hikers there before us. The flat hike was more like a walk, but a walk at cloud level. We made our way towards some small lava hills about halfway across, declaring that place as a lunch spot. We were the only ones approaching from our direction, all others we encountered were all on the same marked trail but all moving in the opposite way as if we were going the wrong way up a down escalator. We veered off the trail towards some shade cast by a hill nearby and broke out our lunch box, Yoshika distributed the goodies after we found comfortable spots to sit down, the contents strategically prepared in the cafe earlier today. We relaxed, ate and watched the trail as hikers walked by.
Then, about halfway through the meal, a French woman came from the same direction as we had come from. I thought it strange because I didn’t remember passing her. She was with the same boy we had seen with his father, coming down before. I thought to myself, “She must be the boy’s mom the man’s wife.” However, opposite to her husband, she was leading the young boy, she, in front of him. Moving quickly along the flat trail. She called out to her boy to move faster, to catch up with her, to move at her speed. The boy was at a constant kid-jog until he stopped, running out of steam, calling out, “Wait, mommy!” She was not interested in dialogue with her son but instead was apparently training him for the next children’s marathon at high altitude. Trotting backward, she goaded the kid, “Hurry up! Are you a turtle or a rabbit?” I answered for the boy to myself, “A turtle. You are a turtle. Be the turtle.” The boy lept forward, keeping silent, sprinting to catch her as she spun around and sped ahead, around the next bend, shouting over her shoulder for the boy to catch her. The husband was nowhere to be seen, perhaps he was taking a time-out with a cigarette. I imagined this was part of their strategy for the day; mother and son time, father and son time, training her way, training his way, the boy getting single-pointed parenting. I wondered what they do when they’re all together. I enjoyed watching them, something real, different, and something mundane too.
After we finished the meal we resumed our hike onwards, effortlessly, like walking on the moon, the gravity here is less than Earth’s. The exercise strengthens the heart and the legs. I know this was the right choice because I felt good all day long. So good I transcribed this experience into this story, a purpose-driven walk-about, through a volcano. Done with the pleasure of purpose. This telling is the part of the fun of the story and part of the story. The story is the metaphor of what I am living, though mundane, it is profound.
No other can tell me my life purpose, the purpose of life but others may see, may know my worldly duty better than me especially when I avoid it. That is why I love people. People reflect back what you are giving. Give back what you may miss.
You can fugue your purpose out for yourself eventually, as I am still distilling mine out of life, you may also admit you don’t know your purpose either, but not without some courage and some pain.
Reading a story is interpreting the words into and from the past, identifying something old with some part of it, with a character, a conflict, an emotional feeling, like chewing something sweet, then there is the climax (you swallow) and then it ends. All this is dependent on memories of past experiences and intuitive archetypes made out of our collective history. This is why stories never really seem to change over time but actually remain the same.
When I look closely, inquire, examine my memory of life, I see a story that has been repeating, repetition begetting repetition. A copy of a copy of a copy. This repetition dulls my mind, my sensitivity to the story of a life so much that I forget or try to forget that I am living the same old story again and evermore. This is what is meant by history repeats itself. This is not only my personal experience but also on the macro level of the whole world.
Can I stoically accept all that I perceive in the world with balance without trying to change it immediately?
What I am getting at here is self-restraint. That is not to say that I deny the role I must play, the role I have been cast into without the script and the director is unknown until I understand that it is a secret that I find out when I am quiet and full of vitality. This role is better played when researched, requiring a fit body and beginner’s mind to receive my soul’s purpose here on Earth with you all.
Today we did our duty to the body to the mind, well above the sea, feeling the effortless momentum gather, especially in the heart as it pumped power into my bones, into my being, propelling myself forward like a penguin as it slips its awkward body into the big sea from the rocks, feeling light and quick in the open water. I moved my legs but kept my mind still, breathed in through my nose and kept my mouth shut. Taking it all in then letting it all go out slowly. I did not need to sit quietly in my room in a cross-legged posture, or to hold a warrior-one pose on my yoga mat to feel my body light and full of vitality.
The air was so clean and crisp here on the Kilauea Iki Loop trail, with dozens of others all doing the same as us, all greeting each other and me and my wife with big friendly hellos!
“Hello, my dear ones.”, I said to myself, “We are the same, you and I and us, no matter what shape or nationality or whatever we are all equal up here, we are all doing the same thing, a common goal, like the roots of trees interconnecting, nourishing one another in the human forest of hikers of the volcano I felt a bigger belongingness to the human race.
Up here, with my heart pumping at the ideal rate, just above normal, I felt a pleasure surround my body automatically, and the scenery didn’t hinder this satisfaction — beautiful openings of ground and the blue big sky, the far-off Ohia forests climbing up the hillside, created by a lava fountain many years before. All this pouring into me, a sensorial movement. This is life, filling me up like a festive glass of wine overflowing so that I have no choice but to spill over to all that is around, if there is no one there to beam at I just feed it back into the ground, into the rocks, the lava, the trees and the insects, the birds, the flowers. This is love without naming the thing. Could this be what is meant by unconditional love? There is no condition required for me to love the world. My cup is my being, being myself, me. I am full, overflowing even, and all that stuff that spills out is touching everything around equally without judging or choosing or any hierarchy, no one above the other. Like the horizon, flat.
I can only barely describe this feeling, you must experience it for your self to know it and you probably have when you hit that physiological level in a work-out activity — the brain stops talking and starts humming and you just keep moving like a rocket breaking through the Earth’s atmosphere, catching the solar rays, propelling yourself into orbit. You float in this electric inertia of neutrality, created by the pumping magnetic heart, neither giving nor taking anything anymore. Instead of being a ‘taker’ you become a ‘doer’ and then a ‘giver’ — you are doing your duty to your body, that birthright you were born to do, can do, and are doing, shifting from a limited self to serve the bigger Self. That effort taps into the abundance of nature and shines in all directions equally, to enemy and friend alike as you jog, swim, do yoga, or whatever gets you in the fit-zone. I can’t emphasize this point enough, that you can actually set this up In your life right now, just by being really fit — physically, proactively super healthy. Which can be really impossible for you or me if we stay in our self-made rut, the life that you are good at but nothing real coming out of it, nothing that lasts. Doing good doesn’t always mean being well. Do you know the difference? It is simple as I am putting it here; being good at our job doesn’t mean we have wellness in all corners of our life. It may mean quite the opposite. Just think of all those great men and women who had shinning exteriors of achievements but were totally rotten inside. Stop and take a look.
I got out of my comfort zone today, came to a place that is sacred to some, to me it is sacred, the whole day was spent there doing nothing usual but just being fit in an alternative way, an automatic exercise of just walking in nature and this affecting me till now, the evening when I write this the same day. Instead of watching a video or checking social media I write, I express outward, I overflow to others, giving this to others, writing this down. Can you question what your duty is to your body? To your health to the health of others? Can you go inside and feel for the first time this moment and just feel it? How are you feeling now about the choices you’ve made today, the choices you will make tomorrow?
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