The Sixth Way, Living “Deeply”

Posted on April 18, 2012

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It has always been a desire of mine to live a “deep” life versus a “shallow” one.  When I was young, living a deep life equated to living a good life.  When I look back there were times that my being “deep” was more pretentious and shallow than many of those lives that I judged to be shallow.  I learned to let go of judgement.

So as I wrote What Attracts You? yesterday, I could hear a Zen-like voice in my head saying be careful when you talk about labelling desires and attractions as shallow or deep:

One’s person’s shallow attraction is another person’s deep gift.

A few examples of why labelling attractions as shallow or deep came to mind from my own personal experience:

  • I remember when a dear friend of mine in college fell in love with the love of his life. He talked about knowing the first time he met her that she was “the one”.  In those days, I secretly wondered if Eric was limiting himself to get married when he was 21.  Yet, over the years I could see he was very happy with his marriage and many children.  A few years ago, in his early forties Eric died of cancer.  I couldn’t help thinking that Eric had followed the attraction of his soul.
  • Sometimes we follow shallow attractions and they lead us to depths we can’t even imagine as when we choose the “wrong” career, spouse, or taxi.  Some of my best adventures and deepest learning experiences came about from following shallow attractions.  When I look back even the shallow attractions could be seen as attractions of the soul.
  • When I was writing grants for a non-profit, I kept hoping to find a Scrooge like sponsor who had been “shallow”enough to save money all his or her life, and suddenly had a revelation from the ghost of Christmas future and suddenly became generous.  That work taught me more than any other how clearly the deep and shallow among us are interconnected.

One person’s shallow attraction is another person’s deep gift.

Yet, we also know that following only shallow attractions isn’t wise. So, how do we learn to discern between the shallow and deep attractions in our life?  Do we simply stumble through life just taking chances?

These are five classical ways of assessing what attractions to follow:

  1. Through the lens of our family’s ideas
  2. Through the lens of our society’s ideas
  3. Through the lens of our religion’s ideas
  4. Through the lens of our personal experience
  5. Through the lens of our intuition

Perhaps you have some other ways of how you decide which attractions to pay attention to in your life.

A few years ago, I realized that the five classical ways of discerning what attractions to act upon in my life were necessary filters, but something was missing.  I began a personal quest to see the world through the lens of another way — the lens of the soul, which was something bigger, something personal and collective at the same time.

Through meditation, mysticism, alternative spiritual practices, and deepening my awareness I have become aware that there indeed is a sixth way — the soul’s way.

The soul’s way keeps presenting itself to all of us through the attractions that help us to find the wisdom to choose how to love more to the best of our abilities without judgment remembering:

One person’s shallow attraction is another person’s deep gift.

 What ways do you allow your attractions to lead you to love, wisdom and greater life?

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