Nov 2011: The Power of Your Innate Potential

by Brad on November 1, 2011

“And is it not a dream which none of you remember having dreamt that builded this city and fashioned all there is in it? Could you but see the tides of that breath you would cease to see all else, and if you could hear the whispering of the dream you would hear no other sound. The veil that clouds your eyes will be lifted by the hands that wove it.”  
– Kahlil Gibran, in The Prophet

If you’ve never read The Prophet, source of this month’s quote, I recommend it highly. It’s a story of Al-Mustafa, the prophet, waiting for the ship that is to return him to his homeland. Touched by 12 years of his presence and saddened by his impending departure, townspeople of Orphalese take one last opportunity to seek his wisdom, asking questions about life and human condition. In 26 essays he offers insight on religion, self-knowledge, freedom, love and many others. The above quote captivates and holds me. My first reading invited a second; I knew its wisdom was worth unraveling. Here’s my take. Perhaps it will shift your perspective on the power of your innate potential.  

And is it not a dream which none of you remember having dreamt that builded this city and fashioned all there is in it? Everything you’ve ever done in life, no matter what or how, you did through the unique, innate creative power that makes you “you.” Every project you complete, every task you undertake, every city you build, you do through the energy of your own divine essence. This is true no matter the circumstances that surround your achievement; often your achievements are all the more meaningful because of those circumstances. But because we’re unconscious of our intention to create, we experience life’s challenges as evidence that we didn’t create; we see our limitations, not our potential. And because we’re unaware of the link between intention and results, it’s as if everything that happened were a dream, a dream we don’t remember dreaming – a dream that, in fact, was no dream at all, but reality.  

Could you but see the tides of that breath you would cease to see all else, and if you could hear the whispering of the dream you would hear no other sound. If you were more aware of your intention, and were more conscious of your thoughts and actions, you’d understand the significance of your life and start listening to your own inner truth instead of the opinions of others. Furthermore, once you realized that this power came wholly from inside you, you’d listen to no other sound but the sound of your own heart, coming to believe powerfully in yourself and your divinity.  

The veil that clouds your eyes will be lifted by the hands that wove it. Through your growing awareness, you realize that the obstacles you experience to the life of your dreams come not from external circumstances and challenges, but from your inability to see yourself and your world clearly. Moreover, the cloud that obscures your perception is only illusion, an artifact of your mind. By making the unconscious conscious, your perception clears, and you come to see and embrace the potential your life is, and the power you have always had to steer its course toward your dreams.  

The belief that we have little influence over the course of our lives is (1) held unconsciously, (2) supported by no evidence, (3) denied by evidence that we ignore, and (4) so firmly rooted that we question neither its existence nor its validity. All the while, we’ve limited the very possibility we complain about not having. The unconscious acceptance of limiting beliefs exerts a powerful force of constraint. As the prophet says, if we could only see our own beliefs with clarity and awareness, we would dismiss them, freeing us immediately to consciously become who we already are.  

Your life represents a vast sea of potential. That potential is unique to you; it’s your divine purpose, your soul, your innate essence. This is yet another reason I so often suggest the regular practice of quiet time – to reflect, to inquire, and to examine the ways of believing, seeing and thinking that define your life. In making these things conscious, perhaps for the first time, you open yourself to the “you” who’s always been inside, waiting for you to notice, waiting for you to honor. 

A River Runs Through It  [Life lessons offered by nature] 

This past weekend, I had the privilege of leading a workshop program at the annual conference of the New England Environmental Education Alliance (www.neeea.org). The conference was held at a Nature’s Classroom center in the rolling hills of central Massachusetts. NEEEA is a great organization, its members dedicated to the education of our young people in thinking environmentally, living sustainably, and embracing our unity with the natural world. Perhaps their biggest challenge is to integrate this work into the mainstream thought process. Given the state of the mainstream thought process, this is no easy task. Living fully as part of a single global ecosystem flies in the face of our society’s linear, fragmented, UN-integrated and reductionist approach to life and education. 

My intention in the workshop was to afford participants a time to purposefully stop and reflect, to consider how the models they teach others might be openings to redefining the framework of their own lives. They’re a perfect audience for me, because so much of my work draws on how nature shows us a pathway to fulfilling our own lives and dreams. Woven into the group discussion, I spoke to what nature has taught me about living more authentically and meaningfully, and offered the following as a possible “map” to the territory of our lives. As is true in the wilderness, a map of the landscape is an indispensable aid to “staying found.” Nature teaches us … 

  • to create with intention.  Listen for the voice … and honor that deep personal truth to which you are continually drawn. Is your life is an expression of what matters most to you, your deepest creative essence?
  • to live with awareness.  Possibility shows up in “the space between,” in emptiness. Opportunity depends on constant change. What is your relationship to silence? to change? to uncertainty?
  • to act with courage.  Outcomes are rarely knowable ahead of time. Can you trust the power of your own truth to define your path in life? How do faith and trust light your way?
  • to relate with reverence, to yourself and to others.  We’re all connected as one. How you think, speak and act profoundly affects your life, and others. Do you live with deep gratitude for all you’re given?  

How might you choose to live “in nature’s image?” How has your own experience taught to live more authentically? Where and how have you honored (or perhaps denied) the lessons that have been placed in your life path?  

Openings to New Possibility  

My Blog: As noted last month, I’m beginning the process of folding all my writing into my blog, so you’ll have one source for anything I write about. It’s a longer process than I thought. You’ll find this newsletter in the blog, too, under the category of “Purposeful Wanderings.” I’ll still send the pdf file by email, and still post it on my website, as I’ve always done. But you can now bookmark or subscribe to my blog, visit as often as you may like, and see other writings as well. 

What Dream Do You Dream?: Consistent with this month’s article, ask yourself what dream you dream … about your life and the potential you want to see expressed. We often fall short of our dreams for 2 reasons: (1) we don’t dare dream them, believing they’d be impossible, and (2) we don’t know how to manifest them. If either or both are true for you, you might consider a coaching program. The answers you seek are inside you and I will help you find them. Contact me for a conversation that can change your life. 

Public Presentation: My public workshop last month in Franklin, MA, “The Illusion of Time,” was provocative, filled with possibility, and entertaining. Feedback has been great. If you would like a program for your group (or a group of your own assembling), let me know; I’ll create one to meet your needs and interests.  

Book of the month The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran. See article and quote. Deep insight and wisdom.  

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