Medium 9781576753521

The Highest Goal

Views: 1168
Ratings: (0)

For over 25 years, Michael Ray taught the celebrated Personal Creativity in Business course, mainly at Stanford University but also in non-academic settings. Over the years, Ray began to realize that the course was having a more profound impact on graduates than he'd ever intended. It went way beyond helping them in their careers. People who'd been through the course seemed to blossom-to have access to some secret source of energy and inspiration. They found new ways to contribute to their organizations. They thrived on diversity, fought gracefully, treated others with compassion, acceptance, appreciation, and respect. As one graduate put it, "This is transformation that works and lasts." What was going on? Ray came to realize that his creativity course was helping people discover what he calls their "highest goal." Your highest goal is what gives real meaning to your life-it is what speaks to the very core of your being. It's what makes you feel connected to something higher than yourself, whatever you call it-God, Truth, Spirit, Being. It's what truly motivates and sustains you, although you may not be able to put it into words, or even be consciously aware of it. It has nothing to do with worldly success or achievement, but Ray found that all of the successful people who had been through his course had a sustained connection to it. In fact, it was what they ultimately attributed their success to. In The Highest Goal, Michael Ray shares what he learned through decades of teaching his creativity course to help you discover, and live by, your highest goal. Throughout the book, Ray offers exercises, stories, and reflections that will help you get in touch with your highest goal, follow a path in tune with it, and let it inform every aspect of your life. Your highest goal is a source of power and wisdom that can vastly improve not only your own life, but the lives of everyone around you. Ray shows us how to open this inner font of creativity, compassion, and courage.

List price: $14.95

Your Price: $11.21

You Save: 25%

Remix
Remove
 

10 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Chapter 1 Go Beyond Passion and Success

ePub

ALMOST WITHOUT FAIL, when I ask people to tell me their highest goal, they give me what a company would call a purpose, a part of its organizational vision. People are often magnanimous, saying they exist to improve the lot of others, to leave the world a better place or simply to serve. Sometimes they refer to their own personal development. One person, for example, told me her highest goal was to adapt.

If I keep asking the question in different ways—“That’s good, but what goal do you have that supports you in living out that purpose?” or “What allowed you to get past that difficult time that you had last year?”—most people eventually begin to get at their highest goal.

Few people say their highest goal is something material—the very nature of the question goes deeper than a desire to win the lottery or own a beach house. Still, very few people talk about the highest goal that probably has been with them from the beginning of their life and that has been supporting them in everything they do. I suspect that is because we are conditioned to talk about our highest goal in terms of our potential contribution, rather than about the force that helps us to make that contribution.

 

Chapter 2 Travel Your Own Path

ePub

WHAT DOES THE HIGHEST GOAL mean to you right now? Is it an unattainable myth? A worthy support? Something that helps you on your journey through life? Something that sounds good, but should be avoided because it is reserved for a select few?

Consider the words of Sakyong Mipham, a Tibetan Buddhist and author of Turning the Mind into an Ally. When he was asked whether enlightenment is a goal or a process, he answered, “I think enlightenment is our nature.”1

It is your nature, too. The process of finding your way to the highest goal, which Mipham calls enlightenment, is what makes your journey through life meaningful. In a sense, as Mipham teaches, you already have enlightenment. And as you travel your path, you will find your own way to the highest goal.

The necessity of finding and following your own way is the stuff of timeless legend and lore. In the stories of King Arthur and his roundtable, for example, the magician Merlin brings each knight to a part of the forest where there is no path so that each will be forced to find his own.

 

Chapter 3 Live with the Highest Goal

ePub

EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE recurring issue, problem or obstacle that is pivotal in his or her life. Whether you’re feeling the effects of yours right now or not, you still have something that keeps coming back in different forms. What is it for you? What’s a problem, obstacle or issue that you face that if it could be solved, overcome or dealt with, would lead to an immeasurable change for the better in your life?

Please take a moment to think about this. Focus on something pivotal in your life, an issue that comes up repeatedly, albeit in different forms. It may or may not be affecting you now in terms of a specific issue, but you know that it will surface again sooner or later. Don’t pick a problem as specific as finding a new job or as cosmic as determining the purpose of your existence; focus on a “middle range” issue, something between those extremes.

Depending on their personalities and current circumstances, people’s recurring issue may bother them a lot or a little. But often they don’t see the underlying pattern or how it repeats endlessly in their lives. And they don’t realize that resolving it can lead them to the highest goal and to fulfilling dreams they didn’t know they had.

 

Chapter 4 Find True Prosperity

ePub

WITHOUT A DOUBT, at one point or another in your life, you’ve experienced that “Is that all there is?” feeling. You get something you want—a car, a home, a special relationship, a promotion, a windfall of money, a degree, an award—yet your feeling of achievement soon fades to dissatisfaction. So you pick yourself up and start working harder than ever to reach the next plateau. Once you reach it, you experience the same discontent, look to the next goal, and jump into the whole cycle again. And so it goes.

This is the heart of the challenge to find true prosperity: In our culture, we look for prosperity outside ourselves, and all the while it waits for us internally.

True prosperity is being happy and continuously experiencing the variety and infinity of qualities that make up your Self. That is the way you can touch the experience of the highest goal. You achieve true prosperity by having a full, rich feeling of self-worth.

Finding true prosperity in the midst of a culture that urges you to deny the power of the highest goal requires awareness and action. You first must recognize that you are like a fish caught in a powerful ocean current that pushes you to ignore and even depreciate your inner resources. Once you become aware, you can begin building faith in your inner resources and become conscious of your own self-worth. You do this by experimenting with discovering and doing the things you love and dropping those you hate. The more you concentrate on recognizing your highest qualities, expressing them and having faith in them, the more you will experience the self-worth that is true prosperity.

 

Chapter 5 Turn Your Fears into Breakthroughs

ePub

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time

Enjoying one moment at a time

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace

—from the Serenity Prayer

YOU HAVE LIVED OUT THE BLESSING of the Serenity Prayer at times in your life. You became serene, had courage and drew upon your natural wisdom. You could do these things because you were present, and you walked into situations that tested you as part of your path to the highest goal.

Like most of us, you probably taste this peace only occasionally. Still, that means you know it. You’ll begin to understand how you can have this experience all the time by facing the challenge of time and stress, which is the subject of this chapter. The grounding of the highest goal allows you to see your fears for what they are: information and energy you can learn from and turn into opportunities of the most lasting kind.

 

Chapter 6 Relate from Your Heart

ePub

TAKE A MOMENT NOW to think about someone you love very much. This person could be living or dead, close to you or far away. But you love them deeply. Put that person in your mind’s eye. Get a sense and an image of this person and feel the love that you have for them. Revel in that love as much as you want.

Holding and enjoying your love for this person, imagine that he or she has been away from you for a long time, but now is coming back to visit you. Because you have been apart, you are feeling the love you have even more intensely.

Imagine going to the airport and waiting for this person to come out of the arrival area. Experience this inside. Other passengers from the plane are coming out, and then you spot your loved one. You run together. You hug with abandon and feel the love pulsating between you. There is nothing else in the world but this moment. Feel the love in this moment.

Now drop the picture of the person and the airport scene, and continue to feel the love. Continue feeling the love as long as you can without the stimuli of the person and the airport scene in your mind.

 

Chapter 7 Experience Synergy in Every Moment

ePub

DON’T NEGLECT YOUR FAMILY! You can’t afford to ignore your professional life! Don’t take on too much! Stay active! Avoid stress! Balance your life! We get bombarded with advice from every quarter, telling us we must live happier, healthier, wealthier, saner, more balanced lives.

We know balance is important. We know that we can—and should—have rich, full personal lives and successful, satisfying professional lives if we just find the proper balance. But most of us don’t know how to begin doing that, so instead we live with a vague sense that we are missing out. We get discouraged.

I suggest you ignore this background chatter about balancing your life. Instead, live with the truth that none of this really matters to you. Yes, the surrounding culture, friends, family, and colleagues can give you an idea of what’s involved in living a balanced life, but you won’t get anywhere until you discover what balance is for you and no one else.

When you say you want balance in your life, what do you mean? What is going on when you long for balance? Conversely, what is happening when you are satisfied with your life and don’t even think of the balance challenge?

 

Chapter 8 Become a Generative Leader

ePub

I BEGAN THE JOURNEY of writing this book because I realized that something unexpected was happening to people who took our creativity course at Stanford and elsewhere: People who have been through the course seem to blossom, to access some secret source of energy and inspiration. They find new ways to contribute to their organizations, participate in their communities and bring love and energy to their families and friends. They thrive on diversity, fight gracefully and treat others with compassion, acceptance, appreciation, and respect. They go through a transformation that starts with the course and grows as they face life challenges and apply course ideas.

You know now what was happening. Specifically, these people shifted their priorities in life toward the highest goal. They achieved success in normal terms, but they went beyond that. Their quest to experience the highest goal, no matter how they define it, sustains them and energizes them for the tough times. And they can go back to live-withs and other approaches that are found in this book when they run into difficulties or just want to expand their ability to connect with the highest goal.

 

Appendix A Continue the Journey

ePub

AS YOU CONTINUE on your path to the highest goal, you will hit obstacles that can be enriching but will also require you to draw on your greatest resources. The following are suggestions for facing those obstacles and turning them into learning.

As you continue on your path and learn more, take some time periodically to consider the nature of your highest goal. Think of times that you felt in connection with it, and celebrate those times. Write a statement of your highest goal and commit yourself to it. Imagine what it would be like to have more and more times in connection to your highest goal. Then you have clarity as you face the challenges of your life.

Swami Shantananda, a monk in the Siddha Yoga tradition, puts this commitment in this way: “Since the moment I received spiritual awakening, I have dedicated myself to the pursuit and the attainment of the Self [living from a constant connection to the divine within and without, his concept of the highest goal]. In my life, every other priority is secondary to that one great goal. So, before I read a book … I approach it with the light of my intention.”1

 

Appendix B Live-Withs

ePub

SOMETIMES WHEN I give people live-withs, I just give them the title without any instructions. They relate to the admonition with a sense of discovery based on what they know and need. They then create their own way of practicing the live-with. In many ways the results from this no-instruction approach are more profound because people are more resourceful and creative.

So below find a list of live-withs that you can use in this way, perhaps on the basis of the challenge it represents, or a need you have or maybe just because you like the sound of it. You’ll see some that are already in this book, so you can get instructions for those. But in most cases, you’re on your own.

To Develop Faith in Your Own Inner Resources

Have No Expectations

I Don’t Know

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Surrender

Let Go

To Diminish Your Inner Voice of Judgment (VOJ)

Psych Out the VOJ

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000030977
Isbn
9781626564626
File size
6.55 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata