I was talking recently with a client of mine, a brilliant, successful man named Gene. After twenty years of building a successful medical practice, Gene found himself haunted by a sense of spiritual emptiness and a longing to touch people's lives in a deeper way. “I just don't know how to go about this," he said. "I feel like I need someone to tell me which way to turn, a teacher of some kind. I've been buying books, and taking workshops for a couple of years now, but nothing seems to fit." The longing in his voice was almost palpable ...
"What would you ask the right teachers if you found them?" I asked
"I'd have so many questions, I wouldn't know how to start. First, I guess, I'd ask them what the best way is to help my patients heal. I'd ask them what tools I need, what skills I need to learn, what I would need to do, to qualify to do this kind of work. I'd ask them where to begin."
"Why not begin where you are?" I asked. As the conversation unfolded, Gene began to recognize that his longing was rooted in experiences he had already given himself, where he experienced real moments of healing and communion with his patients. We explored how he created those moments, and turned each of the questions he was saving for the ideal teacher, into a question that only he could answer. "What is the best way," became, "what is my way, the way that gives me fulfillment?" "What tools and skills do I need," became, "what tools do I have?" "What qualifications do I need," became, "how am I already qualified?"
Over the weeks that followed, Gene began to give himself many more moments of healing and communion. He began to recognize and feel confident in his qualifications, and began to reach out more to others. He paid careful attention to things in his life that fulfilled him, and let other competing commitments drop away. Gene began to trust himself and gave himself a new permission to explore, to play, and to create.