An article by Anke Sommer
The search for a fulfilling life
The term ‘calling’ is everywhere nowadays, in magazines, in self-help books, or in conversations with friends. It’s almost as though there are two types of lives: the ones that were worth living because you found your calling and followed it, and the others that were unsuccessful because you didn’t follow your calling. This way of thinking is frustrating, but it’s so deeply anchored in the human brain that it’s worth examining the world of the ‘calling’ in more detail.
What is significant about the ‘calling’ and what does the term mean?
Our calling is our deepest talent that we possess since childhood. This ability is profoundly familiar to us. A person with a calling never competes with anyone else, because the calling in combination with the personality is unique, so people who have a calling don’t need to compete in order to be successful. Their activity can’t be copied; it is simply a challenge to others to follow their own calling, not someone else’s. People with a calling have learnt to give, because otherwise their gift can’t flourish.
A brief digression on the topic of the ‘calling’
If you examine the definition of the term calling, you first come across the religious interpretation, then the spiritual approach and thirdly the legal viewpoint. If we give a brief summary of the religious terminology, this interpretation places the person with a calling in the context of a task that he/she pursues from then on in order to ‘do good’. He/she places his/her activity in God’s service. The spiritual approach assumes that every individual has a calling and that their level of plenitude and spiritual fulfilment in life shows whether or not they’re following it. The legal definition points, for example, to people’s duty to carry out their work faithfully, in accordance with stated standards, if they were called to fulfil their duty in a particular task. If we put all these brief definitions together, we find a core that is worth examining in more detail:
If the person with a calling conscientiously follows his/her allocated task, you can recognise him/her in the fullness and richness of his/her life.
So what’s getting in the way of one’s own calling?
Nothing, except perhaps one’s own self.
That is logical, because our development confronts us either with people who promote and support us, or with those who block and oppose us. That sums up the impact on us of the behaviour of those closest to us. We feel either supported or impeded.
Depending on the kind of life we had as children, what we term a ‘role field’ grows up to surround us as adults. If most of the people around us in childhood were supporters, we will continue to attract this type of people as if by magic. If we were mainly confronted by opponents, these roles will continue to surround us and third parties will take pleasure in continuing to nourish them.
These third parties seem to take on the role, so to speak. In this way, roles are found by many different people and then dropped. We are not conscious of the roles, otherwise we would put an end to the performance. However, the roles can also give an answer to the issue of how easy or difficult it is to follow our calling.
It also explains why people who are following their calling say that they had to learn certain things before they started to follow it. For example, they had to learn that the fact that they attracted the ‘wrong’ customers and jobs was due to their subconscious attitude towards money.
Not realising this, they kept going in the awkward situation but at the same time suffered because of it and thought it was inevitable that life had to be like that – until they finally gained the awareness that helped them to recognise the upright person within themselves.
How do we bring our subconscious under control?
We can take control of our subconscious by accepting support in perceiving it and seeing where our subconscious impedes and blocks us from placing ourselves in the spotlight. That is namely what a calling does: it places us and our ability in the foreground. It is impossible for us to alter our own subconscious mind because we can’t even see it. We just follow it, as a cogwheel follows the movement that other cogwheels demand of it when they move.
So it isn’t the mind that discovers the calling. Nor does the search for it ensure that we will actually follow it when we’ve found it. Following the advice in self-help books won’t always help us to see, but it can help to show us a few things that can shed more light on the subconscious.
If we grew up surrounded by opponents and no longer even realise that we ourselves are the blockage that is holding us back, the key factor is the pause, the letting go, and the trust that we give a facilitator who leads us through our own subconscious. This is followed by studying, sensing and following the calling that brings us fullness and fulfilment.