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Goal Setting In The Spiritual Context - by Asoka Selvarajah, Ph.D.
Some approaches that are very useful to us in the spiritual quest are:
We shall examine goal setting and affirmations, using union with the Higher Self as an example.
A goal has often been defined as "a dream with a deadline". In everyday reality, this is the best approach. In other words, one sets a time frame for when you will have attained your goal. In spiritual matters, this is inadvisable. It would be clearly absurd to say, "I achieve full contact with my Higher Self within 60 days."
However, you can set a goal for the state you will have achieved and this is well worth doing. If done like this, it forms a mission statement that you can review daily and remind yourself constantly what your chief target in life really is.
It is best if you formulate your goal in your own words because then it will feel right to you as you read it or say it. There are just a few simple principles that should be applied however.
First of all, a goal should be stated in the present tense. Do not say, "I WILL achieve union with my Higher Self". Future tense goals are vague, woolly and indefinite in their attainment.
When you set a goal, use the present tense. In the example just given, a better way to express the same idea is:"I am in perfect union with my Higher Self" or
"The Higher Self expresses perfectly in my life each and every day."
Again, use you own words to create an excellent statement of purpose that is right for you. If you are uncomfortable with the phrase "Higher Self", then use whatever you are comfortable with - God, Source of Life, Divine Spirit ...
Another important principle is to state your goal in positive terms. The two statements given in the above paragraph are good examples. Do not state it in negative terms or use the word "not" in it. For example, "I am not fragmented and separated from my Higher Self any longer," would be a bad way to express it. Why? The subconscious mind, which you are trying to make your ally in this quest, simply does not heed the word "not". So your goal ends up reading like this; "I AM fragmented and separated from my Higher Self," which is definitely NOT what you had in mind!
Therefore, your goal statement should be in the present tense and stated in positive terms. It should also be something that is worthwhile to you. In other words, simply stating that "you achieve union with your Higher Self" is rather too abstract. After all, what does this really mean? If you have no idea, then it is next to impossible to motivate yourself on a regular basis in pursuit of a goal that is "out there" somewhere and seemingly has little relevance or benefit to your daily life.
Here are some suggestions for an end goal statement that fits all these criteria:
These are just examples, although you might like to take one of them and adapt it for your own use. Alternatively, come up with you own end goal statement that best fits how you would express the state of perfect harmony and communion with your divine inner essence.
Given what we said about motivation earlier, you are well advised to add a sentence to your goal that is inclusive of other living beings. For instance, we can modify the second goal to read; "The Higher Self, my own true self, lights up every area of my life and is my source of joy, understanding, love and wisdom at all times and under all conditions. Through this perfect union I now enjoy, my efforts are devoted to uplifting and helping all living beings."
Of course, none of this implies that you are supposed to know or understand the state of perfect union before it has happened. Starting out and for most of the journey there is no way we can know in advance what the final state of bliss will be. However, there is validity in expressing our spiritual goal in the form of a succinct statement, such as those above and dwelling on it, pondering it, making it the object of our desires and gradually internalizing it until it becomes part of our very being. After all, even if our ego consciousness, i.e. our everyday waking consciousness, has little or no experience of the Higher Self, the fact is that the Higher Self itself does!
Remember, the Higher Self is part of you; part of your very being. It is closer to you than any person you know or anything you may have experienced. It is not distant from you; it just seems that way because your mind and heart are a million miles away from living life as you were actually intended to. Instead, the ego consciousness has usurped the rightful place that the Higher Self, the real you, should hold. So, by creating this goal statement and affirming it, you commit your mind totally towards the union that will one day be yours.
Do also remember that this approach is merely one step towards the goal. You are certainly not going to achieve union simply by stating this goal alone. However, it is part of the fabric of what we are creating; an essential and powerful part. Nothing worthwhile in life is ever achieved without tremendous determination and focus. It is the same with spiritual matters.
Of course, you will be waylaid. And yes, it is a long and arduous journey with seemingly little to show for it at times. Often, it may not make much sense to you at all. But that is precisely why you must have a goal - a clear vision you can hold up before you of what you want to attain. This principle is true in the everyday world and it is especially true in the spiritual, where we have little direct experience of that which we seek.
Once you have created your goal statement, type or print it and place it in several prominent places where you can see it. (Obviously discreetly - you don't really want your boss asking you about it!) You should memorize it and bring it to your attention as often as you can.
Copyright 2001, Asoka Selvarajah. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Asoka Selvarajah is an active author/researcher on personal development and esoteric spirituality. Asoka's work helps people achieve their full potential, deepen their understanding of mystical truth and find joy in their true soul's purpose.