Tag Archives: intuition

Answering Your Soul’s Calling

Three white pebbles against the background of the sea and sky

by Gregory Toole

I often receive the comment, “how brave,” when I share with people the story of leaving my corporate career. My response is always the same: bravery played very little part. June 30 of this year marks 20 years since I left my corporate career. One day, I just walked away and I knew I would never return. I hadn’t much of a clue what lay ahead, but I knew my corporate-ladder-climbing days were over.

To give a little background, I had come into the computer industry out of college when it was the hot field to be in, when jobs were thought to be somewhat scarce in other industries. I quickly advanced and after five years I earned an MBA and moved into the business side of the industry. One of the gifts I received while there was that I worked with people who were really passionate about what they did. They were really passionate about creating the best computer and software products they could. Try as I may, I did not find myself excited or passionate about that.

What I did find is that I wanted to be involved with something I was just as passionate about as my colleagues in the computer industry. Going back to my college days, what excited me was serving more in the social sector to make a difference in people’s lives. While I wanted to leave my corporate career, I had prepared so much for this work I had no idea what else I would do.

Then I entered a Center for Spiritual Living. I found people on a spiritual journey much like my own. Within just over six months of finding spiritual community I found the support and the clarity to leave my corporate career. The people in my spiritual community understood what it meant to follow one’s heart and to answer the call of the soul.

While the only clarity I had was that I wanted to serve humanity in some greater way, it was enough because the call was so strong. Everything in me pointed to moving in this new direction, while the thought of staying in my corporate career felt like severe contraction and the extinguishing of the fire in me. In fact, it didn’t seem like much of a choice at all: one option took me toward fulfillment, soul-alignment, and felt like full expansion of my energy field, while the other option felt like contraction of my energy field and ultimately death. Not much of a choice, which brings me back to why I have always said it really wasn’t about being courageous.

When the choices are that stark, there really is only one choice. I feel thankful that the call within me is so strong, although there were times I wished it weren’t, that I could have just stayed in what was comfortable, even if it weren’t all that fulfilling. But my soul would not allow it. I believe it literally would have killed me, staying in something that was going so against the grain of my soul’s calling.

Having made the choice to follow my soul’s calling, within a year I became Executive Director of a non-profit youth development organization, within four years a licensed spiritual practitioner, and within 10 years a minister in Centers for Spiritual Living. I did not foresee any of this when I took that first step to leave my corporate career, but I did feel a strong calling in the direction of something important. I have never regretted the choice and never looked back.

What is the deeper calling in you that is seeking expression? Are you fully aligned with your soul’s calling, with what expands you and has a deep resonance in your heart? My vision is of a planet where everyone is following the call of their soul. In this vision, I see a more vibrant, peaceful, loving, and creative world, free of fear, greed, and addictions.

Will you join me in that vision? If so, just check in with your heart and see what you are called to in this moment, and the next, and then the next. What a world we are creating together!

Enjoy the journey.

Is It Your Heart or Mind Speaking?

Two cards, isolated on black, clipping path included

by Gregory Toole

Often as I work with my spiritual coaching clients, the question of how to distinguish between the voice of our heart and the voice of our mind comes up. With practice and awareness, we can begin to distinguish between the two, and in doing so learn how to trust each of them for what they have to offer.

I sometimes refer to the mind as the “back and forth” because when we are engaging a question purely with the mind, we often go back and forth, saying things like “well maybe this is the best option because of such and such, or maybe this other option is better for this other reason, and then again maybe this third option is even better. That’s the mind, or what some Buddhists have referred to as the monkey mind, just running wild, and often leading us further into confusion.

The heart is more subtle, and surer, when we tune into it. We connect with it through our feeling nature. As we move closer to what is real in the heart, we feel more expansive and free. As we move away from it, we feel more contracted. I am reminded of that guessing game many of us played as kids where we hid something and we told the one trying to find it that they were getting “warmer” if they were moving closer to the hidden object, or “colder,” if they were moving away from it.

The heart is like that. We feel into it. In making a decision from the heart, we can ask, how does choosing each option feel? In other words, is there a resonance at a feeling level with a particular option or not. Unlike the mind, there’s no back and forth. The heart is more like a compass pointing the way, and we keep following it to see where it leads us.

The rational mind is a wonderful resource, and it can certainly steer us into making decisions that are reasonable, can help us avoid danger, and help us make sure we are being practical and realistic.

However, when it comes to decisions that are more about what aligns us more fully with our soul and our deeper calling, then it is only the heart that can guide us.

When I decided to leave my corporate career 20 years ago, my rational mind had previously convinced me to stay in that corporate career for years until finally I couldn’t ignore where my heart was guiding me. At some point, all the arguments of my rational mind just couldn’t overcome the intensity of pure feeling that was coming from my heart. It was less of a “yes” to something new than it was a huge “NO” to my corporate career. I had spent so much energy and effort silencing my heart in favor of my rational mind, I could hardly even access the “YES” that had been calling me for so long. At that time, I only knew there was a big “NO” to my corporate career, and it was over.

It took some time for me to really hear the voice of my heart again after pushing it down for so long, but gradually, as I began to listen more deeply, I got in touch with this great gift that is the voice of the heart. Then the “YES” came more clearly into my awareness, and I followed every expansion of clarity until it finally led me to the spiritual teaching and coaching services that I offer today.

The voice of the heart is really the voice of divine intuition, of divine wisdom and guidance. That voice is found through our feeling nature rather than our thinking nature. To hear the voice of the heart we must become still, and let the mind rest a little. The practice of meditation is the greatest aid in this process.

We need not discount the value of the mind as it has great value to us. What is important is to bring the heart and mind in balance, and to access the mind for what it is good at, such as planning and analytic tasks, and let the heart guide us in matters of the soul, our purpose, and direction.

How great that we have such powerful inner resources!

Enjoy the journey.