HJ: You are the only one keeping yourself from realizing your full potential. As soon as you wish to transcend your limitations, you can do so. It really is as simple as that. The complicated part tends to be getting out of our own way. It doesn’t have to be complicated or involve struggle, however, that is how most people learn best. The work lies in reshaping your perception of yourself and what is possible. Most people, myself included, unknowingly carry around hidden self doubt. It is very common and can greatly hinder us from achieving our full potential and it is primarily what needs to be addressed if we wish to do so. Removing this perceptually limiting belief will literally transform your life and the world around you and liberate you to reach unparalleled heights of achievement. Always remember — all experience stems from the inner realm. That is where the real work is done. You can rearrange the external factors in your life endlessly with temporary results, but all lasting change comes from within.
Ryuho Okawa’s article below offers some timeless and innovative suggestions for getting a grip on where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there. While at once acknowledging the infinite potential of the human mind, he also gives practical steps on how to harness it in a tangible way. It is easy to get lost in the vastness of possibility that is life. Freedom can be paralyzing if one does not have the tools to work with it. Ryuho, in his own way, offers a useful set of tools for those looking to explore the expansiveness of their being.
Know Your Potential
By Ryuho Okawa | Inner Traditions
If you are not progressing despite all your efforts, take a close look and see if you are being realistic about your capabilities and limitations.
A good percentage of the misery people experience in life is the result of excessive desire. Most people have a strong desire to grow. If this were not the case, there would be no progress or improvement in the world. It is fine to desire progress and improvement, but sometimes, people desire to achieve things that are beyond their capabilities. So, knowing and accepting your fate also involves understanding both your natural gifts and your limitations…
Control Your Desires
Those who really understand themselves, warts and all, are very difficult to trap. Conversely, it is easy to trick and bring down those who have no knowledge of their limitations. All that is required is to lay a trap in their path and they will fall right into it. This often happens to people who believe they possess infinite ability.
In reality, human beings do possess infinite potential, but because they have certain weaknesses that appear repeatedly in their incarnations, until they resolve them, they face limitations. The way to overcome these is to look at your strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of the people around you, as you undertake a careful study of life. When you arrive at some obstacle that you are unable to overcome, simply think of it as a matter of controlling your desires. Moderation is the key.
Controlling your desires and being content with moderate and gradual progress means you will rarely experience major failure. Excessive desire is referred to as ‘attachment’, and it is only by getting rid of attachments that ultimate happiness can be achieved. This is a path to happiness that is open to all.
It may sound strange, but it is a fact that in many cases people are unhappier if they achieve what they desire. For example, many elected officials aspire to lead their countries one day, but in the majority of cases, it will turn out better for them if this never happens. Once a person has achieved the highest office, he is beset with comments about what he or she does and doesn’t do; the leader is criticised for trifling matters and wonders why this should be. Imagine not being able to open a newspaper or turn on the television without hearing your name being ill-used and everything you do open to censure. Imagine not being able to walk out of your house unless you are surrounded on all sides by guards. In the end, what is seen as an unparalleled honour can lead to the greatest unhappiness.
Know Your Limitations
The same can be said of everyone’s desires. For example, people who are successful in their careers will probably have difficulty being the best husbands or wives. Some people feel unhappy because their children do not appear to be very bright, while other parents whose children are brilliant lose the ability to converse with them, leading to inadequacy and sadness.
The causes of our limitations are found within us, but their boundaries are often set by other people’s objective opinions. If you feel you are unable to get ahead in life, despite all your efforts up to now, you may need to look at yourself more objectively.
You may decide not to aim for material success. You could be content to work at a job that is not overly demanding but pleases you. If you are satisfied with such employment, you could go on to find meaning in life through other areas, such as religious activities.
Should you decide, however, that you want to move forward and perhaps own a large business some day, you will not be satisfied with your present routine job. It is entirely up to you to choose the sort of life you will lead, but if you continue to feel that despite all your efforts you cannot move on to the next stage in life, it could be that you are not being realistic about elements of your own nature. This is when it is important to see yourself the way others see you.
Look Hard For The Reason
To overcome difficulties and break through your limitations, you need to look at all problems from the other side, and see situations through the eyes of others. Whenever you feel you are not progressing, look hard for the reason and for the message the situation is seeking to impart. Your efforts will be rewarded and will allow you to discover the next step you should take in order to achieve further growth.
Life can be filled with various problems, but when you realise and fully accept that life is eternal, you have received the greatest treasure ever imaginable. I would like you to remember that the hardship or distress you encounter on your road through life represents growth for your soul, and even if you struggle to solve a problem, you will be able to make it a great experience. It is my profound hope that you awaken to the true purpose and meaning of life, and that this knowledge will help you in the growth of your soul. Change Your Life, Change The World, Jaico Publishing House
Master Ryuho Okawa is a living Buddha and the founder and spiritual leader of Happy Science. He has a law degree from the University of Tokyo and studied international finance at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In 1986 he renounced his business career and established Happy Science, the most influential spiritual movement in Japan that now has more than 10 million members worldwide. Master Okawa is the author of more than 500 books and periodicals and lives in Japan. His most recent book “Science of Happiness” (Destiny Books), presents the foundational teachings of the Happy Science spiritual movement (more than 10 million members worldwide).