Your satori moment

Zen Buddhism has a beautiful concept known as satori -- or what we might call in English a "satori moment". Satori refers to a deep, abiding insight in which someone sees and understands the true nature of the universe and of reality itself. In Zen, satori is the first step towards Buddha-hood.

In pursuing a Life's Work, experiencing a satori moment is an important experience. In my life, I can point to at least two different satori moments -- important points in my life where I knew I had to walk away from a traditional path to pursue something unique and different.

At the time, I didn't realize the meaning of these moments. As I've refined my philosophy about pursuing a Life's Work, I now see how critical satori moments are.


My first satori moment came when I walked away from a traditional corporate law career path. I had a deep urge to do something else with my life, to use my law degree in a meaningful and purposeful way. But I also realized I was missing significant personal life events. I was being swallowed up by the demanding corporate culture and lifestyle. When I quit, I didn't have a larger plan in mind--all I knew is that I needed time off and wanted to make more time for meaningful relationships. In hindsight, I realized that this was the first time I started to listen to my instincts and my intuition. I hadn't yet formulated my Life's Work, but freeing myself from a corporate career was a necessary step.

My second satori moment came much more recently, over wine at dinner. For many months I had felt the initial framework of a larger and grander purpose bubbling inside me. But it was still vague and diffuse. I didn't know how to define it or express it. It was like trying to catch a shadow. But I still remember the dinner I had, where I was talking about how important it was to have a purpose in life and to find one's Life Work. Someone asked me what my Life's Work was, and for the first time, I was able to express it: My Life's Work is to help other people discover their own Life's Work, so that together we can build peace and sustainability

Over the next few weeks I'll write more about satori moments. I think these are critical experiences. Part of the process in creating and cultivating a Life's Work is creating the space for these satori moments to take place.