Authors: Baptist de Pape
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Baptist de Pape
Preface: My Own Path
To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.
I had just graduated from law school and received a lucrative offer and employment contract from one of the world’s most prestigious law firms. I was only a signature away from a glorious career—and yet I decided not to sign.
I had begun thinking: What did I really want from life? What was my goal? I’d spent months looking for a job that suited me, but the prospect of joining a prestigious law firm and traveling the globe in order to advise multinational corporations on their transactions no longer seemed right for me—even though I had worked hard for that
law degree and opportunity. I felt I’d lost my way and I was worried about my future. What was I going to do? As I worried more and more, I felt that my world was slowly falling apart.
Very late one night, I found myself staring into the darkness of my bedroom, my mind churning with anxiety. Unable to sleep, I decided to get up and watch some YouTube videos on my laptop. I clicked on to a Web class with Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle called
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
. Immediately, Oprah caught my attention when she said, “I don’t think anything is more important than awakening to what your life’s purpose is.”
That made me wonder,
Was this what I was going through? Was I trying to wake up to my life’s purpose?
The moment I had that thought, I felt a powerful impulse from my heart—one that I’d never felt before. It was as if my heart itself were responding to my inner questions and wanted me to listen up, right now.
When I moved my attention from that astonishing feeling back to the Web class, Tolle was saying, “It’s fine to ask yourself what you want from life, but a far more important question is, What does life want from
? What does life have in store for you?” To find out, Tolle said, it’s important to allow moments of silence into your life, because silence can let you escape the mental noise that we call “thinking.” Habitual thoughts and worries can drown out other messages that life sends you—the quiet signals that can guide you to find your purpose.
That sounded like what I was going through—I was so flooded with worries that I couldn’t figure out what I should do.
Looking back now on that night, I believe I was guided to that class. Oprah’s and Tolle’s observations completely changed my consciousness—and my life.
· · ·
The next morning I decided to follow Tolle’s advice and seek out silence. I went for a long walk in the woods in the pouring rain. As I tuned in to the quiet around me, I felt an intense, unprecedented sense of calm envelop me. This calmness was not just around me, it was also inside me. For the first time in my life, I was freed from the thoughts and worries that had been holding me hostage. I felt that I could ask what I should do with my life and open myself to accepting whatever answer presented itself, whether or not it fit in with my old ideas about my career and future. I realized that I’d been afraid to let myself accept that I didn’t want to become a lawyer after all the work and time I’d put into it. I also didn’t want to disappoint my parents, who had been proud of my academic success and career choice.
I stood still, enjoying the sense of inner peace I had found, the freedom from expectations. I silently asked,
What does life want from me?
Immediately, I felt another powerful impulse from my heart, one that was even stronger than that of the night before. It was almost
painful, as if it
to be intense in order to make me pay attention—so that I would “get” the answer it was giving me. It felt as if my heart had actually broken open. The wave of emotion was so strong that I burst into tears.
Suddenly, I saw my purpose in life. It was crystal clear to me: I had to explore this power of the heart, this energy that had taken hold of me. I had to seek out the leading spiritual thinkers and writers and teachers of today and ask them for their insights about the heart. And I had to record their wisdom for all time. I had to make a film about the heart.
Now, obviously, my mind would never have given me this directive, because I had no background in filmmaking. And yet I never once doubted that this was going to be my task. I had awakened to my life’s purpose. The feeling was so overwhelming that it left me with no choice but to actually pursue that calling: I would look at life through the power of the heart and I would make a film about it.
I went home, packed my suitcase, and mobilized a camera crew. Nothing was going to stop me from doing what life wanted from me.
The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
—GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
Over the next two years, I traveled around the world and was fortunate to meet and talk with eighteen influential spiritual leaders, scientists,
and thinkers from many diverse cultures and backgrounds: Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, Michael Beckwith, Deepak Chopra, Paulo Coelho, Joe Dispenza, Linda Francis, Jane Goodall, John Gray, Rollin McCraty, Howard Martin, Ruediger Schache, Marci Shimoff, Dean Shrock, Eckhart Tolle, Neale Donald Walsch, Marianne Williamson, and Gary Zukav. Through their inspiring, remarkable stories about the heart’s influence on their lives, these teachers made unique contributions to my own vision for the movie—and to my life’s path—so I consider them to be Co-creators of the movie and this book. (Their biographies can be found in the back of this book.)
The Co-creators allowed me the privilege of interviewing them in front of the camera, and together we created a sensational portrait of the heart. They provided impressive, and sometimes poignant, confirmation of my own conviction that the heart is more than just an organ pumping blood around the body: without a doubt the heart is an inexhaustible source of love, insight, and intelligence that far surpasses that of the mind.
The Co-creators taught me many important lessons about the power of the heart, lessons that we share in the movie and that I also want to share with you in this book. It turns out that there are many powers of the heart—among them intuition, intention, gratitude, forgiveness, resilience, and, of course, love. Connecting with these powers can bring about an astonishing transformation in your views of money,
health, and relationships and enable you to discover hidden talents and strengths that will help you create your best life. Because I can relay in this book more of the Co-creators’ messages than I could show you in the movie, I’m also able to provide more of their suggestions for the many ways in which you can develop these powers. So, to help you on your path, each chapter contains Contemplations with which you can discover your heart’s distinctive voice and wisdom.
Out of this incredible convocation of inspiring thinkers comes this treasury of spiritual and practical guidance. I hope that, with the help of the movie and this book, you will discover your own life’s purpose, which is even now buried inside you like a hidden treasure. It is time to open to that treasure. It is time to discover the power of the heart.
Here is my secret. It is very simple: one sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.
—ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY