Q: I have an opportunity to be trained for free and employed as a life coach. This is like a dream come true for me, a job I have always seen myself doing. However I always imagined myself working on the spiritual side of things with people, however as a foundation, coaching needs to begin with basic lessons of breaking down false belief systems, discovering real values, goal setting....but I am so "non-dual" focused and my "beliefs" tie so strongly to non dual teachings that I can't summon the energy to learn about these concepts/techniques and implement them in a practice that I know could be secondary and not wholly healing the person.
However I work an unpleasant job, and this line of work would be a great stepping stone towards developing my own practice in non dual teaching or spiritual guidance. I feel that I just don't value the personal realm enough and it causes me to feel unmotivated to learn these things, even though on the personal level it could benefit me greatly, I just can't get behind it, so to speak. Any advice would be appreciated.
A: I would first simply point you to your own heart as the best source of guidance. You can read more about how to "listen" to your heart in part two of my free ebook, Living from the Heart, available here.
The truth is whatever opens your heart and quiets your mind. However, all there is, is truth. So even if a smaller truth contracts your heart (or sense of self) and makes your mind busy, it is not wrong or false.....it is just less true. So when it comes to a practical question like this one about your career/employment, it can help to realize that there are different sizes of truth and so any approach you are considering may have some truth.
Also, when it comes to relative truths like this, the important thing is the overall climate of truth. If you focus on the advantages of a new career, your heart may open, but if you focus on the disadvantages of a possible choice, your heart may contract. So then the question is, "What is the overall experience of my self that this new direction seems to give me?" Does it open you most of the time, or does it cause a tightening most of the time when you consider it?
Another point is that it can be hard to get a clear idea of how true a practical choice is if you consider it in isolation. It helps to compare it to other options. For example, you may want to compare how true it feels to learn how to do coaching in comparison to how true it feels to stay in your same job. And there may be a third or fourth option that is even truer than either of those.
The good news is that there really is no wrong choice. Even if you follow your mind and its fears and doubts into a direction that tends to cause a lot of contraction, the even bigger truth is that your Being and your awareness cannot be harmed. You will even ultimately learn and benefit from the experience no matter what direction you go in. It helps to remember this much bigger truth as that can allow you to hold the entire question lightly. It simply will not matter that much to your eternal soul what you decide to do for a job in this lifetime! And paradoxically, it is when we are holding things lightly that our inner guidance and wisdom can operate the most effectively.
Finally, this perspective of bigger and smaller truths also applies to the philosophical dilemma you are having with the specifics of the coaching approach. The truths shared in most coaching approaches may be smaller truths than the truths shared in nondual groups and mentoring, but again they are still true, and they still have their usefulness. I would also question any assumption you may have that even after you get your coaching credentials that you will be limited to only doing what you learned as a coach with your clients. I would suggest that you can bring everything you know and everything you are to any activity including life coaching.....so maybe once you have gone through the process of getting the needed credentials, then you can create your own version of coaching. The people who can benefit from what you have to offer and who you are will naturally be drawn to you, and conversely you may find that the ideal approach with your clients is to have as many different and flexible ways of working with them as possible. It may be that meeting people where they are and helping them with the more practical limitations they are facing will be just what they need to then be able to hear about and embody deeper nondual truths.
To me the ideal is not to always experience and act upon the biggest truths, but to be completely flexible and able to respond to whatever truth is appearing in this moment. If someone's car is stuck in the snow, it may not be the best response to ask them, "Who is it that wants to get unstuck?" The ideal and flexible approach would be to help push them out of the snowbank.....and then if they are interested, explore with them the experience of their own awareness and being. The small truths of life are still true no matter how big and nondual our perspective is.
I hope this is helpful.