Reclaiming Obligation – Unique Self, Part 3

Relating back to our last post, “What does it mean to answer the call?”

To answer the call is to live a values-driven life, a purpose-driven life. It’s to incarnate the values of your life in the unique and gorgeous way that you are able to, that only you are able to do. To do so is to fulfill your Unique Obligation.

When we hear the word “obligation” in our post-postmodern context, we cringe. It makes us contract. We feel like we spent so many years in therapy getting beyond the obligations that violated us. But actually the only genuine freedom is the freedom to fulfill your Unique Self. Anything else is a form of slavery.

To actually fulfill your Unique Self—which is to meet the unique obligation of your life—that’s what it means to be free.

There’s a five-fold doctrine of Unique Self obligation.

Imagine you’re shipwrecked with Mother Teresa alone on an island. Mother Teresa was a great woman, and she was tough, an inordinately difficult woman. She’s completely impossible. She drives you nuts. You know you’re not going to be rescued. It’s just you and her on this island for the rest of eternity.

She goes scuba diving and breaks both her arms, and she can’t eat. Do you or don’t you have an obligation to feed her? I’ve asked this question the world over and 99.9999% of the people say yes…even though if you let her die you will never be found out and it will not affect the world. Why?

1. There’s a need.
2. It’s a genuine need. It’s not frivolous.
3. You have the capacity to address that need.
4. You’ve identified the need.
5. You’re the only person in the world who has the ability to both identify and fulfill it.

When these five obligations are met, you create obligation at a higher level of consciousness—what we sometimes call second-tier consciousness. When all these things are in play, you have fulfilled your Unique Self obligation and you are at ease. You have a right relationship to the world. You are fully inhabiting your story.

Imagine if you were able to live in the world with that experience…at every moment in your life. There’s a song you can sing, a way of being and becoming, that is yours alone. That profound realization, that awakening to your Unique Self, creates in every moment of every day a profound sense of obligation that enlivens you and transforms your life to one filled with a plentitude of meaning, sensual Eros, as you live a life of enlivened play in the world giving your Unique Gift.

~ Marc Gafni

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About Dr. Marc Gafni

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