“By essence, you mean, the emotion I want to feel, right?” she asked. Well, not exactly.
The word feeling has some interesting definitions. According to the Oxford Dictionary, there are three applicable definitions: an emotional reaction; a strong emotion; a belief, especially a vague or irrational one. (Yes, this last one definitely got my attention!) Essence is none of these things, because none of these things is inextricably tied to our fulfillment.
Spotted Eagle describes essence this way: “Essence is a feeling state that comes about naturally when we feel deeply fulfilled by something present in our lives.”
The key difference is that essence is the feeling we long for in our hearts when our desire for something is truly authentic. Essence can be universal, such as the desire for joy, creativity and ease. Or it can be linked to a circumstance, such as serenity, freedom, fun or unconditional love.
The point is, essence determines whether or not an outcome we are pursuing results in the the fulfillment we want to receive from having that outcome occur. If the essence is there, we feel successful, peaceful and deeply satisfied. If essence is not there, the outcome can work out exactly as we planned, but it disappoints and frustrates us because it doesn’t give us what we want at a heart level. This can leave us wondering, “Is that all there is?” Or worse, a lack of essence can turn the outcome into an unsupportable burden.
The one simple thing I told this individual to do right now is to start identifying the essence of her desire before she launches into the full-on pursuit of an outcome. Once she identifies the essence, she might see that her desired outcome is actually skewed by fear, neediness or ego, and then be able to make a more essence-rich choice. In any case, by focusing on essence, she offers herself an unparalleled opportunity to explore other outcomes that might deliver the experience of essence she really wants in her heart of hearts.
The one thing she can do right now is to seek essence in small ways every day and discover an immediate increase her level of fulfillment. As a daily practice, essence can then guide her efforts toward all of her goals and help to ensure that what results actually fills the fulfillment bill.