• Nadja Eriksson

I've spent a week in a bunker to discover my life's purpose. Here's what I learned

Updated: Jul 24, 2019

How did you know how to do this life purpose thing, people often ask me. For years, I did not know. At all. I was just feeling clueless, following the cues from within. The road to where I'm now was long and rocky, paved with self-doubt, fear and tons of procrastination.

For years, the question What is my life purpose? tortured me. Or maybe not so much the question, but the fact that I didn't have the answer.

Going back in time, I've always loved books. Reading and writing are two of my great passions. I still love to acquire new information that I can store away in my mental file cabinet, to be used whenever needed.

When I was a kindergarten, I'd sit on our GDR linoleum lined kitchen floor deciphering sentences from children's books. As soon as I'd learn to write, I had my first journal. I wrote in it each day, sometimes just to say "Dear diary. Today nothing special occurred. See you tomorrow."

After graduating from Uni in the UK and Sweden with a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Cinema Studies, I felt somewhat accomplished. But not the least wiser. The questions continued, just stronger.

During those years in Uni, I had also participated in a year-long training to become a Zen Coach at the Angsbacka Centre for Personal Development in Sweden. This education felt like coming home, and its principles still form the foundation of my work today.

But wait, there's more.

More than half a decade ago, I started practicing tantra with The New Tantra, the biggest sexual spiritual school in Europe. There's a common misconception that it's all about sex, which is not true.

To me, it's about becoming a better human being and getting really happy on all levels. Clearing up our sexual conditioning is one step along the way, but it doesn't stop there.

I've thankfully learnt a lot about sex, love and relationships, and what spiritual practice is all about. I later realised that this too would become an important part of my life's work.

In the fall of 2013, I was finally ready for their "Finding Your Life's Purpose" darkroom retreat. A dozen other eager spiritual searchers and I voluntarily spent one week in complete darkness, meditating on what the heck spirit wanted us to do with our lives.

"How can I serve?" became my daily mantra, as I scribbled intuitive ideas on pages of lined paper in the dark. We ate in the dark, pooped in the dark, meditated in the dark. I literally could not see my hands in front of my own eyes. Did I mention we only got one meal a day?

Trust me, I was starving.

Coming back to the world after almost six days in the dark was rather blissful. Just to be able to touch the earth and see the sky again was incredible. And hugging people. OMG. Many of us wept in deep reverence for this miracle of life we're allowed to experience for a little while.

After that, everything went pretty fast. We only got a day to recuperate and settle back into the light. That day was spent evaluating with the group what we've came up with. I felt so vulnerable I've really had hard time putting words onto what I knew in my heart.

Pondering the experience in the days and weeks to come, my insights slowly started to integrate. I knew I would use my Zen Coaching skills and my experience with tantra practice to help women (and men) come back to their heart-core.

Now this doesn't make me a sage on the stage who has all the answers and never makes a mistake. I screw up at least once a day. But I'm trying to keep it as real and honest as possible and share the best of what I'm learning and growing as I move along.

So my mission is to help women satisfy that inner hunger for spirit (or true Self, God, or Life) from within. We can't fully identify it as such and thus try to numb it with sugar, shopping, sex, entertainment, over-talking, drugs, etc. Since we don't know how to fill that inner void for good, we keep on searching.

We often tend to look for it in romantic relationships, hoping that an intimate partner will fulfil us. Yet as long as we try to enter a relationship from a space of lack, we're setting ourselves up for failure. We can't experience love in our lives if we don't carry love within.

In Zen Coaching, we sit with that longing for love. Instead of running away from it, we welcome it like a long lost friend who arrives at our doorstep. When we can allow the inner void to be there, just for now, miracles unfold.

Once we know how to become comfortable with our discomfort, and have experienced that love is not something separate from who we really are, we can enter an amazing relationship with the intention to grow and open each other to more love, rather than from a need and trying to get something from our partners.

So this is what I'm writing about and teaching now. Turned out, I didn't need to sit and meditate on what I'm here to do, because I knew it already. Writing, teaching, counselling. But hey, I love to have different and sometimes extreme experiences, so I'm grateful I got to live that one as well. Off to the next adventure.

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© Nadja Eriksson 2012-2020