Everything that is possible demands to exist.
– Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 17th-century philosopher
Have you ever gotten the sense that you’re meant for more than your current circumstances?
Have you ever felt like there’s a hidden force within you that if awakened could accomplish and manifest more of what your heart truly seeks?
If you answered yes to either question then it’s likely that your Entelechy is calling you forth for a greater expression of your potential.
Entelechy means the ‘full realization of potential’ or ‘actualized potential.’
It’s the entelechy of an acorn to become a grand oak tree.
It’s the entelechy of a caterpillar to become the butterfly.
It’s the entelechy of one single cell to multiply and become a fully conscious and fully functioning human being.
Entelechy (nˈtɛləki) comes from the ancient Greek Entelecheia (Entelechia) which is derived from:
‘En’ – within
‘Telos’ – ultimate end; perfection; final cause
‘Echein/Ekhein’ – A certain state
In Yoga, we work with our Entelechy by following the 8-Limbed Path whose ultimate aim is self-realization and the fulfillment of our potential.
Your Entelechy Is Connected To Your Spirit & Soul:
Knowing Yourself Is The Beginning Of All Wisdom.
– Aristotle, Greek Philosopher
The concept of Entelechy is connected to the philosophy of Aristotle, which differentiates between the potential of something and the actual form of something.
According to this Aristotelian view, your body is just mere matter and a meat suit but doesn’t really make you – you.
A vital force is required to create the entirety of your being.
In his work called De Anima (On the Soul) Aristotle refers to this vital force as the ‘soul’ and ‘entelechy.’
We each come into this life with our own blueprint of a fully expressed, fully realized Self.
This unexpressed power within you is unlike anyone else’s.
You were born with a unique purpose.
You are here to embody and create something no one else can.
Your telos (purpose) in life is yours and only yours to discover and fulfill.
The realization of this is your Entelechy.
Connecting to your Entelechy takes work, sacrifice, and self-determination.
According to the German philosopher Leibniz (aka Leibnitz), becoming fully actualized and realizing your potential is an act of self-fulfillment and inner-directedness.
Turning potential into actuality requires work on your part.
It requires a one-pointed focus which in Yoga is called Dharana.
It requires self-motivation and inspiration.
And most of all it requires commitment and resolve.
Here’s a guided meditation to help you connect to your Entelechy right now:
Two Real-Life Examples of People Who Connected To Their Entelechy, Expressed Their Potential, & Changed The World:
Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick.
Don’t lose faith.
– Steve Jobs
Those who have experienced some sort of major “destruction,” “challenge,” or “setback” are more likely to be connected to their Entelechy.
They’re the ones that have “risen from the ashes” to create amazing ripples that positively impact others.
Two well-known examples are:
She’s said in her own words:
Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity.
Don’t fight them.
Just find a different way to stand.
Being born as a poor black girl out of wedlock in the south, Oprah’s life began with the odds stacked against her from the get-go.
She was sexually molested and raped as a child but went on to college and persevered.
In a then white, male-dominated broadcasting industry, she became the first female news co-anchor at Nashville’s WTVF-TV despite her first boss telling her she was too emotional and not fit for television.
She then reinvented herself as a talk show host and became the most successful female television talk show host of all time AND the best-paid female in the entertainment industry according to Forbes Magazine.
Today, she is the world’s richest self-made billionaire woman.
After creating Apple Inc. as a hippie kid in his garage and then growing it to a billion-dollar operation, Jobs was literally ousted and kicked out of his own company when he was forced to resign in 1985.
He licked his wounds by focusing his energies on developing NeXT, a series of computer workstations created for the higher education and business sectors.
Because of the high price tag and other glitches, sales never really took off.
Then Apple ended up buying NeXT and bringing Jobs back in.
Since retaking his seat as head of Apple, Jobs, because of his unwavering vision for the future, shifted entire industries (like the digital download music industry) and globally impacted modern society by creating iTunes, the iPod, iPad, and growing the company to one of the most successful on the Fortune 500 list.
In both of these examples, it’s because of their challenges and trials that these two individuals were primed and shaped to become people who would express the potential they had within them.
Both Oprah and Jobs utilized their setbacks and moments of disintegration as the fuel that would take them to the top.
Both of them worked hard to connect to their Entelechy.
Imaginal Cells – What We Can Learn From A Butterfly’s Entelechy:
There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.
– Buckminster Fuller
Vitalism is the belief that living organisms differ from non-living things because they’re governed by different principles.
The vitalist philosophy believes that a particular type of vital force breathes life into living things.
German biologist Hans Driesch believed all living things are directed by an intelligent internal principle that helps living things develop in intuitive ways.
He noted that cells somehow know what to do and how to form in order to create complex organs and bodies.
The body knows what to do in order to regenerative wounds and heal.
This intelligent and wise force is linked to your Entelechy and can be seen in other aspects of nature, in particular the butterfly.
99% of who you are is invisible and untouchable.
– Buckminster Fuller
There’s a little known secret that applies to all creatures that undergo metamorphosis.
Their bodies contain invisible imaginal cells or discs.
Imaginal cells are hidden and dormant within the caterpillar’s cellular makeup all along but are only activated during the destructive morphing phase that occurs inside the cocoon.
These cells contain the seeds of the future butterfly potential.
They literally contain the genetic blueprint of the new being that will emerge from the cocoon – complete with antennae, legs, genitalia, and of course, wings!
The wound is the place where the light enters you.
– Rumi, 13th-century poet, mystic, and scholar
Just like the caterpillar has the seeds of the future butterfly potential dormant inside it, so too do you have the seeds of your own fully expressed potential dormant within you.
This your Entelechy.
Connecting to your Entelechy helps you live a life of meaning.
It helps you cultivate the inspiration needed to get out of bed in the morning to go after your telos, your purpose, chief aim.
You’re more likely to bravely and courageously face whatever suffering, challenges, and curveballs come your way when you align yourself to your Entelechy.
You can align with your Entelechy by living according to what most inspires you.
What gives you goosebumps?
What brings tears to your eyes?
What can you do and lose track of time doing?
Expose yourself to more of that.
Follow your inspiration, because it’s your Entelechy leading you.