Many people involved in “spiritual” work believe they have a Purpose. Not a fleeting desire, but something that directs and drives them from deep within. This group divides roughly into thirds: 1) God sent me here with a mission; 2) From exploration I have found this Grand Design that is working through me; 3) I agreed to this incarnation and came here under a Soul Contract for this exact life.
Purpose. And for my purposes here, what I’m presenting would cover all of those points of view.
Do you have – need, want – a Life Purpose? What is a Life Purpose anyway? The Internet definition is: “Your life purpose consists of the central motivating aims of your life—the reasons you get up in the morning. Purpose can guide life decisions, influence behavior, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning. For some people, purpose is connected to vocation—meaningful, satisfying work.”
Even in those words it’s clear, a Life Purpose is a faith-based concept. You either believe you have one, or you don’t.
Consider these contrasting quotes:
“Things don't have purposes, as if the universe were a machine, where every part has a useful function. What's the function of a galaxy? I don't know if our life has a purpose and I don't see that it matters. What does matter is that we're a part. Like a thread in a cloth or a grass-blade in a field. It is and we are. What we do is like wind blowing on the grass.”
As opposed to:
“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” -- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
What if your sense is, “Everything happens for a reason,” but you don’t have any idea what your role is supposed to be? You feel you have a Life Purpose but you’re foggy about what it is.
Sometimes we seem to learn only from experience, in my case more often through negative than positive experience.
At one time I worked in telephone marketing. I had to have income and I detested the work but tried to be professional about it. I managed to consistently hit the top ten in the room of 100, but I got no satisfaction out of it, I was filled with dread when I went in every day. I quit at the end of a year, but just before I quit one of the supervisors put me on to a program called “Context”, and as I quit my job, with no prospects (and terminated my income) I took their Self-Help course called “The Pursuit of Excellence” and it had a profound effect on me. Over the course of three evenings and a weekend it took me to a heightened awareness, especially in my own power to be me. I was destitute and looking for a job. I took a sales job to contractors, also hated it…and I wanted more than anything to take the next course in the series. I was onto something, I could feel it. The next program was also five days but it was in residence in the woods in the Pacific Northwest, and its focus was to bring you to only one thing: your True finish for the statement, “Success to me is…” I was living on Welfare, barely able to feed my dog and myself. The course was expensive. I started going to the weekend support group that had sprung up around The Pursuit. I volunteered answering phones and typing stuff in the office. It was the most positive workplace I’ve ever seen, and it filled me with energy just to be around them. Finally, through asking for help – something I am apparently strongly allergic to – I managed to get to the second course.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
What I came up with was a 43 word statement – my Unique Serving Proposition – which I developed over 72 hours of sleepless fasting contemplation, peeling the onion layer by layer. Once I had it I did not have to write it down. I did not have to memorize it. It is unchanged over all these years, and has informed my life completely. “Success to me is contributing to others in a way that encourages them to help each other and themselves; at the same time I challenge myself to continuing spiritual growth and to participate fully in life’s variety always with humour and love.” As it had to for me, part of my self-definition acknowledges continuing aspirations, which have informed my life. (And I am living it even as I researched and wrote this article.)
One girl said, “Success to me is to act as the Justice Police.” She turned what had annoyed her all her life into an understanding. She went on to become a paralegal at a non-profit Citizens’ Rights group.
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”-
-- John F. Kennedy
So the answer is, No, I don’t know your Life Purpose. God doesn’t wake me up in the morning telling me what you should do. But you know it if you choose to find it.
Where to find it? It’s already in you, by definition. I seek in silence and recommend it. Listen for the Divine Voice only you can hear. Put your ear to the conch shell and listen for the waves.
It is your individual definition of Joy. (Enjoy – to give Joy to…)
Take the concept on and explore it. It is a mighty key to your Life Satisfaction.
Google “Life Purpose” and you’ll find lots of avenues for exploration: “7 Strange Questions that Help You Find Your Life Purpose.” “3 Unexpected Ways to Find Your Life Purpose” (Huffington Post). An Unconventional Approach, a Practical/Career Approach. Another point of departure is to test what kind of temperament you are. For this I recommend the Kiersey Temperament Sorter II, it will tell you a lot about your personality. It’s now the world’s most-used psychological test, it’s free, and it brings a lot of information down to clear attribute sorts. (Reach it at: https://kiersey.com)
Whatever you come up with, when you’ve cleared away a few layers and your heart gets more involved, I’ll bet it will include Service, Contribution of some kind. Serving the Greater Good of the Planet, of Humankind. We all say on our deathbeds, “I hope my life made a difference.”
“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”
Finding your own Life Purpose is truly knowing yourself. It is your Essential Identity.
Knowing it will Release you into a broader, more satisfying way of being.
Let your self-revelation take you from Fight or Flight to Stay and Play.
If I had to choose just one statement of inspiration, I’d go with this one:
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
What would that look like for you?