Some Thoughts on “Purpose”

Each of us comes into life with an inborn, inherent felt-sense of the purpose for which we are “here.” Whether we bring this purpose to life or not is up to us. As Thoreau said, “Most… lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Many of us live an existence of artifice, and die without knowing our purpose and without fulfilling our potential.

Our purpose may not be something we can put into language and talk about over coffee. It may remain as a “felt sense,” a kind of “navigational fix” that nevertheless orients our attitude and actions towards deeper integrity, greater authenticity, increasing aliveness, and increasing power of will in alignment with the dynamic unfolding of the whole universe. This is NOT about “the Law of Attraction,” which is really just a sop for the egos of those whose lives are not in this alignment, and which does not really work the way the pop-spirituality books say it does.

Each soul’s purpose is unique, even though the outward expression of yours may look like someone else’s. Our purpose is not a concept we subscribe to, it is a self-discovery, an (often gradual) unveiling.

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.
― Mark Twain

 

Sometimes — often — our real purpose is at odds with our personality… but it’s in orienting life towards fulfilling our purpose that our best qualities, our power and our clarity are drawn into life from our nascent potentials. The personality is rebuilt in alignment with a new experience of ourselves and life. Fulfilling our purpose is less a destination than it is an attitude, one of fluid responsiveness to what life is drawing from us, from our depth. In a well-lived life, the mid-course corrections are constant and the rebuilding of the personality and self-representation is also constant.

This is not some onerous task of fixing what we think is broken in ourselves, but a life lived in authenticity, real aliveness, and fluidity. This is a totally different process from working on oneself for pain reduction or “self-improvement.” One clue that you might be doing the latter is if you hear yourself saying, “Well, I’m ‘getting better’ at… [whatever personal problem is chewing your behind at the moment].”

The price of NOT fulfilling our purpose is nagging issues of self-worth, unsatisfying relationships, working at “a job” instead of having a vocation, and all kinds of ultimately-frustrating effort spent in looking outside ourselves for the source and relief of our malaise.

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