It is often said that in order to understand and possess some quality of life, one has to have a purpose. This doesn’t refer to the empty notion of what one may want to do with their life, but more or less the reason why one bothered to live in the first place. Some would call this a higher purpose, others destiny. Whatever the view, it revolved around the age old question, “Why are we here?”
The existence of the human race is a subject all unto itself; and a rather ambitious one to tackle when you consider the nature of individuality. So, to simplify the question a bit, one should first ask, “Why am I here? What is my purpose?”
Many feel only religion or an intense path of spiritual practice can truly answer the question. That is up for debate. However, one can certainly gain an idea of what to do with a little introspection and analysis. It may not give you the complete answer, but it will give you a good idea. By examining one’s traits and tendencies (including the flawed ones), a pattern is often revealed. We all have our favorite activities, certain interests that grip us more than the usual “that would be fun” reaction. Some thrive on the feeling they get from teaching. Some are obsessed with the notion of solving those things considered impossible to answer. Others are driven to make things that are aesthetically pleasing – beautiful in the way they see it. Whether it’s a compulsion to help, to learn, to teach, to solve, to create, to accomplish or to understand, there is a root tendency buried in each of us that forms the core of our being. It is the lack of acknowledgement of that core that also leads us to do the stupid things we do to distract us from it. The pain of not understanding our purpose is that intangible ache that drives people to seek out happiness in places they will never find it. When they don’t find that joy or resolve, they lean towards more extreme and destructive ways to kill the pain. As those actions pile up, so does the consequences.
Some hold the belief of karma as part of their personal philosophy, that the actions one carries out will be repaid in kind in some fashion – if not in this life, then in another. Karma is not so simple. The easiest way to define karma is “cause and effect.” However, while some causes may have an obvious effect on the surface, it doesn’t necessarily reveal the effects that take place in the background. It should also be noted that each effect becomes a cause in itself, generating its own effect. Hence, a chain reaction is set into motion with far-reaching consequences that are virtually impossible to predict or calculate. Caution in one’s action and purpose is only prudent when considering the cause and effect pattern. Whether one believes in “karma” or not does not change the fact that each occurrence yields consequences – good, bad or debatable.
Returning to the subject of purpose and one’s personal philosophy, the views held by a given person shapes the individual’s reaction, opinions and outlook on life. Spirituality and religion can play a part, but not necessarily. The individual can often separate “the self” from the beliefs held on the world outside. This is liberally illustrated by those with hypocritical tendencies. This brings the individual back to self-introspection, getting to the core of being. One must take inventory on what they love to do, what fascinates them and why. It is something that resounds so strongly that it can be felt in the gut, causing the telltale twinge of excitement that motivates the person to action. It is part of that person, a vital necessity for the spirit. A simple hobby or interest would not be enough to provoke this reaction, but a common similarity that runs between the interests could reveal the purpose obscured in the mundane aspects. When the individual discovers the pattern, they will know it.
Once the purpose is discovered, one will find it is rather general in nature. There are a number of ways it can be achieve, which requires a little more thought. With a little imagination and ingenuity, one can combine several interests into a life purpose that defines the being.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
- Why do you love to do?
- What issues or matters speak to you?
- Whom do you admire and why?
- What is the one thing you couldn’t be without?
- How do your talents support your interests?
- Is there anything you felt “born to do”?