“Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” “What is God’s will for my life?” “Am I making a difference?” “How will I be remembered?”
I have often asked myself these, and many similar questions. We as humans seem to be programed with an insatiable interest in purpose. We want to accomplish something, we want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and we want to know why. We often imagine purpose as something that we must find, discover, or create. Or something that must be bestowed, or given to us by some other entity. But purpose is something that is always with us. It is an integral part of who we are, and we cannot be separated from it.
Water does not strive, it does not desire, and it has no goals. It does not search out its purpose. Simply by behaving according to its own properties, it fulfills its purpose. As a result clouds are formed, canyons are carved, and life is sustained (The water does not aim to accomplish these things, yet they are still accomplished). The purpose of water is to be water.
Consider A Tree
What is the purpose of a tree? Other than to grow and to become a perfect manifestation of itself? There is none. A tree does not desire to make a name for itself. It does not try to make the world a better place. A tree is a tree, and that is its purpose.
Can we live like the tree, or the snail, or the bird? With no purpose other than to be ourselves? Is it possible to stop striving, planning, searching and asking? Or is longing for a greater purpose simply part of our nature?
“The Master gives himself up
to whatever the moment brings.
He knows that he is going to die,
and he has nothing left to hold on to:
no illusions in his mind,
no resistances in his body.
He doesn’t think about his actions;
they flow from the core of his being.
He holds nothing back from life;
therefore he is ready for death,
as a man is ready for sleep
after a good day’s work.” ~Lao Tzu
“When I see people stopped in traffic, in the check-out lane at the store, or walking down the street, I like to visualize their bones. It helps me remember that, no matter how different we are, deep down we are all the same.” ~My Chiropractor
No one wants to fail. No one wants to be miserable. No one wants to be depressed. No one wants to have acidic relationships. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have been given. We all have dreams. We all have vision. We all have aspirations. We all have a past, and we all have made decisions we regret. We all have a spark of greatness, we all have passion, and we all have hate. We all have secrets. We all have scars. Each of us is different, but we are all the same.
I have many goals, dreams, and aspirations about the future, and what I want it to look like. All kinds of ideas about what I’d like to have and do, and the kind of person I’d like to be. It can be depressing, sometimes, to think about how far I am from achieving my ideal life, and sometimes I beat myself up about it.
Something I often forget to think about, however, is that much of what I have now, is what I was longing for years ago. To get married, to start a family, to have a job where I could help people, and didn’t have to compromise my values. Maybe you are the same way. Think about the dreams you had 5, 10, 20 or more years ago. What were your dreams? Think about what you have now, and how proud your previous self be if they could see that you finally reached that seemingly unreachable goal. This applies not just to physical things, but also your mental and emotional state, relationships, and every other aspect of your life.
- Buying a house
- Overcoming an addiction
- Getting a degree
- Starting a business
- Having a child
- Having grandchildren
- Learning to relax
- Moving to another state
- Changing your diet
- Visiting the grand canyon
- Growing a garden
- Learning to play an instrument
It is important to keep moving and growing, but it is also important not to forget where you started. Your current self has done so many things that your former self could only dream about.