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