How I Discovered My Purpose in Life
I never considered the thought of my life having a purpose until the end of college. I suppose the thrill of being a healthy, active, young person was enough to distract me. However, I always found myself pondering a deeper meaning to my existence—what exactly was my purpose in life?
In the background of my constant activity, was this small voice that I had seemed to ignore and keep to myself. “Is this all there is?” I often wondered, as I monotonously lived my days. Although I lived with a lot of passion—always having a goal involving sports, music or money—I still found the reason for these activities unbeknownst to be.
My life wasn’t the easiest growing up; my environment was one of violence, alcohol and debilitating negativity. It became obvious to me later in my life when I took up a spiritual journey, that this life was the reason for my activities and goals.
I realized I was stuck in default survival mode, the most honest purpose for living. Behind all of our actions is the basic purpose to survive. What I didn’t realize was that by not acknowledging this, I often found my goals difficult to achieve.
Understanding What Guides You
Because my goals all involved me running from fear of my “dangerous” environment my chosen means to higher survival was tainted. We create from what material we have. When I was willing to become honest with myself about my true needs I saw how fearful I really was. My goals were not about happily achieving, but the elusive goal of achieving happiness.
Know this; there is no past, there is no future, and only the present moment exists. When we create future goals from past purposes we see the present moment through the lens of the past.
For me—and I’d imagine most—the present moment was perceived through the lens of fear. At first this wasn’t comfortable to face; I had been running from myself for a long time . . . however . . . awareness heals.
Soon after I spent sometime in honest introspection I was able to see more clearly. I was safe, I didn’t have to run anymore and it was clear that the present moment was full of opportunity that was previously distorted by the perception of the survival mind. When we become honest, we are able to see life, as it is; not worse than it is, and therefore can chose not only a more appropriate purpose, but also a more inspiring one.
The Three Dynamics of the Brain
Before I began my journey of self-development, I never learned to look inward for my solutions. In one aspect, growing up in the conditions I did was enlightening. This mental concept of “survive or die” would have oddly been the catalyst to a higher self-discovery. Fortunately, I decided to survive rather than succumb to the negative influences of my environment. What I eventually learned was that I was not my mind, rather something much greater. Psychotherapists have described our mind in three parts.
1. The reactive brain (instinctual) – This is our primal mind. Its job is simple; mate and multiply! You know this part of your brain during moments of lust and sexual desire. As we’ve all experienced, letting this mind lead our choices is not the best option. However, it does serve its purpose!
2. The limbic brain (emotional) – Our emotional brain is often mistaken for who we are. We say, “I am sad” “I am happy” and so on. However, though a seemingly subtle difference, knowing the distinction between “I am” and “I am happy” is great. Who is the one who is feeling emotion? The truth is we are not emotions; we have emotions. Emotions are not something that happens to us either; they are choices. Situations can trigger emotions; however, we are the final choice maker. We only then can create a life of true purpose once we have made this distinction.
3. The logical (thinking) brain – This is the analytical part of brain. It deals mostly with logic, numbers and computations. The logical brain is great when considering time-based plans and solutions. However it has its limitations. Science has already proved that quantum leaps in time can occur at any moment. An example would be a cancer patient who miraculously heals. Einstein has proven the theory of relative time.
In moments of inspiration an entire day can feel like a minute. Where in moments of dark depression an hour feels like a lifetime. When we do not know our true self we become a victim of this mind like the other parts of the mind.
Most of us live through the reactive and limbic sectors of the brain. Until I reached a higher sense of self-awareness, this was exactly how I lived my life. These two brains are very basic in nature. According to these two brains our only purpose is to survive. When we fall victim to basic instincts and emotions we also set ourselves up to believe we are the thinking mind. We become obsessive goal setters and chronic thinkers. The problem is that we associate ourselves with our mind, which leads us to live in basic survival mode indefinitely; that is, until we get to know our true selves.
Moving Beyond the Brain and Into Being
Much like a computer is neither the plastic it is made of, nor the files and programs it stores and runs, we are not our bodies or our minds. Who we are is like the invisible intelligence that runs the computer—its operating system. We are spiritual beings, not psychological beings. A spiritual being simply is. We are the controller, the source, the operator of the body and mind. Many of us (as I have mentioned) believe we are psychological beings; our case history, the miserable experience we desperately try to survive.
There is a very basic exercise you can do to determine your true self. Simply ask, then notice, who is the “I” noticing your life? You will notice there are always two of you, the self and I.
As I learned through introspection of my life, the self is the one who is worried, concerned, and anxiously trying to survive. The inner child in me was frantically trying to improve his living conditions. However, the whole time, there was this silent observer simply being, watching the whole thing. Though I can’t explain the entirety of this topic in this article, I share this now to let you know that finding my purpose took the courageousness to see beyond my self-image.
Once you are able to know for yourself that you have a mind and are not a mind, only then you can begin to goal set and create purpose in your life with purity. As I wrote in the last article the first step for finding true purpose is to get honest with yourself. Once I did this, I was able to see clear as day that all my actions were survival-based. It actually became almost hysterical to see how scared our minds are.
I will caution this; it is the mind itself that doesn’t want to be found out. Once you see the games of the mind, the whole thing is gone. No more past, no more ego—and trust when I say no one knows how to throw an ego trip like ego itself. Knowing this upfront might make it easier for you.
Expect some let down; you’ve been living your entire life in survival mode, once that’s gone getting comfortable with simply being will be your newest challenge. You may even be tempted to return to your old ways. Being is boring and it appears lonely. There is no more to achieve, nothing to do and that’s scary to the mind.
Paradoxically enough, to live a life of purpose is to be okay having no purpose. That is the only way, however, to consciously create a life of purpose beyond the primal level of the survival mind. That is not to say that your purpose won’t bring you a great existence. You will move from excitement toward fulfillment.
No longer do you set out to achieve happiness, but you happily achieve. That is a life of purpose.
My Purpose in Life
Since diving deep into self-exploration I have discovered that my life purpose has become very refined and something as infinite as my spirit self.
My purpose in life isn’t simply to write, to play music, to teach holistic health or any of the things I thought they once where. These are means to live my purpose—that is to inspire transformation in others, to be an alchemist of life, turning even the most ordinary experiences into the extraordinary.
This is an infinite essence that I am capable of putting into all other timely purposes I choose.
To think that our life purpose is to be limited to one or two things would assume we all live a very limited experience. However, life is a constant change, an inevitable growth. Your true purpose will be infinite, something that you can do without fail, no matter what it is you are doing.
I hope this information (as well as my own experience) helps you discover your purpose. There is no rush on purpose; especially considering it is our shared purpose to simply be. Consider this information, give the exercises a try and if you relax enough into being, you too will see your true purpose come to you.