Discovering Your Life Purpose
When I first entered college I took a class that included exploring my “career options.” Essentially this was an early attempt to uncover my “life purpose”—at least as the world defines the term. Of course even as a kid I pondered what I might “become” as an adult: a lawyer, a writer, a paramedic.… You probably developed some similar list as a youth, explored similar classes in high school and college. The urge to define ourselves through career and other major life roles is a universal human drive, a fact that is reflected in multiple layers of society. Kids say, “When I grow up, I’m going to be a ____ [fill in the blank].
I’m going to be. Consider what the language of such a statement implies. It involves literally affixing your identity to a career. In this way what you are, which is a fundamental thing, becomes directly associated with what you do. Then, as your “career” develops, one day your inner voice is suddenly chanting,
“I am a cop!“
“I am a mom!”
“I am a criminal!”
“I am judge!”
“I am a Christian!”
in an endless variety of forms. As you become more deeply entrenched in your roles, you may even begin defining your entire existence around them. They do, in effect, become what you are.
Yet even those who identify most intimately with their worldly roles often report a festering sense of emptiness. Thus some squander lifetimes seeking satisfaction where it can never be found, in anything, anyone, any role, that holds some hope of filling the hole they sense growing within them.
Are you seeking your true life purpose, that true purpose that will bring you lasting peace, joy, and a feeling of contentment that runs throughout your whole being? If you are, here’s a fact that can save you years of fruitless agony: Your authentic life purpose has nothing to do with the roles you play or the career you choose. Your job, your roles and relationships, socio-economic status, religious identity, race, nationality, political affiliations, beliefs, and so on, have absolutely nada to do with what you are, and therefore they have nothing whatsoever to do with your life purpose. Indeed, when we identify with these things to the extent we lose ourselves in them, they actually become a block to realizing our purpose. Why? Because…
Your true life purpose is to awaken to the pure Self you are at your core, beyond every temporary concept you hold of who and what you are.
So if a concept of yourself has become so engaging that you cannot sense what you are without it, beneath it at a deeper level, then that concept has become an obstacle to Self realization. This is not to say that you should quit your job and become a wandering sadhu. Awakening to your life purpose is not about changing your behavior or remaking your outer life. It involves a transformation of you inner world, or the seeking out of what you are beyond all your earthly masks, the essence of your life force.
The interesting thing is, when you make awakening to your inner Self your top priority, your worldly roles take on a new life, a deeper sense of purpose and satisfaction. And if there is some change in external circumstance that would be helpful for you, the shift is likely to happen without any struggle or fretting on your part. All things in your life will begin to naturally fall into place, and you will realize that by dropping your need to milk artificial satisfaction through external accomplishments, even your outer life will begin to mirror the depth of your soul.