Finding your ‘life purpose’ is one of the most talked about concepts in our society today. Hundreds of magazine articles, blogs, and courses promise to give you the 7 keys, 8 principles or 9 steps to finding your life purpose. We are told we each have our own unique ‘life purpose’ and our mission is to figure ‘IT’ out and then do ‘IT’. The implicit and unspoken assumption is that if we are able to find and then ‘do’ our life purpose, then we will live happily ever after making buckets of money. We will have reached the promised land!
If you’ve fallen for the illusion as I did, imagine for a moment that there is no ‘life purpose’ pot of gold waiting for you. Take a deep breath and relax into this thought. What if you were meant to be is exactly where you are right now? I talk to many people who are dissatisfied with their life because they think they are not ‘doing’ their life purpose. “If only I could figure out what it was, then I could live a fulfilled, happy and abundant life,” they say. Or at least that is the belief. It’s as if the Universe created an elaborate treasure hunt where the treasure is not only elusive but invisible. How do you know when you’ve found it?
The belief that you have a specific life purpose and that it’s something you need to ‘do’ before you die keeps you in a perpetual state of stress and distraction. For some, this manifests as fear to move forward. They ask, “How can I move forward when I don’t know which way to go? I need to know my life purpose first.” For others, the search for life purpose manifests as constantly jumping from thing to thing, in the hopes that the next thing will surely be ‘it’. In both cases, the underlying belief is that where you are now is wrong; that you ought to be somewhere else. Consequently, you miss the beauty and perfection of your life as it is right now.
Life Purpose: Truth or Illusion?
Truth and illusion are both present in the concept of “Life Purpose”. The illusion is that it is something that you can figure out, know or be told and that once you know what ‘it’ is, then you can ‘do it’. This illusion is anchored in activity or doing and the idea that you have to know before you can do. This is putting the cart before the horse and one area where Divine Masculine gifts of linear, rational thinking simply don’t work.
Many years ago, I was unhappy in my job and was desperate to find my life purpose. I fell for the illusion hook, line and sinker. I was sure that my job as an economist doing research at a non-profit was not my life purpose. I reasoned that if it was, then surely I would feel happy and satisfied as I went to work each day. For years I searched, meditated, begged, prayed and was otherwise obsessed about finding my life purpose. After years of driving myself crazy I finally surrendered to the fact that maybe I didn’t have a specific purpose. Ironically, it was when I let go of the idea that I could figure out my life purpose, that I began to understand the dynamics of how it works.
In truth, life purpose is a journey, not a destination. It’s a process, not an outcome. It’s elusive and constantly shifting; like the end of a rainbow, you can never reach it. I think we confuse ‘life purpose’ with ‘outcome’. Your life purpose is the seed that exists within you; it contains the potential for a blossoming flower. Living your life purpose requires you to be more fully who you are, to raise your awareness, expand your consciousness, and live in greater states of love. Whether you recognize it or not, it unfolds through your life. In this sense, we all have the same life purpose, but each person’s expression of it, or flower, will be different.
Life purpose, then, is a constant process of self discovery that can only be understood in hindsight. At every point in time, the outcome results from the actions or doing that flow from your being. I don’t think that outcomes are pre-determined; for it is our choices and our will that determines the extent to which we each allow our flower to blossom. Oprah inspired millions worldwide to live a better, more meaningful life. This is the outcome that manifested as a result of her being fully who she is.
Consider Eckhart Tolle. Most people would agree that he is someone who appears to be ‘living’ and ‘doing’ his life purpose. So how did it happen? Did he read a blog or take a class or follow the 9 keys to finding his life purpose and discover that he needed to speak and write about the invisible realms and the impossible to describe concept of ‘Now’? No. It was through the unfolding of his journey that he did these things. He had a pivotal experience which led him to first of all see, and over time, understand, the invisible realms, living in the Now, the ego, the pain body, etc. He then began to tell people about his discovery and eventually felt called to write a book. The journey, the doing, the outcome, unfolded naturally one step at a time.
Here is one of the key principles then: our ‘life purpose’ is born of our experience. That means we need to have an experience first! We need to follow the gumdrops through the forest. As the poet David Whyte said, “You need to make the path by walking.” It’s not that our life purpose has been cruelly hidden from us. Rather, the truth is that our life purpose is something that must unfold through living. Our flower needs nourishment, care and attention to grow and blossom.
The thousands of things you do each day have a huge impact on the world. Everything you do, every thought you think ripples out like a stone thrown into a pond. Dr. Joan King says “You are sculpting who you are with every decision you make”. If you believe that your life purpose is out there for you to figure out, then part of your precious energy and attention is focussed on the future; you are distracted from fully living in the present. The key to finding your life purpose, then, is to tap into the Divine Feminine gifts of openness, receiving and intention.
Let go of the illusion and turn your attention inward. Begin to follow your own inner guidance. You are an alchemical mix of your gifts, skills and experiences and you are utterly unique! There is no one like you – never has been and never will be. Bring all of your presence, energy and attention to who you are being now. Your life purpose is to BE fully who you are. And here is the magic part, the more you focus on who you are being, the more likely you are to discover a meaningful way to bring it to the world; that is, the doing. Being is the substance and doing is merely the form it takes. Live each moment as if it IS your life purpose, because it is.
Now, go and blossom!