Over a year ago, I wrote about discovering one’s purpose in life. I want to add a bit to that exploration because I’ve learned something new that’s worth pondering for those who are seekers of the truth. Many of us fret in determining our purpose here on earth. The fact is, we’re not supposed to spend any time deciding it. Our purpose naturally unfolds and is not something we should seek from an external point of view. In other words, your work, titles, wealth, or lack thereof do not define who you are and your purpose in life.
As I wrote in May 2020, one’s person must be conscious. To be conscious is to be aware. When you become aware, you begin to realize and realizing is “knowing.” Knowing what, you ask? We learn to understand what is true and know our purpose in life clearly from a space within.
If you ask yourself your purpose, be very attentive to what you hear as an answer. If the answers are worldly, the voice is from the ego. Therefore, go deep within, perhaps during a moment of stillness or meditation, and listen. If you hear yourself say, “My purpose is to be a great surgeon,” what is your motivation in that? Is it to be recognized, rewarded, acknowledged? If so, that voice comes from the external you (ego). On the contrary, if you hear, “my purpose as a great surgeon is to heal and cure the injured,” this voice comes from a different place. It comes from within to serve others.
What I know and have come to realize is that our purpose is to serve all sentient beings—human or animal. If we concentrate on this concept, all of our queries immediately point to this answer. Here’s an example; this has been my example for over 20 years, and I’m just starting to “get it.”
I’ve been in the field of education for a long time. I don’t know how or why I got here. I never liked school; I was bullied in high school and had a terrible rap with grades, but somehow, I ended up teaching and then became a school coordinator and facilitator. Just about every day of my existence, from the point I obtained my first job back in the mid-’90s to now, I’ve woken up each morning asking, “Why am I still doing this? I can’t stand this; I want out, or I’m done.” What has kept me there besides earning a paycheck? I’m not sure. I’m smart enough and can do anything I put my mind to, but here I am, 20 years later, still doing the same thing. My greatest desire has always been to be a spiritual healer in some capacity, but I never knew which way to go with it.
Then it occurred to me that perhaps this job is my spiritual practice. Even though it’s not my preference, I know that accepting it now and doing the very best I can with what I’ve got is meaningful, productive, and fruitful. I also know that I’d probably have the same or similar complaints and agitations if I did something else. So, again, the question comes up. “What am I doing? What is it that I want?” Now, the answer is, “It doesn’t matter.”
What matters is how I’m serving myself and others. Ultimately, if I can accept where I am, do the best I can, and most importantly, help those I work with to the greatest extent possible and with compassion (this is key). Because when I accept what is with no attachments and work for the sake of working, not for any external desire, preference, or outcome and serve for the sake of compassion, my true purpose is alive. In other words, nothing else matters except how we treat ourselves and how we treat others.
If we live a life of compassion to serve all sentient beings, then all of us awaken. Awaken to what? Well, that is the mystery. It’s so simple, I believe, yet so many of us, myself included, are making it more difficult than it needs to be. I think that if we begin to practice compassion with, first and foremost, the intent to serve (our most authentic purpose in life), we spark a fire in our heart, and it’s in this space where light and energy expand to others and eventually to us all.