Friday, January 7, 2011

Purpose

Many people are obsessed with purpose.  They feel it's important to have a  purpose in life and then to pursue that purpose.  Perhaps you feel this way as well.

The main challenge you face is to figure out your purpose.  It isn't always easy to determine.  If purpose is so crucial, why is it often hidden from us?  We have to use our mind to come up with our purpose.  How can we be sure that we have found our TRUE purpose -- as opposed to something our mind has concocted for personal gain and ego gratification?

The other thing we notice is that even if we think we've figured out our purpose, our purpose changes over time.

Has your purpose (as best as you can discern it) stayed the same?  Or did you have a different purpose 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago, or even last month?  Purpose seems to be a moving target for most of us.

I think purpose is a learned habit -- not something that is inherent such as the drive for food and survival.

We've been conditioned to believe that our lives will be empty and unsuccessful if we don't find our purpose and take action to fulfill that purpose.  There's nothing wrong with having a purpose or mission.  At times, it appears to provide direction in our lives.

Once we give our mind the job of identifying a purpose, the mind will strategize what our purpose SHOULD be -- and as you know from experience, the mind will take into account wealth, prestige, security and the like.  It will choose a purpose that it believes will bring us those things.

What if you dropped the notion of purpose entirely?  Would your life suffer in any way?  Can you live without having a purpose?

We often believe that those who don't have a purpose in life are destined to become lazy bums who accomplish little or nothing, and contribute nothing of significance to society.  Those who are willing to question the notion of purpose and engage in nondual inquiry often experience periods where they aren't "active" in the normal meaning our society attributes to that word.  Something inside has called them to slow down.  These people might even have the audacity to turn off their cell phones on most days -- and rumor has it that some of them don't even own blackberries.

In my view, this has nothing to do with being a lazy bum.  And in almost all cases, the person who engages in nondual investigation will become very active as the investigation matures and a different level of seeing emerges.

On this issue of having a purpose, I once heard Mooji ask someone in satsang, "Why does life have to be about something?"

It's a very good question.  You might take a moment to ponder it and see what comes up for you.

Is purpose really necessary?  Perhaps it is your mind/ego trying to get you to run around in a frenzy of activity, as you assure yourself that you are saving the world or making a difference.  Can you make a difference by going with the flow of life -- even without a purpose?

Consider this scenario:  your child (or your young niece or nephew) comes up to you and asks, "What is your purpose for loving me?"

You'd probably be stunned for a moment, smile, and say something like, "Love doesn't need a purpose."

If love doesn't need a purpose, why does your life need a purpose?

Love just is.  Your life just is.  No purpose required.

We can allow life to unfold each moment without labelling anything as "my purpose."

Furthermore, where is the individual who is choosing your purpose?  In my investigation,what was revealed is that this individual is a thought.  Can a thought pursue a purpose? 

I find it's better to put this purpose stuff aside and just live life as it comes.  That's what is happening anyway, even if your mind suggests otherwise.  If you dig deep, you will find that there is no individual choosing a purpose or controlling the activities taken to attempt to fulfill that purpose.

This subject is a bit tricky since it seems at times that our purpose HAS directed us to achieve certain results.  We may be dedicated to some cause or outcome and feel that our concentration and commitment to this purpose moved us forward and influenced others. 

We often rush to the judgment that a purpose or mission is required although we never in our adult lives attempted to live without having a purpose or mission mapped out in advance.

Living without a purpose doesn't mean we live an aimless, insignificant life.  On the contrary, those who live in the flow of life are often very active and make extraordinary contributions in the world.  When you are in the presence of someone who has this degree of trust in life, you will feel it in your being -- perhaps as peace, love, and/or aliveness.  It awakens something in you.

What would happen if you dropped the idea of purpose? Lots of people would tell you that you're crazy but you might make some interesting discoveries.