I often find when people talk about their purpose in life it has more to do with something outside of them like a job or finding the right relationship. They feel lost, wandering around looking for something to fulfill them, wondering what they are supposed to do in this life. They feel that if they just find that one job or that perfect person then their life will have meaning and they will finally be happy.
“The answer lies within ourselves. If we can’t find peace and happiness there, it’s not going to come from the outside.” -Tenzin Palmo
Happiness never comes from anything outside you. Although it is true that you can experience a short lived emotional high, lasting happiness will never be found in this way. Most of us have experienced this in the newfound high of a relationship, only to be plummeted to the ground when it ends sometime later. The first and most important relationship we must develop is the one with ourselves through using this key purpose.
It is correct that purpose can relate to many different areas of our life. However, a while ago it became very clear to me that we have one key purpose. This key purpose is the foundation for all other purposes that we may have in our lifetime. Without this purpose being pursued, we will never fully connect with our truest self and strengthen our spiritual connection. Even partially satisfying this purpose brings greater joy, and you will have that much more to offer others on your journey. The next time you get into a relationship or pursue one of your other purposes in life, you will do it from a higher place, with greater opportunity for success, more passion and joy.
What is this key purpose?
We must work to heal ourselves.
How do we do this?
We heal ourselves by exploring and questioning our thoughts and beliefs. We have to pay attention to what our minds are thinking at any given moment. We must begin to cultivate quiet in the mind through meditation and/or prayer.
Why is this important?
Because our very happiness depends on healing ourselves. Our happiness comes out of our thoughts and beliefs. We cannot heal on a spiritual and human emotional level without this process of exploring, questioning, and paying attention to our thoughts and beliefs. This ongoing process requires uncovering, discovering and discarding those thoughts and beliefs that no longer support our highest good or that of our fellow human beings. For some of us, this is a lifetime process of paying attention to our thoughts and shifting them when we realize they are no longer true or they do not support our continued evolution. In addition, we must learn to quiet the mind or thought process when it is not needed, which allows us to maintain peace. The thought process is useful when needed and utilized, however it becomes a burden during times of non-use with its persistent and often unsupportive chatter.
Freeing ourselves from fear and upgrading the thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve our greater good allows us to help others more profoundly, be happier and to live and love more deeply. Otherwise, there will always be something in the way of deeply connecting with others and truly being able to love unconditionally.
Of course, we have free will and we can choose to ignore our guidance and intuition in these situations. We can choose to ignore our silent suffering.
Why do we ignore our guidance and intuition?
It is simple: we are afraid.
When we hesitate or ignore the proper actions, we can feel the fear in our body and we know that we are turning away from higher guidance, intuition or right action. Recognizing this is the perfect opportunity to change by using our fears in the service of healing instead of allowing them to hold us back.
How do we know it is fear?
Watch your thoughts and beliefs, and note how often fearful thoughts come up. Use your senses to feel what is happening in your body. When you feel nervousness, headache, stomachache or tension, for example, those are indicators of fear.
What happens when we choose to ignore these experiences or messages?
The creative force in the universe which we call by many names like God, Higher Power, Christ, Allah, Buddha or any other label you choose to use always finds a way to keep this process moving. Oh yes, you can be agnostic or atheist too, it does not matter because it happens to all of us whatever our beliefs. If we are not voluntarily working on it ourselves and paying attention, the experience becomes a lot bumpier and certainly more painful than when we are consciously and actively participating in our own healing process.
The scriptures of all religions assure us that we are made in the image of God. Underneath whatever bad things we have done or whatever problems we have now is that perfection. This means we are good at the core of our being. This is where spirit resides and nothing can change that, ever! All we have to do is to uncover it again. We do not have to create it or be worthy of it, it already exists. Evil does not reside there and cannot, because at this level of perfection there is only pure light, the highest of vibrations. In addition, where there is light, darkness cannot reside. This is not something only for certain people or those who practice a particular religion or who have specific beliefs; it is for everyone, including you.
Every human being is born with frailties and will face challenges in life; no one escapes this. These challenges are placed before us for a reason, and that reason is to heal, to let go of what is not working for us. You do not have to die to go to heaven but you do have to let go of the hell that resides within you if you expect to find peace now. Look at the very things that you are most afraid of and see what lies beneath. The fears we have are expressed through our thoughts and beliefs and this is what keeps us from pursuing our key purpose. Many of these fears are likely based on old, outdated childhood programming, but that is another article. If we are too afraid to address these fears then we will continue to struggle.
“Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.” -Brendan Francis
The process for fulfilling our key purpose requires action, being open and honest with ourselves on a very deep level and being willing to face our fears head-on. Action is the only thing that conquers fear and the only way to move through it. Everything that challenges us in life is an opportunity to work at this deep level especially when things seem bad or at their worst. These times are divine gifts, they are a time when we have the greatest opportunity to grow and change. Just ask anyone who has come out the other side of tragedy, struggle, addiction, illness or any other life challenge.
Changing your perception about what is going on inside yourself will change the experience and outcome. When you begin to see your difficulties as opportunities to change and grow, your suffering will be diminished and sometimes disappear immediately. You will move through these challenges easier and faster. Begin to work on your key purpose today by looking at the world through a fresh pair of eyes. See your problems as an opportunity and then turn a difficult or challenging situation into a healing experience.
For example, when you are in the midst of a difficult time, stop and ask yourself what is the opportunity here or what can I learn about MYSELF from this experience. Remember this is about YOU and not about something or someone outside you. Be honest with yourself and know that there is always an opportunity or learning from every experience.
Ask yourself, what do I fear? Is there an even deeper fear? Sit with your fears, without judging them. Give things time to unfold. When they diminish, then search again for the opportunity this problem brings. Remember to act on that opportunity. If nothing comes, that is OK too. What can you learn about yourself when nothing comes? How do your thoughts treat you? What is your next action? Keep moving! The most important thoughts and beliefs are the ones that hold us back, namely OUR FEARS.
This approach will not only change your life but it will begin to ripple out into the world, making you an integral part of healing the planet and easing the suffering of others. It will take the combined effort of many to change the world by working on their key purpose. The next million-man march will not bring peace to the world. We must reside with inner peace in order to live in a world that lives in peace.
One more tip. When your thoughts get out of control, use a mantram or mantra. For simplicity, consider a mantra a commonly repeated word or phrase. Repeat this word or phrase over and over again quietly to yourself. You can do this anywhere, at any time. Some commonly used words would be names that refer to God in any religion or the syllable OM, which some say is the sound of the universe or represents both the unmanifest and manifest aspects of God. If you do not want to use a religious term, try your child’s name or anything that brings you peace and calm. You can do a search if you want to find out more about mantras. This is a way to begin bringing quiet to the mind and let go of the chatter.
Finally remember, we are souls incarnate first and human beings second. The challenges we face in life are not about punishment. You can use them as opportunities to heal if you choose, taking the path of least resistance and finding deep spiritual, emotional and even physical healing. This leads to true unconditional love and love for self. As Vernon Howard said, “What is love? Love is first a state of being and then an outer-action. Love is first of all what you inwardly are, and secondly, what you do. It must come in this order; otherwise it is not-love but something masquerading as love.”
Edited by Elaine Baskin