Published in New York Spirit
I often wonder about the purpose of life. Am I living it or still dreaming about it?
Osho said the question itself is nonsensical. Life is its own purpose. Something that has a meaning becomes utilitarian – a means to end- like a currency note. Life has no meaning, yet beautiful, like a rose.
“Live a life which has no idea of purpose, which has no search for meaning.”
This makes sense too.
Can I do that? These questions vanish when mindfulness takes the driving seat. Just the present moment and the moments born out of it seems to exist. Watching a bird weave its nest, futile attempts to capture beautiful butterflies that flutter all around, finding shapes in fluffy cottony clouds, observing contours and color of leaves of my garden plants, learning the names of the fruit beetles and the caterpillars, listening to the sound of rain, taking a deep breath because it’s petrichor! The moments spent in nature are the easiest of all to feel the magic of mindfulness. These make me feel I don’t need anything else in life.
The question flutters around again. There is an urge to do more. For nature, for the world, for the planet we live on. To light the wick of empathy in humans that seems to be lost. It pains me, angers me to see how disconnected they are from the natural world. It is selfish perhaps. Maybe this urge is to calm my own being; to feel happy that everyone would care for the world and it would be a better place.
Looking for the purpose of life might stem from a search for reasons to feel motivated and find a reason to wake up every day. Like the Japanese concept of Ikigai – a reason for being. Some purpose in life that makes living worthwhile. A union point of four constituents of life: passion, vocation, profession and mission.
However, like with everything, the meaning of Ikigai changed over generations. For an older generation in Japan, Ikigai was to “fit a standard mold of company and family’”, whereas the younger generation reported their Ikigai to be about “dreams of what they might become in the future”.
Each of us has our own way to lead and define life and its purpose. But what we are calling purpose might be short-lived. We might revisit this question once we achieve the current goal. That implies the goal was just a milestone, just an event in our life. Not a purpose.
The bigger picture of this whole hullabaloo of purpose is simple. Your purpose constitutes every action that you would do in your life. Your existence itself is going to affect people around you. For some, you would be a big life lesson. For others, you would be a catalyst for their growth. We all are heroes in our own story. But we might be the villains or a supporting character too in others’ stories. Nonetheless, we are serving a purpose. We are interconnected not just by the natural world but by the cosmic world as well. Our energies, our acts, our decisions not only affect us but also the circle of people around us.
That’s why all the spiritual gurus tell you that your life itself is a purpose and that it is beyond any meaning.
The larger or smaller purpose is the definition given by the swift-paced human mind. In the scheme of the universe, every purpose, every life is significant. The matrix weave has a purpose for all.
Life is transcendental. There is no goal to be achieved. Not even enlightenment. The struggle to achieve some goal destroys the energies within you that otherwise need to focus on just being — taking life as it comes. There cannot be a logical deduction out of this life. Focusing on a goal-oriented tomorrow is a sure-shot way to steal the joy of today.
Relax, life will find its way.
While you should not fret with “what’s my purpose”, giving away in the currency of kindness and empathy would help to find the peace you strive to find within.
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.