If life is a journey involving many different areas of your life, how can you then search for purpose in one place only? You are not only your career, or your hobby, or your relationship, or your home, or your behavior or your emotions. Perhaps that is why it can be such a challenge when searching for meaning in life.
And to discover the deeper aspirations that ignite within us a passion to embrace our desires in their fullest in all the spaces that we inhabit.
Discovering your purpose is integral to your life’s journey – unless you give it the time and attention that it deserves, you may for the rest of your days suspect that there may be more to life and that you have a purpose that is bigger or different than what you imagined it to be.
The world and all the people that inhabit this planet can be compared to an intricately woven tapestry – a work in progress, one that started long ago and will continue until Clotho grows tired of spinning the thread of life. If you and I are only little specs in this tapestry, why would it then make a difference whether you choose to live with or without purpose or meaning?
Life is ultimately about happiness and fulfilment, don't you think?
Would you not agree that the little space you and I occupy should be important?
It makes a difference to how the tapestry is woven by your neighbour, your friend, and your loved ones – and in this manner we are all connected, part of the bigger landscape, influencing each other, hopefully for the better. So even if you are not going to be the next Einstein, or will never be famous, or some such outcome, won’t it make a world of difference to you whether you navigate your life with joy, satisfaction and the knowledge that you are on a path of your choosing? Even when you then encounter obstacles, difficulties or opposition, that knowledge can serve to keep you motivated, keep you going and focused on realising the dream.
So this may all sound very idealistic to you. And your first question may be:
How do I even begin to know what my deepest desires are?
Notice that I use the plural – desires. Many people focus on one area of their life and make that their sole focus. More often than not it is a career or a business that allow very little time and energy for anything else.
If you are someone who is totally fulfilled by a career or a business role to the exclusion of many other areas of life, who am I to say that you are wrong? But what if you are not? What if there is a part of you that yearns for love, for a family, for better relationships, more knowledge about yourself, spiritual enlightenment, to learn, to explore, to find freedom of thought, expressing your personal talents in your own unique way – or even all of these?
Idealism aside, do you have any idea of what you would like to achieve in your life? If not, how determined are you to get an answer?
Every one of us have a different experience when it comes to finding purpose – your first notion that you want change may be an unwanted emotion; someone else may be bored with their relationship, their studies or their career; while the next person may only experience a hint of doubt over a course of action, so subtle that it is pushed aside without further exploration.
Where does your experience fit?
Comfort zone as danger zone
If you have ever been at a place in your life when you were simply cruising – accepting what you have, what you do and what you get, you must know how hard it is to break free of this comfort zone. Only when you realise that you are simply now treading water may you develop the urgent need to find a different way.
Upon reaching this point, as you discover that you are questioning the meaning or purpose of your life, realise that not knowing – yet – is also an opportunity. Instead of allowing this to lead emotions that are experienced as negative – deep frustration or disappointment or even fear and anxiety – you can use these feelings to your advantage, else they may grow into that which you fear.
Shouldn’t these feelings of disappointment and frustration be regarded as an incentive to spur you on to find what you truly want? The deeper the experience of dissatisfaction, the more urgent the need to explore your own needs and wants become. Only by knowing what you want can you plan your ascend from the depths of dissatisfaction or even despair.
"Don't wants" often serves as pointers to "wants"
Even if you only have understanding of what you do not want, you can use that knowledge and transform it into a positive desire. Should you be willing to investigate what is at the core of the negative “don’t wants”, you will be able to transform them into something better – your “wants”.
Many people can clearly articulate what they do not want, but find it much more difficult to define what life would be like if they were to commit to move towards their desired outcomes.
But there is also a caveat: many people subscribe to the notion that only once they know what their purpose is and step onto the road to start the journey, would they experience happiness. This may be a dangerous deception. By finding happiness in the moments as you live them now, your deeper desires may be more likely to reveal themselves to you. Why? Because being trapped within feelings of despair or inner conflict won’t allow you to embrace that which is right in front of you and may hold the secret you are searching for.
Experiencing peace within is also more likely to let you access the deeper intuitive wisdom that is often buried by turmoil.
If you found this article valuable, then you may also want to read the article Creating a New and Heartfelt Mindset which deals with the trap of negative thoughts and feelings and the importance of learning a new way of thinking if you are to find the answers to your questions.