The search for the purpose of life has puzzled us for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong place - with ourselves.
We ask self-centred questions like, What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams? What do I want my future to look like?
In reality, focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose because it’s not in fact about us. The purpose of our life is far greater than our own personal fulfilment, wildest dreams and ambitions. We were not born for our own purpose but for a higher one, a purpose I’ve come to define as a Divine Purpose.
Contrary to what most of us believe today, we will not discover the meaning of our lives by looking within. We might have tried that already, I did. I was always going inwards and in order to integrate everything I’d learnt in training and studying over the years, I knew I had to search and reach inside. I enjoyed getting to know myself from within and all the beauty that lived there. I finally completed myself and became whole.
For some of us, it might be that focusing on the inside is all we’ve ever wanted to do. Introverted or isolated people do so. But this attitude also doesn’t actually lead us to discover the meaning or purpose of our lives.
The where is the real starting point. Imagine getting lost in a forest and being told that you cannot get where you need to be from where you are. You’re told you should start from the other side of the forest. The same applies to finding our life’s purpose, we cannot do so by simply focusing on ourselves, nor by only looking outside of ourselves.
First of all, finding our higher purpose in life requires us to free ourselves from the confines of our ego and connect with something bigger or higher than us. Something many people call mysterious or powerful, and I like to call magic. We can call it a magic intelligence since the term ‘God’ seems to be out of fashion and often alienating nowadays. Some believe this higher power exists outside of us and some inside. Religions and science have played a role in estranging us from our connection to that magic intelligence.
I came to believe that our higher purpose is found and driven by neither outside or inside, nor ego or id. It’s simply driven by something magic, that we cannot explain, something invisible and untouchable that we perceive as being outside. Like the wind, we can’t see or embrace it but we feel its graze on our skin. The emotional tension that we call intuition or our gut feeling.
We believe life is about us using the divine magic for our purpose, when in reality life is the divine magic using us for its purpose. Self-help books usually offer the same predictable steps to finding our life purpose: focus on your dreams, leverage on your strengths, make a list of your values, set your goals, dream big, believe in yourself, be self-disciplined, be resilient, never give up.
Their recommendations are all fantastic and do often lead to great success I might add. I trained with several people who found their life purpose by focusing on themselves only. With enough willingness we can reach our personal goals, become a raving success by society’s standards and still totally miss the purpose for which we were born to begin with. I believe we need more than self-help advice because actually knowing our purpose will allow us to do less by focusing on being and on what matters most.
When I’m coaching, I often work with clients who come to me with the aim of finding their higher purpose. Often this is a search for a meaningful relationship or successful career so I have to help them understand that this is an ego-driven purpose. Even when we are pre-planning and saving for our children to go to the best universities, we're are pursuing an ego-driven purpose. An ego-driven purpose is not our life purpose like we might think, there’s another kind that is: a God-driven purpose. This latter kind of purpose is what we’re born to do with our lives and you can know when you’re doing your God-driven purpose because things fall into place and flow much easier. It’s like there’s no resistance and everything conspires to help you get from A to B. This is the most effective way to distinguish between an ego-driven purpose and your actual life purpose.
I find that younger clients struggle more in search for this higher, life God-driven purpose because they’re still finding themselves and achieving their goals in life. That’s their primary focus, it’s only at around the 40-year mark that people typically have the maturity, resources and stability to begin their search for their life God-given purpose.
There are a few important things we need to fix in our hearts and minds when it comes to a higher purpose:
- We need to become clear about the fact that we might choose our career, our spouse, our hobbies and many other parts of our lives but we don’t actually get to choose our purpose. It’s in fact our purpose that chooses and chases us.
- Our higher purpose must fit into a larger, cosmic purpose that we have no control over. A divine intelligence has the control really, and we are all part of this intelligence.
Questions that may help you ponder and move forward on the search of your Divine Purpose:
What is the purpose of my life (inside) in connection with the life of others (outside)?
What ways have you tried to discover the meaning of your life so far? Did they work?
- Many turn to God/Divine Intelligence to discover their purpose. Have you considered doing so?
After many years of searching and experiencing among different religions, cultures and spiritual paths, I came to my own conclusions, which I summarise here:
- There is an order in the chaos of the world we live in.
- Therefore nothing is a coincidence.
- There is something bigger and more powerful than us human beings, who created us for a reason, therefore giving life profound meaning.
- The way I have to discover the meaning of life day by day is by getting closer to and getting to know the higher intelligence, its nature and the way that it manifests and works in my daily life.
header image by David Zawila
This article was featured on Thrive Global
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