By Darshan Goswami, M.S., P.E., Pittsburgh, PA
The Purpose of life is what you want to make out of it. Each of us has a unique purpose in life, and our happiness, growth and success lie in its realization. As humans, this purpose is to understand our relationship to a broader reality than our own – God-realization and realization of one’s True Nature as Pure Consciousness.
Have you ever asked yourself “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life?” “Is life more than just a brief span of time on earth?” Such questions have baffled the greatest thinkers and philosophers down through the ages. Living, in itself, is not enough. Life, in itself, is not the goal.
Most of us are so busy and caught up in day-to-day existence that we do not have time to think about the Purpose of Living. It seems that our lives revolve around daily routines and worldly demands rather than striving for fulfillment. Religions preach about true purpose and philosophers have pondered the mystery for centuries. While we mortals just try to live day-to-day, the eternal Purpose of Life still eludes us. All our pondering, technology and sophistication still haven’t solved the fundamental riddle posed by two indelible facts of human existence – Life and Death. In this article, I will attempt to share with you my thoughts on the purpose of living.
We were all created to be happy and have purposeful lives. As human beings we are blessed with a brain and conscience; and so can decide what we want to make of our lives. Often, a purpose is imposed on an individual by family, culture, government, or even by individuals who seek to control others for their own satisfaction. As we strive to learn the purpose of our lives here on earth, we must remember that true fulfillment is not found in our outward achievements, but in what we accomplish within ourselves.
Why would I want to know my Purpose?
What would you like to ask the Supreme Being if you could get a direct and immediate answer? A poll in USA Today reports that the #1 question people would like to ask God is “What’s my purpose of Living?” According to Swami Rama, “A human being is a citizen of two worlds, the world within and the world without are two entirely separate realities. The external world dissipates energy, but the internal world showers blessings that fill the vacuum created by the world. Conquering the inner world is more difficult than succeeding in the kingdom of life in the external world.”
Knowing your true purpose leads to real joy, satisfaction, and happiness as you strive to fulfill our dream life. Studies have shown that purpose-driven people experience more contentment, and have more success and financial rewards than most other people. By taking the time to understand your purpose in life, you’ll have more satisfaction and more energy, and be more focused to achieve that Purpose. Until you find your Purpose and begin fulfilling it, you will never be truly happy.
Where Do I begin to find my Purpose?
My incentive for knowing/finding my Purpose lies in my own future. My greatest satisfaction would be to look back on my life and know that I gave my all unselfishly to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. From this point of view, nothing could be more important than finding and fulfilling my life’s purpose.
But how and where can the purpose for your life be discovered? Our jobs, daily responsibilities, or even long-term goals are not the true Purpose, the real reason why we’re here on earth. I believe that our most fundamental human desire is happiness. I also thought that happiness could be achieved through material possessions. I presumed that if I made enough money I would be happy and fulfilled. But it didn’t work out that way. The more I followed the path of material possessions, the less satisfied I became. Consequently I no longer believe that materialism is the way to true fulfillment. I have learned that if you understand your Purpose and practice it in your daily living, God will give you what you want, and so make future steps easier and clearer.
On the other hand, many people believe that you have to give up all your worldly possessions and devote all your time to helping others, without regard for your own wants and needs. While such self sacrifice may be admirable, the most important thing to understand is that your Supreme Purpose cannot be found by searching outside yourself. To find your Purpose you need to search within yourself. Various meditation methods can help you to “look within” and realize your true purpose.
How to find your Purpose?
To discover true purpose, one must first empty the mind of all the false intentions acquired in the course of daily living. We must understand that, while our present life and body will come to an end, whatever we do during our life influences our ultimate future. According to Eastern teachings, death is not the end of life. At death, we acquire a new body based on our previous activities (karma) and desires, being reincarnated as any of the 8.4 million species of life in any planet within the universe. This cycle of birth, death and transmigration continues indefinitely. For humans there is a very special opportunity in this cycle because we are endowed with intelligence to inquire into the true purpose of life. Unless this milestone is reached, life is in vain.
We are eternal living beings – we are not this body but an eternal spirit soul. While the body will die, our real self, the spirit soul, will never succumb to death. The body is merely a temporary vessel, and when it becomes old or useless, the soul takes on a new body, much like a person changing clothes. Some view the prospect of death and changing bodies as unnatural, unpleasant and depressing. However, this notion fails to consider that the unpleasantness of birth, death, diseases, old age or other miseries of this world are due to having forgotten our real spiritual nature and relationship with God.
Accepting death will help with the realization that life is temporary, a journey of learning and growth that culminates in understanding that God, or the eternal Reality, is within you. Without this awareness our Purpose remains shrouded by body consciousness and ignorance, believing that life has no ultimate goal or meaning. But, as soon as we turn our attention back to God, this illusion is removed and we are free from fear. Achieving this level of enlightenment, however, is an arduous journey that must begin by examination of the inward self. Even Buddha spent years in solitude before realizing his Purpose, and Jesus went off into the desert to discover the truth.
Finding the true purpose of life begins by understanding our real nature, transferring our earthly desires to spiritual, and turning our attention back to God. When we reestablish contact with God even ordinary activities and relationships we pursue take on new meaning and significance, no longer being temporary or illusionary. Ultimately, it will enable us to go back to our eternal home. There we can forever engage in blissful loving service to the Supreme Lord, without being subjected to the stringent laws of birth, death, old age, disease and suffering.
Being human is a precious gift. Finding true purpose makes life more enjoyable. More importantly, the mind and spirit are infused with a mission and a direction. This Purpose attracts and causes more opportunities for fulfillment and enjoyment. Choosing a purpose to live by is important, critical even, to personal fulfillment and happiness.
Creating a purposeful life begins with changing your attitude and thoughts. Give thanks to God for what you have and, most of all, enjoy it! When you live life with purpose, giving to others without expecting anything in return, prosperity will result. It took me a while to grasp this concept. But now, doing things for others unselfishly gives me a pure joy and true inner happiness.
Now let me tell you a secret of true happiness. When you wake up each day recite a little prayer of gratitude to the Lord for the immense pleasures of life and the opportunity to be of unselfish service to others. By doing so, your subconscious mind picks up the positive feeling and energy, and you will realize the purpose of your life. When you recognize your purpose you see things in a more positive way. This insight releases tremendous amounts of positive vibrations that, in turn attracts more positive energy. It all starts when you focus on the true purpose of your life, to liberate the soul and get redemption from the cycle of death and rebirth. Meditation is an extremely effective way of learning your true purpose.
Finally, the purpose of life is to serve others, to realize the truth (Self) and to believe in Supreme Power. It is for these, that this human life and this human birth have been received. Being human has given you a golden opportunity. Make the best use of it. When you are connected to your spiritual purpose your life becomes easier, and more satisfying and rewarding. Be generous and give yourself away, and serve humanity unselfishly. Live consciously and courageously, resonate with love and compassion to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace. All of us have been blessed with precious gifts by God. What really matters is what we do with these gifts during our lifetime. Ask yourself a simple question, what are you doing to help others? If you have found your Purpose, you will discover the answer (as I have) that the more you share your gifts unselfishly; God will shower you with more gifts in return.
The PURPOSE OF LIVING
By Darshan Goswami, M.S., P.E., Pittsburgh, PA