I recently had a conversation that gave me some powerful insight in regards to the human desire for purpose and meaning. Let’s start by connecting to the word. Personally, I notice the word “Purpose” being used all around me. While I do have some reservations about the word I do feel like it is easily relatable. That said you can easily interchange with any of the following; dharma, meaning, deepest desires, souls calling, nature, mission, truth etc. Whatever word calls to your heart, know that when I say “purpose” I am also referring to your word.
The cities, the roads, the countryside, the people I meet - they all begin to blur. I tell myself I am searching for something. But more and more, it feels like I am wandering, waiting for something to happen to me, something that will change everything, something that my whole life has been leading up to.” ~ Khaled Hosseini - And the Mountains Echoed
This notion of searching for “Purpose” also seems to have this bigness to it. I used to think I needed to become as big as all the gurus telling me that I needed to find my purpose. In the end though, I think it is a little bit of a misunderstanding, or we misinterpret the meaning of this search. In my experience of observing others “find” their purpose it is usually a deep connection to a knowing that has always been there waiting to be discovered. The bigness of this discovery is more related to the amount of joy and peace and clarity that begins to emerge from the person when they align with this knowing. Often it is simply accessing and sharing a way of being that is familiar and yet had been suppressed or pushed aside for many years.
Let’s start with the first side of this “gap”. In my opinion the lives we are living are in direct conflict with our true nature. We have become disconnected from ourselves, each other and our world. I view a world that is moving at an alarming pace. I recently spent a few days in downtown Vancouver and I was blown away at how fast everything moved. It seems that many people are hustling and bustling through their everyday lives unable to press pause. The story I make about this, is that as they stare at their phones and move so quickly and are missing so much. One morning on the Sea Bus travelling to Vancouver there was a glorious sunrise. I would say 95% of the people on the Sea Bus were so focused on their phones that they missed it. I wanted to stand up and tell everyone they were missing it and share the experience with them. On this side of the gap we are “Human Doings” jumping from task to task to task. We have our eyes on a prize as we work towards a goal, a grade, a raise, a promotion or upgrading our home. We may not be consciously choosing this path.
This brings us to the other side of the gap. On this side we are either consciously or unconsciously aware of our purpose. If we are unconsciously aware, we feel like something is missing in our lives. Something is whispering in our ear, calling us forward. We can feel it but we are uncertain what this is about or what meaning to give it. There is a deep knowing but no clarity. Or we consciously know exactly what is missing or what needs to be done. In knowing what is missing we are in a constant battle with ourselves around following the path that is screaming our name. In this situation the gap widens because we add a layer of guilt and judgement. We judge that we “should” be making different choices and taking actions. Often this widening of the gap is in relation to creative endeavours that bring joy into our lives or provide the opportunity for expression. The gap is a space of so many emotions which may include; despair, sadness, frustration, uncertainty, anger and so many more.
In my experience clarity of purpose has been the bridge that allows me to travel the gap and find balance between both sides of the chasm. The bridge allowed me to reconcile the life that felt so opposite to my nature and deepest desires and allowed me to connect to what my heart has always wanted for me. I could now travel freely between both worlds in a way that was honouring my true nature. Thus shifting my relationship to the world around me and allowing me to honour my values and purpose.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience” ~ Pierre Teilhard De Chardin