Purpose is like a gem that coruscates differently under the light in the eye of the beholder.
I have often thought of purpose as something you have – something you consciously possess and shape during the process of self discovery. But recently, I’ve recognized this definition matches more the concept of a goal that is powered by a drive. Goals, agendas, and drive are common occurrences, but it seems that purpose is less so.
Simply put, purpose is focused energy that sets the context for living. Purpose is one and the same as you. It is a life set in motion like an arrow, skillfully fired from a bow and flying ceaselessly toward a target that may very well be still forming.
I am not trying to speak in riddles. I am still searching for words and trying to describe something that has – up to this point – simply been my life. I’ve only now began to recognize and understand it after decades of observing recurring patterns.
Since a very young age, I felt that I was this flying arrow – already in motion. It was most apparent in my decision-making, where I moved only in response to opportunities and changes by intuition. I did very little strategizing or thinking about my choices. It is also something that made me feel like an outcast.
What made my decisions unusual is that I had no plan and no end-result in mind. I never thought of my choices as leading to success or happiness. Rather, the big changes I made were the only changes I could make – with no afterthought or regrets.
In hindsight, I was a paradox that appeared as an overachiver and a workaholic to others, but now I simply see myself as someone with a limited amount of time and still much to learn.
I am always working – not as a distraction from living, but because I am focused on living. When I get tired, I rest, and then resume where I left off. I am a student of the world, and my studies follow a thread that runs throughout the world and human knowledge. I just follow it, like one follows a scent.
I suppose it must sound like such a strange way to live – so intensely immersed in learning, practicing, and giving, without any thought of outcome or reward. I only know that I must keep going because my time is limited and I must not run out of it. The less I identified myself as someone, the more focused and free I became to live as purpose.
Purpose is living me and not the other way around, and it is not done with me yet. However, lately it has felt like I am closer to where I am being taken in life.
Purpose is a force of nature with no personality. Of course I have an unmistakable personality, but the purpose that lives me does not – it is simply colored by my personality.
Typically, driven persons are always armed with a way to measure their proximity to the goal and are ready to adjust course. I noticed that I just don’t do that – the destination does not matter, and the journey is everything. I have not really achieved anything. In conventional terms, one may not conclude that I have arrived at financial success and stability or fame. I lay no claim to have made any difference in the lives of others – I have no idea how I helped, only that I was available. But what is life if not a process of mystery?
Society has defined value and shaped a vision of a desirable life. So many people compare their lives against some set standard to decide if they measure up. What if we just lived life completely out of the box? What if we surrendered and trusted the flow of life itself, and ceased to judge life? My guess is that we would be handing ourselves over to purpose, and becoming that straight and narrow arrow in flight. We would move with direct confidence 24/7 – never questioning or regretting any life lesson.
Living this way stops time, even while – paradoxically – it feels like there is no time to waste.