Life Purpose is a common term used to discuss topics related to the meaning of life. However, it can be perceived as restrictive. The issue is with its inference of singularity—sounding as if we are meant to do one certain thing in life. Some may feel that applies. For others, it may feel too narrow in focus, seeming as if to discount many of the diverse experiences of one’s life. For this reason, we guide each person to define this in whatever way feels best, either specific or broad.
People often relate purpose to their career choice and work diligently to weave their passions, talents, and strengths into their professions. This is a beautiful thing and may be the perfect set-up for many of us. For others, the intertwining of passions and career may not apply for various reasons. Some people may be retired or be unpaid caregivers of loved ones. Another reason... many of us have jobs that provide security without a fulfillment factor. Although one’s work may not feel uplifting, providing for the needs of family members is an important part of one’s life path. What seems “to be” or “not to be” part of one’s unique definition of purpose is going to vary based on the individual’s beliefs and perceptions.
Acknowledging all of these factors is to highlight the soft edges of the term Life Purpose rather than impose rigid lines of “what should,” or “what should not” be part of one’s vision of it. I hold the point of view that everyone gets to be right in how they perceive purpose and have it inform their being and doing.
Regardless of our nuanced differences in LP definitions, there is a common thread that seems to be present across the board. I see people transition from a perspective that focuses, almost exclusively, on the “me” to one that includes concern for “we” in equal measure. Whether the “we” priority is local or global, similar desires apply. There is a hunger to experience more joy and fulfillment, expanding one’s unique gifts and having those benefit the lives of others.
If the day-job does not seem to provide such an opportunity, we are well-served to find other outlets to fulfill that desire. More still, expanding one’s definition of purpose beyond an exclusive priority of “doing” can be life changing. Once we experience the power of “being” and the influence it has on our relationships, health and circumstances, giving it balanced weight in our definitions of purpose will happen naturally.
The Power of "Being"
Our world is passionate about doing. There’s a lot to be said for that. I propose something that is rarely done—give equal attention to “being,” since it’s the inextricable partner of doing.
What if “doing” isn’t actually the most important thing; and instead, it’s the other way around? Could it be possible that who we are being has even greater impact on quality of life (individual and collective) than what we do?
Perhaps, we’ll never know empirically which has the most influence. But, we have common sense and genuine experience with which to be informed. It’s been said repeatedly in various ways that people will not remember you for what you did as much as they’ll remember how they felt in your presence. We can appreciate that wisdom by considering people from our past who have perished. Our most prominent memories are about how we felt being with them rather than their bulleted lists of accomplishments.
An individual may have been incredibly successful, yet, barely tolerable to be around for various reasons. Peoples’ achievements are quickly overshadowed by the “being” factor when being critical, for instance, is their norm rather than the exception.
As we consider our purpose and how it will be realized, we can fulfill an important part of it by being compassionate, open, generous, and mindful of what matters most in each moment. There are countless qualities of “being” that are extensions of Love, all of which contribute to our individual and collective well-being. When "what we're being" is a conscious priority, we're setting the stage to have few (and maybe no) regrets when the end of our human journeys are complete, regardless of our final resume content.
There are many factors to consider while contemplating one's Life Purpose; still, the most important thing is remembering that our purpose is right here, right now. Bringing hand to chest, may we remember that being heart-fully present, wherever we are, unveils the purpose we're meant to live.
May we attune to the Infinite One we are in perfect unity, now and always.