Each person has a great purpose in their life.
Not knowing that purpose – or dimly knowing it but not fully embracing it – leads to existential pain.
Existential pain is the deepest pain of human life. It magnifies thousand fold physical pain and the social pains which are the natural and inevitable part of life.
Existential pain is rooted in twin illusions: either that one’s life doesn’t have a purpose or that something (be it others, the world, one’s own nature) is thwarting the pursuit of one’s life purpose.
If you were convinced that your life has a purpose, that you matter, that the best self as you envision it is necessary for the world and can be a reality – how would you live? How would you then look at the obstacles you face? How would you then relate to your own doubts and anxieties?
You do matter. In the way you most want to matter. Not in the way prestige or power or your lack of confidence want you to matter. But the way that the best, freest and most confident part of you wants to matter.
The purpose of your life is to grow in consciousness. To gain an equanimity to everyday concerns that feel like the be all and end all of daily life. To be with God.
Politics is important. If I am unjustly jailed, I want the government to be just. But politics isn’t the end of life. It isn’t the main purpose of life. The main purpose is the intellectual, spiritual and psychic growth of the person. Politics is like food or shelter. Not an end in itself but a means to loving to pursue the greater purpose of life.
The purpose of life is to grow beyond existential pain.
Yes, that’s circular. Not knowing my purpose in life leads to my existential pain. Overcoming my existential pain is the purpose of my life. So: the purpose of my life is to know the purpose of my life. To know that there is a purpose and to throw myself into that purpose with all of my being.
The purpose of individual lives doesn’t require an teleology in biology or physics. Anymore than love in a marriage requires that such love must be found in other animals.
The purpose of individual lives is a social, cultural fact. It is something we bring into existence through our commitment to it.
You can’t wait passively to find your meaning in life anymore than you can find passively your commitment to your marriage or your health or to finishing a book.
The meaning of your life isn’t a spooky, metaphysical mystery. It is simply your commitment to being the best you that you can be. The sense of mystery is that normally we have a very limited sense of what our best self is – one defined more by others expectations and social norms and one’s own insecurities than by the free, happy, blissful unfolding of ourselves.
Move beyond the social expectations and your internalized sense of ego satisfaction. Open up to the deeper realms of consciousness, awareness and reflection within you.
Beyond the surface anxieties of identities, there is a vast realm of peace and stillness within us. In that stillness, the meaning of your life unfolds like a beautiful sunrise.