Topic 14 – Our Purpose-Why Such an Enigma?
There are few subjects so widely addressed as the one entitled: What is Our Purpose? A multitude of seminars, books, discussions and essays on the subject suggest that it is not only important to us but also elusive. Finding one’s purpose is something few people attest to having achieved. Do you ever wonder why?
Since this blog series has been dedicated to providing an uncommon perspective on life and human nature, one framed by a sense of profound interconnectedness, quite contrary to our conditioned sense of separateness, let’s see what clues this new perspective might offer us in finding our purpose.
What fascinates me is that this exploration puts us amidst two seeming opposing voices—the mystical and the scientific. But with the advances in quantum reality, physics and metaphysics have never been closer. Both speak to a world established on the principle of profound interconnectedness and its implications for us, but since the great teachers have been at it a tad longer, let’s listen to Rumi, who pulls no punches when he talks about purpose:
There is one thing in this world that you must never forget to do.
If you forget everything else and not this, there’s nothing to worry about,
but if you remember everything else and forget this,
then you will have done nothing in your life.
Rumi gives us both the essence of purpose and indeed the magnitude of its importance to us, but it still leaves us confused as to what we’re to do. Our confusion stems from believing we’re Bill or Sally. We then think our purpose lies with these personalities, their work and their achievements in the world, and yet our take has left us feeling often lost and definitely unfulfilled in life. Rumi’s didn’t. So where does the truth lie?
If you remember from Topic 2 and Topic 3, we talked about why we are not Bill and Sally. They are roles, invented in our minds, characters in a play with a script so well written, that we can go through our entire lives on earth and have no idea there is anything more to us than that—Rumi’s “then you will have done nothing.” Rumi is saying don’t look to an invention of your mind to provide you with answers. Look to what is real.
Oh my goodness, how quickly this discussion gets deep. What is real is indeed its bottom line.
In the world of mystics, there has always been a familiarity with real and unreal, or said another way–seen and unseen. You see, we have been conditioned to accept that if we can touch, taste, see, smell or hear it, to us it’s real. In science, that conditioning stated that if they could directly detect and measure something, then it’s real. Mystics, on the other hand, have always trusted a different order of senses, ones we talked about in Topic 9 and Topic 12, and in so doing, open themselves to a very different view of our universe. But in the last 60 years or so, quantum physicists, having stumbled into the subatomic world and its oddities, have suggested that something undetectable, seemingly unreal, was influencing subatomic behavior. They referred to it as the Butterfly Effect, a term we lay people banter about, without realizing its implications suggest something that should raise the hair on the back of our necks. It brings scientists and laypeople alike to the conclusion that things unseen, meaning without substance as we’ve defined it, could be as real as that which we can pinch or prod.
What happened to our discussion on purpose, you might be asking by now?
It begs the conclusion that if the universe is a product of the seen and unseen, then everything in it is as well -including us. And if that is so, then to look to an invented caricature associated with a body as being all that we are, is somewhat off the mark. And to think that our purpose is merely to re-write the script for that role we’ve invented, becomes naïve indeed. To make a statement as bold and forceful as Rumi has: “but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life,” suggests to me that our purpose is rather substantial. Something more along the lines of coming to know ourselves in our entirety—our seen and unseen aspects, and walk the earth from that vantage point. Reflect on it and see if it feels right to you.
Next week, we’ll delve more deeply into this age old knowledge that Sages have talked about and lived over millennia in Topic 15 – Will the Real Bill and Sally Please Stand Up.
To read this series, “The View from Here,” in its entirety
To follow the serialization of my most recent novel, Where It Began,
Book One of the Accident of Births trilogy, a story about
unconditional love as lived and modeled by an illiterate,
Black housekeeper in Ellensburg, Mississippi during the
gritty, chaotic last half of the 20th century.
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