I forget why I was there, but I saw this quote on web page of quotes recently –
“Life finds its purpose and fulfillment in the expansion of Happiness” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
I thought about it and decided that I might twist it around a bit and say – “Life finds fulfillment and happiness in the pursuit of purpose.”
I’ve posted here before about having a purpose in one ‘s life and actually most people may have more than one purpose going on and they don’t all have to be serious, “change the world” types of purpose. Parents often express purpose in the raising of their children and making sure that they make the best of themselves that they can. As the children grow up and leave, many shift their life’s purpose to helping others. I suppose that there is purpose in pursing happiness; although I’m not so sure about feeling a sense of fulfillment out of that pursuit. I suspect that happiness and a sense of fulfillment might better be described as being by-products of the successful pursuit of a purpose in life.
The dictionary definition of purpose is – the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. In life, you could substitute someone into the definition to come up with “the reason for which someone exists.”
For many just the continuing struggle to exist at all supplants purpose. Survival isn’t really purpose, but it’s all that many people have time for in life. For those who are blessed with a life in which the basics needed to survive are taken care of the next level of consciousness often hungers for some purpose to it all. For some that comes easily; those driven by a passion to serve and help others. For some it is a lifelong quest in search of something about which to become passionate. Many pass through phases where they mistake the pursuit of excellence in a sport or a hobby for purpose. Some allow the pursuit of wealth or power to masquerade as purpose in their lives. Many confuse their love and feelings of responsibility for a life-mate or for their children as their purpose. Certainly there is purpose in protecting and providing for both and a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction at a job well done for them. At the end of the day, all of these people find that something is still missing in their lives – real purpose.
So, before I go too far down that deep philosophical path, suffice to say that finding your purpose often means finding a way to serve others, to put others needs before your needs and to set aside prejudices and fears about those who may be different or in need. I have met a number of people who have not only found their purpose, but who have embraced it with a passion that is evident in everything that they do. Sometimes these are people who volunteer at organizations like Meals on Wheels or Community Sharing. Sometimes these are people who have dedicated their lives to working with and saving those who have troubled lives. Sometimes they are just relentless fund-raisers for worthy causes and sometimes they just dish out soup at shelters.
You can kind of tell when you meet one of these people because they are usually always happy, even when they are dead tired from the toils involved in pursuing their purpose. They’re happy because they are also people who are feeling fulfilled at the end of each day and who are excited about getting up the next day and doing more. How many of us can say that about our daily lives?
Maybe most of us just haven’t found our purpose yet. I get glimpses of purpose during periods of volunteer work; but I can’t honestly say that I have found my purpose yet. I’m pretty sure that I won’t find a single, big, show-stopping purpose for my life; but, rather, that a bunch of things that I can have passion for and find fulfilment in doing may be what I sense that I’m missing. Perhaps writing about it and about things like the human trafficking problem that I recent wrote about is also a part of my purpose. I just feel like there is more; so, I continue to search.
Have you found your purpose(s)? I you have, good for you; and if you haven’t, keep searching.