I believe discovering our life purpose, the “why” of our life, is beyond a doubt the most important question we can ask ourselves. Until we are able to answer that question in one clear and simple sentence, most of the life energy available to us as a human will remain dormant and unavailable to us. Until we can answer the question of “why” am I here, authenticity and the deeper meaning of our life will remain just beyond our grasp.
Until we discover our life purpose we are destined to live a life that someone else has chosen for us, or a life that simply happens to us. In neither case will the probability be high that our life is happy. And rarely will we achieve the feeling that our life has been a success. This certainly described me when I was in my late thirties. I was definitely not happy.
Somehow I knew I had to discover for myself why I was here. What did my soul come here to do? What it is that I was meant to contribute to the world? Was I contributing to the world, or was I just taking up space? Was I adding value to the world and to the lives of others, or was I simply consuming the resources of the world? To awaken my consciousness and move toward my life purpose, these were the tough questions I found myself wrestling with. I definitely didn’t like the answers I was coming up with when I was honest with myself. My journey toward authenticity had begun.
Over time I learned that only when I had the courage to intentionally sit with these tough questions, become self-aware, learn to pay attention to my inner-world, and then openly embrace the intuitions and insights I discovered in that process, did the “why” of my life begin to reveal itself. The spiritual transformation I experienced was amazing. I began to move beyond ego and the relentless focus on self that had dominated my life for so long. Where I had previously been taking from the world and using others to “get ahead”, I found myself beginning to consciously and intentionally trying to add value to the lives of those around me.
But most importantly, I began to recognize that this thing called life purpose; this deeper purpose that had been calling me all of my life; this thing that is now adding value to the lives of others; is exactly what I was meant to do in this life. Today I know without a doubt that I am living the life I came here to live.
The deep sense of authenticity that emerged as I began to discover my life purpose required a very different kind of courage. I’m talking about the courage it takes for a person to explore and examine the unconscious part of his or her psyche; that part of our unconscious mind where we have buried all the fears, doubts, embarrassments, guilt, shame, and other shadow material of our life. The courage needed to awaken and intentionally shine the light of my consciousness into the dark shadows of my unconscious primitive ego psyche was not because of any innate or special courage on my part, it was born in the pain of an unfulfilled life. The pain of where I found myself was greater than the fear I had about where I was headed.
Looking back over my journey, it’s clear that only when we have the courage to intentionally grow in self-awareness and self-knowledge will we begin to grow psychologically or spiritually. Only when we have learned to awaken our consciousness will we begin the journey from primitive ego to that of a more enlightened consciousness. Only then will we begin to transform the fears and pain that we have buried in our unconscious mind. I now understand the truth and wisdom in Richard Rohr’s words when he reminds us that pain not transformed within will be transmitted onto others. I certainly did my share of transmitting.
The goal of self-awareness is learning to pay attention to our inner world and learning to know ourselves well enough that we are able to recognize the calling and urging of our true self; the quiet voice within that has always been nudging us toward our life purpose. When we are awakened and conscious of our inner-self, we will hear that voice of our true self that has been urging us our whole life to become the person we were born to be. I believe that most of us can look back and discover that we’ve known our life purpose since childhood. All we needed to do was awaken our consciousness and embrace what we’ve always known to be true.
Authenticity is the gift that comes when we know ourselves well enough to answer that call and live the reason we are here; embracing our life purpose and doing what our soul came here to do.