Man’s Search for Purpose

The search for purpose in these modern times has become excruciatingly trendy, overly romanticized, and highly stylized that it seems that it has become increasingly more difficult and confusing than it should be. It’s the talk of many books, blogs, and vlogs across the globe, but it seems that this talk is creating more confusion and anxiety rather than bringing people closer to finding themselves and their peace. The topic has become somewhat reminiscent of a Disney movie in which all you have to do is sit and meditate for a couple minutes and your purpose will wash over you in a blaze of glory, light, and joy. Everything will immediately make sense, and you will finally be saved from your misery only now being able to live happily ever after. The man (or woman) of your dreams will burst through your door on an ivory horse with a red rose clutched between his (or her) pearled teeth. It is almost expected to feel like something from a movie—man defeats challenge/obstacle and scores “the girl” in his endless testosterone-fueled conquest. 

People’s expectations are soaring exceedingly beyond reality. People expect to feel something—they expect to feel this overwhelming clarity, happiness, love, and passion as an angel descends from the Heavens to hand deliver their entire life’s purpose to them. It should feel like an Instagram-perfect shot because it can’t be legit if it isn’t on social media, right? Unfortunately, I feel that it is far less romantic and sexy than that, though.  

In my (limited) experience, though in the vastness of the Universe all of our experiences are limited whether young or old, purpose has felt like more of an impulsive need rather than being enveloped in the embrace of a lover. If you haven’t pursued it, it feels like not taking care of yourself or your needs while you sit and procrastinate until the end of time (like I did with the writing of this article); a nagging that never ceases. It’s the passing of an old friend on the street that you’ve been meaning to meet up with, or a pet demanding your attention until you finally can’t ignore it, giving it the attention it desires. It is the nurturing of the soul, or the neglect when you ignore it, and can either heal you or destroy you. It feels much like a physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental need. You can feel the need in your body. Your hands will get antsy and restless aching for a pen, your throat will ache in words unsaid and lyrics unsung, and your heart will sink into the depths of despair while your soul unhealed is too weak to lift it back up; however, when you fulfill it, you feel a certain level of satisfaction rather than an amazing epiphany, but it only lasts as long as you feed it. It is a simple need added onto your other baser needs; nothing more, nothing less. I feel that this is why many people struggle to find their life’s purpose due to the expectation that they should feel something massive. They feel that mountains should crumble at their feet and roar as they shift when it’s more of a whisper of the wind. The Universe does not shout. 

Many ignore the things they are good at due to the lack of roaring emotions, adrenaline, and seas of ecstasy. Building things doesn’t sound romantic to society, so one may ignore their calling of building whether it be building homes or relationships faded as it doesn’t seem extravagant enough. Destroying things, names and faces on billboards, corporate slavery sounds much more appealing to the pursuer of trends. Your hand may ache to serenade sheets in notebooks and journals with lyrics and poetry, or your throat may quake and shiver to vibrate into song and inspire to dance. Perhaps you’re perfectly content working in a donut shop, working in a restaurant, maintaining a building, or running a non-profit, but one may say that it can’t be true as I am still miserable. It can’t be true because it’s not extraordinary enough. It’s not about feeling good but more about creating meaning for yourself and others. Meaning can be the smile on a customer’s face when they taste the food you cooked for them, the way a song you wrote fills your audience with emotion, or the simple act of changing someone’s day just by sharing a simple “hello” and a smile. 

I feel that the voice of the Universe does not howl at the moon. That which roars is not coming from you. Listen for the voice that caresses your ears and soul gently. That is where the truth will reside.

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The Pursuit of Happiness and the Cure for Pain

Everybody is always looking for happiness. Endlessly searching as if they are on a quest to finally find Bigfoot. We buy a new flatscreen, a new iPhone every year as if the “changes” are worth it or even really needed, more makeup to hide ourselves to the point of not even being us anymore, a bigger house for a small family who doesn’t need it, and on and on.

We continue buying stuff all the time, hopping from relationship to relationship to escape being alone for one second with ourselves, looking to the bottom of bottle after bottle to find the cure for the pain—-the deliriousness that we are supposed to have at every waking moment but don’t. We largely have the media and guerrilla marketing to thank for this feeling of missing out on something. We’re being sold that happiness is in the unhealthy ownership of another human being in the disguise of a relationship or the collection of another piece of garbage that was probably made in China at the hands of slave labor anyway. If all this was meant to make us happy, then why are we all not sipping piña coladas out of coconuts in Hawaii with not a single sign of stress to be found?

The pursuit of having more is not sustainable. It is no more sustainable nor healthy than fossil fuels, but that is for another article. Every person I have met who only pursued(s) material gain was not happy. They were/are all miserable.

Happiness is not some elusive cryptid that has yet to be discovered. Happiness can be found in this moment as you are reading these words. It all starts in appreciating what you have right now. Not what you will one day have, but what you have right in this moment. I know it’s an annoying concept, but it’s true nonetheless. We all feel happiest when we are grateful for everything we have and for everything we have learned. It doesn’t have to be big. It can be gratitude for a flower on the path of your stroll through nature, or that bird that swoops into your yard every morning to sing. Anything can be a blessing if you appreciate it enough.

The ailments of many people essentially begins with ingratitude for what they have. When we are feeling upset we are rejecting something—-we don’t accept something that has occurred. Alternatively, we feel happiest when we are feeling gratitude for something—we are accepting something. So, the next time you feel upset, instead of thinking about how much you hate your life and everything about it, try just taking a moment to reflect upon what gets you out of bed instead. Think of the things, lessons, and people whose presence have made your life more worthwhile, or further yet, find a way to appreciate the lesson a negative occurrence might be trying to teach you. Find a way to win either way. Don’t let loss be an option when you could be a winner no matter what happens. A valuable lesson can be found anywhere, and it won’t be easy, but a miserable state of existence does not have to be permanent. Don’t wait until it’s too late. You won’t be able to do anything when you’re on your deathbed.

One must also recognize that one is not a failure for not being deliriously happy at all times. That is nothing but an illusion. The only permanence is impermanence, and we humans were not meant to feel only happiness. We have a wide spectrum of emotions that we are meant to feel. If we were only meant to feel happiness then that would be the only emotion available to us. All of our emotions are there to be felt at one point or another. The key is balance, and one must be careful not to identify with these emotions because they are what we have not what we are. That’s why it is important to say “I feel…” Rather than “I am…”. Emotions are nothing more than reactions to the world around us. They become a problem when they take control such as in the case of depression, anxiety, anger issues, et cetera—all things that I have struggled with. Emotions are there for survival and learning. We cannot know light without darkness and vice versa. They are a tool of life rather than our identification. Your I.D. reads your name rather than your ruling emotions.

There will likely come a time when (if you live your life according to your spirit and authenticity) you will experience satisfaction with your life, and that is ultimately what everyone dreams of to some degree. What most don’t consider is the fact that once you reach that point of satisfaction that is ultimately when your life ends. That is when your contribution and life’s work has been completed. There is nothing more for you to give (besides charity and volunteer work at this point). At this stage many people will feel happiness or melancholy for not having anything else to do or feeling as if they have not done enough, but here again lies the problem of ingratitude for what they have already accomplished. Don’t rush yourself to the end. Take the time to savor life’s pleasures and even the sorrows one bite at a time rather than in one sitting because once it’s done, it is done. The day we are happy is the day our journeys have ended. Satisfaction is the last line of the last page contained within the story of your life. For one must recognize that happiness generally doesn’t exist in the world of the creator/artistry of anything, and if they have created anything while high on the drug of happiness, it is likely not beautiful enough to move a person. Inspiration comes form pain, not fortune, and that is precisely why pain is needed. Everything has a use, so please do not berate yourself for not being delusionally happy all the time. Simply create and appreciate.