Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Utter Satisfaction of Purpose

Like a lot of my mid-century friends, I have become obsessed with Purpose. I feel an ever growing urge to know why am I here? What am I here to achieve or accomplish? I suppose it arises out of that fear of not getting it all done, like not checking everything off my list by the end of the day. I know THAT never happens, so what if I get to the end of this life and I have not checked off “Achieve my Purpose for Being Here”?  It's becoming a more pressing question as my fiftieth birthday approaches. 

In talking with a friend recently about Purpose, she said, “what if it isn’t something to be done? What if it is something like ‘Love Unconditionally’?” Her answer hit me like a cold glass of water in the face, and I thought, “how unsatisfying!” I realize I have been thinking of Purpose as something to DO, as if, one day, the voice from the burning bush would call out to me and say, “Hey, Cheryl, go build an orphanage for hurricane refugees!” Ever so grateful for this revelation of my Purpose, I would rush off to make plans, line up donors, and enroll students. Once the doors opened, I would breathe a sigh of relief and cross Purpose off my list. And maybe get a gold star and a few pats on the back for a job well done. Now that’s satisfying.

Then again, how could Purpose be something so short-lived? What would be the sense of having this life-long craving to know “for what purpose am I here?” if it could be summed up in a ten-page business plan? For that matter, what would even be the point of LIVING after that orphanage was built, once the Purpose was achieved? Would I just ascend into the Ever-After at that moment, to bask in the glow of Purpose Achieved?

So I am grudgingly considering what is perhaps the obvious, though mentally unsatisfying, Truth: Purpose is a way of Be-ing, not something to be done. A knowing of Oneness, of the I AM presence, of unconditional Love. No big finish, no grand finale, no gold stars. Just the deep and utter satisfaction of having lived each moment in peace and harmoney, which is, come to think of it, utterly satisfying.

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