As we grew older we became more and more conscious of our own self-image we experienced pain, rejection, fear, guilt and we became confined by the structural believes fashioned by society and media, our environment, inherited family believes, religion, race and culture and even our gender, limited our vocabulary of reality about who we are and what we are capable of doing or becoming.
We learned that we can be rejected by others as they can have cruel judgments and comments about us. Some of us were bullied by school mates and pressured by peers, suddenly having an imaginary friend was out of question, judged and frowned upon. Soon enough we learned that beside physical pain there was a longer lasting pain called emotional pain. It affected our mind and body and it took over the entire meaning of the experience we had and left its painful footprint in our lives sometimes for not only days, weeks, months but even for years. To avoid that horrible pain, we accepted to sit in a certain way, speak a preferred language, pray to a specific God, behave in a certain manor only to be accepted and confirmed by our family, friends and society also in order to be called normal or cool. In other words, we had to forget about the passion and drive, the imagination and the excitement, sense of adventure and risk. We learned to play safe to be quite to keep our thoughts to ourselves. We were no longer doing things for the joy of doing them but for acceptance of others. we didn’t do things just to feel happy but did things to make others happy, we started to have limited believes about ourselves, ones which stopped us from being adventures or courageous not only then but also later in life.
Have you noticed in order for you to be accepted by your family, friends and society what passion or fun activity you have left behind? things you loved doing, in fact you would have lost sense of space and time while you were busy doing them. Be it climbing, running, swimming, daydreaming, drawing, writing, dancing, singing, leading, and so on. Think for a moment and remind yourself of that, something that you are no longer exercising in your very practical, logical daily life.
I supposed somewhere in our personal and social development we learned to allow fear and guilt the two very predominant emotions attached to the past or future, to direct and to drive us, for us to run away from pain or rejection towards the pleasure or acceptance, however short lived that pleasure was.
Once we entered the society as an adult we further limited ourselves by taking on many responsibilities personal or financial, such as committing ourselves to furthering education, marriage, rent/ mortgage, parenthood, insurance, medical aide, car, various instalments and so on. Somewhere down the line in life we learned to leave that very important part of us behind and to start living in half since the modern society was encouraging us to do so. To focus only on the material world, after all success in modern society is measured mostly by the jobs we have, money we earn, cars we drive, houses we live in, clothes we wear and possessions we accumulate. We started denying our natural drive for having joyful passionate and fulfilling experiences, the ones that allowed our spirit to expand and to connect with other human beings, animal and nature. Connections from a place of a compassionate heart and a spiritual source. We did not know once we functioned from this superficial self the one we created to make others happy and not an authentic-self, we were becoming a magnet for physical, mental, emotional and psychological ailments. That we were going to constantly function from a place of lack and need, remain sad, depressed, angry and empty, exhausted and scattered.
Under such pressures there is no time to dream or to thrive, but greater need to survive. In order to scape our robotic life many retreat to alcohol abuse, drugs abuse, sex, antidepressants or other unhealthy patterns of behaviours such as becoming a workaholic, sport maniac and display obsessive compulsive behaviours in various forms, also other physiological disease and illnesses such auto immune disease, heart disease and cancer starts to surface. Remember such unhealthy patterns of behaviour are only distractions and distractions are not resolving issues nor they add anything of value to the meaning of our lives but more pain and frustration. These activities are only distracting us from facing a deeper pain or fear, such as fear of loneliness, fear of abandonment, failure in business, unemployment, fear of being broke, fear of not being good enough, not being beautiful enough, not being smart enough. Once we become addicted to distractions, of course there will be no other results than receiving what we fear most, we stay depressed, ill, sad, angry, cruel, mean, hateful, shallow, empty, exhausted, consumed by blame, guilt and regret, just because we are simply blocking life’s natural energy flow.
In Living such a life soon what is left of us is this programmed robot who is running on an automatic pilot working long hours, day in and day out to meet months’ end, then regardless of material accumulation, instead of living we start existing and instead of being a human being we become a human doing. the more we become left brain dominated we heighten the chance of being imbalanced, we forget about dreaming, imagining, expanding, growing, playfulness, peacefulness, music, dance, writing and all the other juicy activities. Positive, meaningful activities allow the flow of natural joyous energy of life throughout the entire body, releases happy hormones such as dopamine, endorphin and oxytocin which enhances our mental and emotional functioning and also improve our immune system, physiology, hence balancing the entire functionality of body, mind, soul system called human being. We can think better, be more present and live the moment, we can solve problems easier and faster, be more, receptive and perceptive. Living fully also helps us to recognise our unique spiritual blueprint we call gift or talent. We must learn and teach our children too that it is important to connect to the unseen world of mind and spirit as it is the very essence of our existence and fundamental force behind the manifestation of entire material world.
The bottom line is in order to live a purposeful life we need to identify what is the driving force behind our daily decision makings and actions. Is it the need for survival? Is it fear? Is it approval of others? Are we driven by guilt? Or are we driven by the sense of adventure? Service? Contribution? Joy? Peace? Humanity? Faith?
purposeful life to me is a natural way of living as we have all been designed to do so, discovering our strength and weaknesses but not to being defined by either of them. Purposeful life is to experience both pain and pleasure and to learn from them. To accept we are not in control of many events outside of us such as loss, be it loss of a job, loss of a partner, loss of a loved one, loss of a business and so on but we are in control of the meaning we give to these experiences. We can give horrible meanings to these experiences and stay in guilt, blame or fear for a long time or we can accept the fact and to move on in hope for creating a better moment in life.
To know our purpose as human being here on earth, to evolve and to expand the horizons of our mind to challenge our limited believes to experience freedom of dreaming and to dream big, to take risk and to take even bigger actions despite others disapprovals and to raise again after falling. To have faith and trust big enough to try again and again after every failure until we succeed. Purposeful life is to be brave enough to go beyond our set social expectations, to tear the mask of fear, guilt and blame. To learn and to grow in all aspects of life, to understand EQ (emotional quotient), SQ (spiritual quotient) are as important as the IQ (intelligence quotient). Purposeful life is to live a wholesome life as we deserve to have. Many people despite their social and economic shortcomings have achieved greatness and climbed mountains of success like Oprah Winfrey who was born in poverty, raped at early age and gave birth at age 14 but her life of legacy has touched hearts and minds of millions and she is one of the most successful people on earth, many despite their physical disabilities achieved what many healthy people don’t even dare to try such as Bethany Hamilton who had her arm bitten off by a shark or Born without arms or legs, Nick Vujicic who is a painter, swimmer, skydiver, and motivational speaker. many people have broken world records and achieved Olympic gold medals, many succeeded creating multi million dollars’ companies having minimum recourses like Bill Gate and Some made through years of suffering and made great leaders such as our belated legendary leader Nelson Mandela.
How? They developed characteristics in themselves that brought forth the best in them. They dreamed big and took even bigger risks and actions. They didn’t give up trying. despite what others, media and society dedicated, they knew who they are and what they want from life. they lived to learn to experience, to create, to grow to expand to inspire, to lead, to fall, to fail only to raise again times after time, they were not afraid to break and to mend to feel and to heal and most of all to live fully and somewhere in the process they became free from the superficial chains of modern society they managed to find their own deeply rooted gift, talent, peace, freedom, commitment, strength and non the less they became the very expression of the divine god-self on earth.
However having a purposeful life doesn’t necessarily mean for us to be the most successful, most famous, the most good looking or the prettiest, the richest, the strongest or the wisest , it simply means to be who we truly meant to be, to search deep within to find our talents and gifts untapped, maybe we need to revisit our childhood, teenage years and to remind ourselves of our love, something that we did with total passion, maybe we can look at our present moment and see what’s the best that we can do now to improve the situation, to share your wisdom and knowledge gained by our mistakes and failures of past or success and achievements gained till now. To be an example by way of living and not just talking. To acknowledge our strength and weaknesses to build on our strength and to work on our weaknesses to allow our gained experience to serve the self and others, whatever that may be.
After all we are human and have to experience a full spectrum of events and challenges, in order to evolve. For us to grow and to expand we must be daring to take risk to allow ourselves to fall and yet be resilient enough to rise and to start all over again.
For many who practice a simple life style living a purposeful life is to greet the sun in the morning with smile and gratitude, to breath appreciating the health, to live another day, to have a chance to be compassionate towards self and others, to have food to eat, bed to sleep, roof over the head, to have peace of mind , a job, the ability to serve self, others, animals and nature, to acknowledge a simple yet vital role that each and every one is playing in their lives and life’s magical play, to have gratitude for being a father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, friend and neighbour, student or teacher. Purposeful living is simply to live in the moment and take conscious choices from an empowered place of love and not from a place of powerlessness.
One thing for sure Living our lives to the best of our ability and fully everyday definitely will help us to master the art of living a wholesome life. if each and every one of us live in a state of contentment and harmony with ourselves and the environment we maximise our potential of being a better human being and not a human doing, we will be serving and in return we will be served and more likely in such situations we will be functioning from a place of an authentic self which is balanced, calm, wholesome, kind, giving, abundant, happy, peaceful and most of all fulfilled.
A purposeful living is simply to accept the gift of life as it has been given to us regardless of our country, race, religion, gender, age, circumstances and so on. To understand that there’s a reason behind each and every situation. To trust that we are a piece in a puzzle or a piece in a bigger picture. We may not understand our role now, doesn’t matter from which angle we look at it but when the pieces come together and in time the bigger picture will be revealed and hopefully then we won’t look at it with regret but with pride.
In order to live a purposeful life, it is vital to recognise our role, to see ourselves not separate from others but connected to all and a part of this magnificent and mysteries organism called life.