Different Perspective on Life’s Purpose
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves”. – Alan Watts
I found myself in a completely different life than what I had imagined for myself. Everyone has their own destination to reach and they choose their paths in accordance. However, there was no way of knowing if we would actually love what we are chasing after when we have found it or if the chosen paths have unexpected bends around the corner that are meant to take us away from our destination. Both proved to be true in my case.
How could I, after all, predict the national crisis that would snatch away my dream job before I had the chance to have it? How would I know that the strong self-esteem, I prided on for years, was meant to be sacrificed in saving the love story I never contemplated to be in? The truth is that I never kept space in my plans for these unfortunate events- because the future is unforeseeable- and when they came to me in unrelenting waves I lost my direction.
Along the way, it occurred to me that some losses were irreplaceable. Whether or not I wanted my life to go on without a purpose, it did go on. I heard the phrase, “Time and tide wait for none” numerous times, but never thought that it would sound so harsh when put against the loss of direction that I was faced with. It dawned on me, with every passing day, how little control I had over my life despite how shrewdly I planned for it. And that understanding proved to be a great resource in seeing the purpose of life in a new light: one that does not require any direction.
A deeper level of understanding of the purpose of life requires one to step out of the self-centered belief that life is a ladder, the steps being a series of obstacles that a person is bound to overcome, to reach a certain destination and succeed in life.
Imagine that you climbed half the length of your ladder or- even worse- you almost reached your destination, and death seized you by the neck. Or perhaps, the meaning and value you attached to a certain achievement began to disintegrate in the face of changing times.
Some people don’t even find a ladder, instead, they spend their lives in the pursuit of directions. It has become rather trendy for people to search for the work they love in order to insert meaning into their lives.
Why does one profession or one achievement has to define the purpose of someone’s life and why is pushing through obstacles the only way to live it? This way of life creates nothing but frustration in the end when things- inevitably-do not go as planned.
While personal development should be encouraged, the truth remains that there is no one to fall behind of and every idea of this sort leads to disillusionment and suffering. How should you, then, rescue yourself from this circle of dissatisfaction?
The presence of the ego is the testament to your insecurities and the fear of being attacked. Whatever the purpose may be of entertaining the self-serving part of yourself, the result is an obvious one: it keeps you away from reality and thus, unprepared to face the unfortunate turn of events.
No one has said it better than Carl Sagan while pointing towards a picture of Earth floating in the Space, “Our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light”.
The idea is to let go of the ego and view yourself as the fabrication of existence: the universe experiencing itself through you. There is no train to catch and no destination to reach.