Monday, July 6, 2015
Purpose and Joy
Our true purpose in life is not a chore, it is our greatest joy. It can also be the one thing that we hold dearest in our hearts and it might just be our greatest challenge as well. If we don't do it, our lives feel lost. If we do, it brings to us our heart's desire. Joseph Campbell said we must, "Follow our bliss." And Peace Pilgrim said that we must each, "Find our calling."
Peace further advised that if we don't already know our calling, we can seek it in reflective silence. She said we need to, "Do all of the good things that you are motivated to do, even if they are only little good things, and to give these first priority in our day over all of the ordinary and mundane things that customarily clutter our human lives." And it's true, so often we give all of our good energy of the day to the things that matter very little in the long run, saving what little is left at the end of the day, for our inspirations, when we are dog tired and ready for bed.
Bronnie Ware, an Australian Nurse who worked in palliative care with the dying found that among her patients the number one death bed regret was, "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, rather than the life that others expected of me." Our loved ones care for us; they love us; they want to keep us around and keep us safe. Though well intentioned, they don't want us to take risks and they speak up if we do. Ram Dass tells a funny story about his parents. He said they made it very clear to him that he should: achieve, be responsible, be successful, bring pride to them, stay healthy, and if he accomplished all of that, then he should be happy as well. But this is not a recipe for an authentic life. This is a recipe for a life lived according to the plans of others.
Howard Thurman said, “Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” And when we ask, we engage the great spiritual law of asking and receiving. This will then guide us into our truest life well lived.
Following our heart's desire is like a love letter of gratitude to the Universe for our lives. I've heard it said that the foundation of our spirituality is to be appreciative of the gift of life. To have fun. To play. To laugh. To see our lives as a piece of God." So, I like to say, "Stay in your joy!" It is the surest compass there is for a life well lived.
© Josephine Laing, 2015