The one question that perhaps gives us the most anxiety when we reflect on our lives is: “Why am I here?”
“What am I meant to do while I am here?
And the answer to that question some seem to know immediately. From their childhoods some know that they’re here to be: a doctor, a teacher, a visionary, or a leader, while others spend their entire lives trying to figure it out.
“I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”
And sometimes, the purpose of our lives isn’t to be a healer or a teacher but rather, to be a mother or a father – a role no less profound.
Sometimes our purpose isn’t revealed in our vocations or avocations but rather in a single, fleeting moment.
Sometimes the purpose of our life is to be in the right place at the right time to offer the right assistance or the right word…
Sometimes the purpose of our lives is to offer contrast to the lives of others. For, by being a contrast, we cast in stark relief the blessings of lives perhaps too little appreciated. Other times, we act as a foil meant to challenge another’s perceptions so that they may grow broader than they are. Purpose can take its form in a variety of ways, some “positive” – a teacher and some seemingly more “negative” – as an enemy, an ideological foe, or even still, an assailant.
One’s purpose, then it seems, isn’t always sunshine and roses but it is always important.
Consider this, if you believe in God, then you must acknowledge that all things are ordered according to God’s will. And what appears to us as a chaos of random, chance events is actually a carefully orchestrated, meticulously unfolding of the Cosmic Symphony. Each moment of dissonance a perfect complement to the soaring melody of the song of the Universe.
Therefore, to each moment, thing, event, word, and person, a divinely ascribed purpose.
Often we are told that it is beyond the capabilities of the human mind to glean God’s will. And if we’re talking specifics, perhaps that’s true. We cannot see how a single moment will ripple outward to affect the universe in ways we are wholly unaware of.
However, if we can broaden our perspective then we may see that in every instance, regardless of whether we are aware of it, what is true of all divinely ascribed purposes is that they exist to help -even those events we deem tragic (and we have had more than our fill of tragedy lately.)
For example, each instance of racism, bigotry, and gun violence, serves to further enlighten the public and thus, lays the foundations for a new consciousness to emerge. Though tragic, each terrible act helps to show us exactly what we do not want to be and thus, helps us grow beyond it.
In this way, each purpose aides the cosmic unfolding, sometimes in obvious ways. The first generation of stars exploded to create the raw materials necessary for the second generation of stars to form. And from the explosions of second generation of stars, solar systems like our own were created. Astronomy has now shown us that thousands of third generation stars have planets, many of which are perfectly positioned for water to exist. And where water exists, perhaps too, life. After all, if is true here, so it must be true elsewhere.
And in every case, from the grandest perspective, regardless of how our human ego’s judge whether a “thing” is good or bad, positive or negative, that “thing” which we judge always helps in some way. One purpose aids the next and so on and so forth.
The purpose of evil is to provide contrast to sanctity. The purpose of darkness is to provide contrast for light. The purpose of death is to provide contrast for life. For without one, the other would have no meaning.
Apart from the Grand Perspective, a thing can appear to have a multitude of purposes depending on the perspectives from which it is observed.
For example, a mosquito’s purpose might be to make more mosquitos. From a human perspective, the purpose of a mosquito might appear to simply be an annoyance but from the bat’s perspective, the purpose of the mosquito is to be a nourishing food.
And from each perspective, how it helps can be gleaned if one looks: for example, to a human, the mosquito provides contrast so that we can better enjoy those times when they aren’t trying to eat us alive. And without them, there would be fewer bats, who do so much good for our planet.
In our lives, each purpose helps the cosmic unfolding simply, yet profoundly, so that our souls may grow, or be encouraged, or build, or learn, or heal, or be inspired… … …
The thought may make you uncomfortable. “How could I be so important?”
Let me be clear here. In a very real way, you are the center of the Universe and the whole of it revolves around you. Case in point: Look as far as you can in every direction and there you are, standing in the center of it of it all and it all exists to foster your growth.
How can that be true if there are 7.7 billion of us? I assure you, there is more than enough universe for each of us but more importantly, we are each of us a Universe unto ourselves passing by and through one another, interacting, to various degrees, with one another – from a stranger’s casual smile, to the lover, friend, family member, down to our antagonists – they each help us grow bigger and better than we were before – if we but surrender to it.
And even the tiniest moments of our lives also has a purpose. It may be that we each have one grand purpose or destiny but every moment is filled with divine purpose, and exists to bring that destiny to fruition regardless of whether or not we acknowledge it.
So, I challenge you to ask yourself the next time something happens to you to try to glean it’s purpose in your life by asking not, “Why did this happen to me?” but rather, “Why did this happen FOR me?”
And in that question, you will discover it’s purpose in, and for your life. And rest assured that whatever it was, whether you judged it good or bad, ask it with the understanding that whatever it was that happened, happened only so that you could grow and thus your melody could be advanced in the cosmic symphony.
And if you have no idea as to what your purpose is, be nothing if not a help to others and know that even as you serve, so too is your song made all the more beautiful.
Om, Baby. Om!