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in Personal Reflections

Love and Purpose

What’s the ultimate purpose of life? When you strip away everything, what’s left?

I looked up from my laptop and stared out the window to watch the final five minutes of the sun set over the city of Boston. As often happens, questions began popping into my head. What did it all mean? The sun, the Earth, the beautiful colors in the sky. What was the point of all this?

There has always been a piece of me that felt my purpose for being here on Earth was not going to involve starting a family, but suddenly I found myself wondering if that was really the case. I started imagining what it would be like to get married and have kids.

Was my stubborn persistence and vow to always follow my heart causing me to miss out on something really important? Was starting a family part of the purpose for existence? Will my life have been worth living if I don’t make procreation a priority?

After the last sliver of orange disappeared over the horizon, I returned to my laptop and posed the question on Twitter and Facebook: What’s the ultimate purpose of life?

I received several responses but two of them really resonated with me:

We each discover and give purpose to our own lives; ultimately, I think it’s about striving to realize our highest potential… to become all that we are capable of becoming. The same is true of all life… from humans to flowers. All have tremendous potential. – Adrienne Jurado

To be human means to strive to reach our full potential. It means never accepting the status quo or being satisfied with “good enough”. If something doesn’t work, we’re not supposed to give up.

To be human means to make impossibility synonymous with challenge.

Our human existence gives us incredible potential. We’re capable of creating amazing works of art and literature, constructing cities that house millions of people, and building spaceships to transport ourselves to other planets.

We study our bodies and learn how to rebuild limbs, study our brains and devise ways of learning faster, and push the boundaries of our mental and physical limitations. We’re even capable of recreating reality and extending our world into a dimension that ensures our continued development.

When our desire for connection outgrew our capacity to communicate, we built machines that enabled us to instantaneously share our thoughts with other humans thousands of miles away.

But there must be something more to our existence than solving problems and reshaping our world, right?

There must be something that makes us willing to sweat and endure pain, to deal with hardship and difficulty, to persevere and live on even in the face of inevitable death.

What is that?

To love and be loved. When this life is over what will have mattered about your life is what other lives you touched, who did you love, who loved you. We show love when we walk in empathy toward others. It’s easy to have a love walk in your own culture, [but] can you show love in foreign environments or to people not of your ‘tribe’? That is our goal [and] it’s what defines and refines us. – Gena and Jeff Smith

When I think about family, I think about everyone on this planet. When I see a photo of a child begging, I feel a sense of responsibility to ensure that child gets fed. When I see the environment being destroyed by excessive consumption, I feel a responsibility to set an example for a more sustainable lifestyle.

I know my purpose for being here is to fulfill that sense of responsibility and I feel a deep connection to this planet and all the life that exists on it.

Adrienne and Gena helped define what life and love mean to me: The act of giving purpose to our own lives and then walking in empathy towards others with open arms and open hearts, ready to give and serve selflessly without expectation.

If I spend the rest of my life striving to realize my full potential, in pursuit of a vision that I cannot live to see fully realized, will my life have been worth living? I believe the answer is yes, because it would’ve been a life rooted in love and love is enough.

***

I want to dedicate this post to all the incredible souls with whom I have connected over the past twelve months. There are hundreds of you who have emailed and left comments and thousands more who take the time to read. I feel loved by every single one of you.

When I started writing on this blog almost a decade ago, it was for the sole purpose of having a creative outlet. I had no idea what an amazing part of my life this space would become and how many relationships and connections would be born here.

Thank you for being part of my life. If we haven’t connected yet, leave a comment below and introduce yourself or send me a message and just say hello. I would love to hear from you.

This post is part of the Love Sparks Blogging Festival, an event organized by my friend Jasmine Lamb from All Is Listening.

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52 Comments

  1. hmm…the more I try to get in touch with myself, the more I realize that I’m just a hater haha. I think there’s many purposes to life, and it doesn’t have to consist of love. I think we place too much emphasis on social connections, when other connections could indeed bring as much purpose to your life, in may different ways. I guess my purpose in life is to just let myself LIVE. Simple…and I guess there are many ways to do this…and I cringe at the word “love” …what exactly is it? And how come it’s used so loosely? I guess I’ve always believed that every action has a selfish desire, and so I don’t see how love can be produced from this….maybe this is just a reflection of myself so I can’t see past this.

    • Hi Natalie,

      I agree that love is a powerful word and that it’s often thrown around as if it has no weight. I very, very rarely use the word in person because it means something sacred to me, something that cannot even be described with words and shouldn’t be thrown around.

      However, I think there is also something that binds us all together. Something that connects us and makes us human. Something that causes us to feel empathy towards total strangers. For lack of a better word, I use love to describe that “thing”.

      When you’re passionate about travel, you’re expressing love towards it. When you’re passionate about life, you’re expressing a love for life. In the same way, I feel that we need to recognize and embrace the love for humanity (and the love for life) that exists within each of us. By ignoring those things and focusing only on ourselves and the next simple pleasure, we end up making choices that harm others (and in the end, harm ourselves, since we’re all part of the same thing).

      I agree that we sometimes place too much emphasis on social connections. For some of us, other connections can and do bring more meaning to our lives. Spending days alone in a forest connecting with nature, for example, feels more purposeful to me than spending one hour in a social setting meeting strangers. I don’t think that means social connections have no meaning for me… I think it just means that I process energy differently than someone who loves talking to strangers.

  2. I think too often, especially in this culture, “love” is relegated to partners and parents, as if single, child-free people do not experience love, or at least on the same level as others. I happen to be married and a parent, but am convinced of my own capacity to give and receive love outside of and regardless of those labels. You learn something unique from every tiny bit of love you give or take, whether it’s the few hours you spend listening to a homeless man in Glasgow after giving him some money, or cleaning barf off your trembling kid in the middle of the night.

    • Beautifully said! You make such a wonderful point about love teaching us from so many different angles and expanding our capacity to give and receive. Thinking back to my six month trip through India, Vietnam, and Nepal last year, a trip that truly changed the course of my life, I see now that what changed me was the exposure to so many people who had nothing and yet still loved life. Their love indirectly increased my capacity for love to the point where I suddenly felt compelled to spend the rest of my life pursuing a vision where inequality did not exist.

      • In the reply to Natalie you’ve articulated the purpose of life.

        I think there is also something that binds us all together. Something that connects us and makes us human. Something that causes us to feel empathy towards total strangers. For lack of a better word, I use love to describe that “thing”.

        The purpose of life is to find that “thing”. It will be revealed through connections in the humanity.

        Natalie said “that every action has a selfish desire, and so I don’t see how love can be produced from this”.

        The “thing” you’re looking for should be selfless with the desire to love others without wanting anything in return.

        There is no selfless love in our world, so this is a mission impossible. Yet, it’s the purpose of life.

        • Mission impossible as the purpose for life… I love that! And I think that makes sense. The purpose isn’t to accomplish something great, but rather to experience. You can’t complete an impossible mission, but you can certainly learn to make the most of the experience!

  3. Raam, Wow! What is the ultimate purpose of life? I’m still striving for understanding about that. You’re like a man standing on top of a mountain and calling out to anyone who will hear him. Can anyone tell me why I was born, what is my purpose? I found an article(a bit lengthy) but it’s all about the question you asked and I think it does a better job of answering your question than I could. I hope that it answers your question. Let me know what you think. John

    The Ultimate Purpose

    • Hi John,

      I replaced the text in your comment with a link directly to the article. I felt posting the entire article here in the comments was a bit too long — I hope you don’t mind!

      That story is absolutely incredible. I especially liked the description of laying on the grass looking up at night sky and feeling as though Earth was clinging onto him. I have had similar thoughts looking up at the stars… getting a sense of just how tiny me and this Earth actually are in the universe. What an incredibly humbling feeling!

      I need to reread it so that I can soak in more of the lessons. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Raam,
    Happy Valentine’s Day.
    I loved this post. You have something special to do on this planet. Don’t think too much about it just follow your heart and you’ll get to where you’re supposed to be.

    • Happy Valentine’s Day, Angela!

      I think we all have something special to do on this planet and that we can all realize it through listening to, and following, our hearts. :)

  5. Hi Raam,

    This is my first comment here on your blog. I came across your blog through Always Well Within when Sandra linked to your article on Voting for Poverty. It’s not everyday that I come across such an article that leaves such a profound impact on me.

    Anyway, I believe that we create our own purpose and meaning here in life. It could be some work that only our unique talents and abilities can fulfil. Or it could be protecting and providing for the people we love. In this, my thoughts have been largely shaped by Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. But when I compare what he suggests against my own experiences, I find that our conclusions are the same. To have meaning and purpose in life, we have to live for a greater goal than ourselves. Living for ourselves is very unfulfilling. But if we live for the sake of our loved ones or to better the world through our unique efforts, then life becomes more fulfilling that way. It is with the motivation that we will have the will to unleash our fullest potential.

    And as you rightly point out, even if we do not realize our vision in our lifetime, we will never regret the effort we put into achieving our purpose. This is especially so if it is rooted in love.

    Thank you for sharing this article! :)

    Irving the Vizier

    • Hi Irving, and welcome!

      Reading your comment made me realize why we need to aim for something greater than ourselves: Our physical bodies are impermanent. If we live for things that involve only our body or if we only think about what’s achievable in our lifetime, we will never stretch our human potential. As you said, we need to live for a greater purpose, one that goes beyond ourselves and our measly existence. Instead of thinking about what’s possible in 80 years, why not think about what’s possible in 500 years? 1000 years?

      And that’s the thing about love: It doesn’t die. It doesn’t get old. It cannot be destroyed or maimed. If we live for love, we live forever.

  6. Raam,

    What a gorgeous exploration of the purpose of life and deeply inspiring conclusion.

    “The act of giving purpose to our own lives and then walking in empathy towards others with open arms and open hearts, ready to give and serve selflessly without expectation.”

    If we see the whole world as our children ~ as a part of us ~ there’s no need to have one’s “own” children. We could never own them anyway!

    I can’t believe you have been blogging for 10 years. That’s incredible. I’m so happy to have connected to you and to be a part of your life. Happy Valentine’s Day.

    • Happy Valentine’s Day, Sandra!

      What you said about the world’s children being our own, that’s exactly the way I feel. I don’t feel a lacking for family, connection, or love — I feel an abundance of it (and a sense of duty to do my part in taking care of them and our home, the Earth)!

      Anyway, I’m following my heart and enjoying the journey. Life is so full of surprises and having no expectations is a wonderful way to live! :)

  7. Raam, for a minute I thought you were going to announce that you are getting married ;)!
    Great articulation of love and purpose on earth. I know that our purpose is way beyond reproduction and leaving a genetic trace behind. Your way of living leaves a much better and more long-term impact and I would not want to see you change that.
    Thank you for a lovely post, and of course you are among the many who have touched me deeply in the last year. Happy Valentine’s Day, my dear friend. Valentines is mostly for friends, if you ask me :)!

  8. Raam,
    Jeff and I were so touched and humbled to find our simple, heartfelt words inspired you. The power of love extended across cultural borders and socioeconomic boundaries trumps lack with its giving and hate with its humility. You are one of the few we’ve come to know that will live that message out and the greater context of your life will be found in the lives you inspire to reach out of their comfort zones to touch other’s lives. Personally we hope your life plan will ultimately include a love of your own and children as you will impart to them the seeds of love and compassion; what could be more sustainable than that? Ongoing generations with motive to make a difference. Of course there are no guarantees and it’s a risk to take that path, but love also risks! Mahalo for sharing Aloha!

    • Hi Gena,

      You and Jeff are a growing source of inspiration for me and I look up to you with great respect. I’m so grateful that we’re able to connect with each other over great distances and share ideas, stories, love, and inspiration! I look forward to meeting in person one of these days. Aloha!

  9. It’s hard to truly say because so much of life is subjective to the person living it.

    For example: I’d absolutely love to just slip away and hop from music festival to music festival.

    I always get the comment that that’s not truly living but who are they to say that it doesn’t fulfill a very important part of my own being: music, connection & mental freedom.

    I do want to help others to the best of my ability, don’t get me wrong.

    For as much people tell others how to live free, they’re often the first to say how not to live it when you speak your mind.

    Raam, I think you’re doing an amazing job at making an impact even if you feel at times that what you’re doing doesn’t seem like “what’s expected of you”.

    Having children, getting married, etc etc. It’s the dream of others – it may not be yours. It may not be mine. It may not be others that come to this blog.

    We’ve been given this opportunity to craft the life we want and despite our actions (good or bad), it’s astonishing that we have the ability to do so.

    I think of all the infinite improbableness that I wouldn’t be here today; the sheer magnitude of randomness of how I got here – I don’t want others to mold my life – it’s my own.

    So in all, it’s how we make it. It’s finding our own selves; not the image set before us by others.

    • Hi Murray,

      I struggle all the time with that sense of selfishness for following my interests, interests that appear to benefit nobody but myself. However, I feel the key is in balancing the two: We should immerse ourselves in those things that drive us (for you it’s probably music festivals, for me it’s travel, technology, fitness, and nature), but we should also turn around and spend a portion of our time contributing back to the world (perhaps you’d become a leading voice on how music creates social connections and why music festivals are an important part of culture).

      If we follow our passions, no matter how individualistic they may be, but also aim to share and contribute back to the planetary community, then we will always end up doing good. Contributing back to the planetary community can mean so many things, but it all comes down to one thing: Love. If we love the planet and the people who inhabit it, then we will feel compelled and enthusiastic to share what we know and experience. We will want to use our new skills and experiences to give back.

      Think about children: No matter how trivial a discovery or how little use it will be to adults, children get excited and want to share those discoveries with everybody around them. They don’t care if there’s nothing in the sharing for them… it just makes sense to share the experience… to share the passion.

      • Wonderful words Raam.

        I never really gave it that hard of a thought when it came to music because, in my mind, music is one of those things that pull people together from all walks of life.

        At these music festivals, you share so much culture because it they often draw others from around the world. I love being able to connect with others there and everyone leaves a bit wiser through this cultural interaction.

        Perhaps this same sense of connection can be taken beyond the festival environment and become supplanted into our society as a whole.

        Many of the festivals I go to also are connected with charities. Part of the proceeds do go toward groups that help with things like providing clean water and education which is really cool so maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself by thinking that I’m simply “wasting life” by going.

        Some pretty strong things to think about, thanks Raam :)

  10. Dear Raam,

    I was so grateful that you posed this question, because it really got me thinking as well, and I’m even happier that you now explained what prompted it! That is just one of the many things that is so awesome about you…it’s not like you were just throwing a question out there to get other people thinking, or just for something to do. Everything you do and write comes from a much deeper place within you, because you are truly contemplating and striving to connect with the world. (I’m so with you there!!)

    I was surprised at how quickly my response came to mind when you asked the question…It was something I hadn’t quite articulated up to that point, but there it was inside me, just waiting for someone to draw it out! It’s so incredible that you chose to put these two thoughts together…you’re absolutely right! Reading my words again, I feel how well they still resonate deep within me, but there’s definitely an important element missing…love. Thank you so much for making and sharing this connection!

    It always amazes me how much I resonate with your writing, your way of thinking, and your desire to be and contribute more. After nearly everything you write, I find myself thinking, “Yes, that’s exactly it! I so feel the same way!” However, you’re much better at articulating your thoughts than I am! You are able to write in a way that truly connects and resonates with so many people. I know it’s a gift of yours, but I have to hope its from years of practice as well…because I hope to be able to do the same with my writing. ;)

    This past weekend, a friend and I met to have coffee, catch up, and just share our theories and ideas about the world, because that’s what we really love to do when we get together. Our brief coffee chat turned into a nearly 5 hour conversation. I’m telling you this because there are so many things we discussed that I think would really resonate with you too, and that I would love to get your take on. One of these days, we really need to get together to share ideas over some coffee (cus it’s one of my favorite things to do)…whether in Boston, India, or who knows where, it’s got to happen! :)

    Beautiful, lovely words shared here…so appropriate for today! Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

    • Hi Adrienne,

      Like you, I have always felt this strong urge to strive for my highest potential. But at the same time, I question what I will do with all that potential. If I learn lots of science, invent new machines, learn how to create communities through a digital medium, and travel all over the world learning about new places and new cultures, what will be the point of it all?

      I think that line of thought stems from a constant awareness of my own mortality. I’ve been asking the question, “What’s the point of life if we all die?”, since I was five years old. And I still can’t shake it. I’m going to be gone. This thing that everybody knows as me will be gone. I will no longer exist in this form and everything I’ve done, everything I’ve created, everything I’ve learned, all of it will disappear into time.

      So what’s the point of striving for my highest potential?

      Then I realize that I may die, but life will continue. A five year old somewhere in the world is asking the same question I did when I was his age, and he will still be alive after I’m gone. And so the cycle continues. Change, the universal constant, ensures that while things come and go, there is always a reason to live right now.

      And that’s the train of thought that leads me back to feeling that the purpose of life is twofold, to strive for our highest potential and to give that back to the world, and the people, that will be here after we’re long gone.

      It’s really incredible that you and Gena just so happened to reply to my original question with answers that helped me combine those two trains of thought so nicely. That’s the beauty and the power of the Internet. :)

  11. Wow, what a declaration of love! Human potential is really the most beautiful thing & the reason I do the work I do… though I do believe your explicit linking of that to love and our spirits…just connected some dots for me.

    It’s been a total pleasure interacting with you via our blogs + Twitter lately. Your integrity and genuine love for people comes across in a rare way, even through the web!

    • Writing this post really helped me connect those dots, too! I started this post by pasting ALL the responses I received to that question, but as I read them over and over, I noticed those two seemed to really bridge a gap.

      It has been really great to find you recently — your blog is so full of revolutionary passion! :)

  12. I believe that purpose in life is different for each person, and that it is a different purpose at different times for each person.

    Sounds like a tongue twister.

    What I mean is that every moment in life is important.
    I have a daughter, so part of my purpose is to teach and encourage her each day- hopefully I will instill important values into her life, that will help her as she grows up.
    I have a partner, so part of my purpose is to love and support her each day, and to be there in happy and sad times.
    If someone needs a helping hand then my purpose is to offer them that help.
    If someone needs to vent their frustrations then my purpose might be to just listen at that moment. Or it might be to offer advice.

    If we are acting out of love for others, then we find purpose in every day and every moment.

    Thanks Raam for your articles that make me think more deeply about what matters most in life….

    • Beautifully said, David! Each moment is filled with unique opportunities that are available to each of us at that point in life and it’s our duty to fulfill the purpose of each moment to the best of our ability.

      Collectively, we also have opportunities that we are duty-bound to fulfill. For example, I believe those of us who are on “the cutting edge”, with access to enormous amounts of knowledge and communication power, have a duty to spend some time asking the question of how we can help those without that opportunity to have it.

      I believe those of us who have the opportunity to forgo killing animals for food have a duty to lead the way in that evolution, to preserve and protect life and the environment.

      And as you said, those of us who have the opportunity of creating family also have the duty to protect, love, and support them to the best of our ability.
      A love for life leads us to recognize a love for each other and for everything that supports our existence, which in turn leads to a sense of duty to protect and provide a means for sharing that opportunity with those who could genuinely benefit from it.

      • Raam,

        I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get to reading your beautiful post and the even more incredible conversation here in the comments.

        I sure loved your mom’s comment and so I wanted to jump into her thread! Isn’t thread a great word to illustrate how we are connected to one another?

        As I more and more live my life from my center my purpose seems to be less and less about specific achievements and more about presence in this moment. Can I be responsive and tuned in to the life around me?

        And then the question about children…life coming through us…love supporting life….grandchildren for our parents, parents for our kids. I don’t know if I’ll have children, but I’m more and more open to this unfolding or not unfolding as I listen to what is arising in the moment.

        Thanks for being part of the Love Sparks Festival. Means a lot to me…

        xo Jasmine

        • Hi Jasmine!

          Thank you so much for organizing the blogging festival and for inviting me to be part of it.

          I agree that we need to be responsive to the moment, fully aware and ready to take whatever the next step may be. I also believe that we each carve out our own purpose, partially through discovery and partially through our circumstances and prior experiences.

          Listening to life, as you noted, is so important to making the right choices. It’s when we resist (or even worse, ignore or remain oblivious) to what life is trying to say that we lose sight of where we’re going.

  13. Hi Raam,
    I love that your mom chimed in *grin*.
    And, I second Angela’s comment.
    My ultimate life purpose is to love. To allow my gifts to blossom and to share from my heart space. Genuine, free, pure love. As I evolve, I release barriers and access more flow, I accept my gifts and allow them to magnify, and I choose to love in new and different ways. It’s fresh, it’s exciting, it’s fun..and it’s my pleasure:)

    • Hi Joy!

      Releasing barriers is something I’ve been trying to do more and more of… especially mental barriers! It feels like life know exactly what we need and when we need it. We just need to get out of the way and let life flow, receiving each moment as a gift and being grateful for it.

  14. Raam,
    Thank you for allowing me to begin to know you. I, like so many others am on a never ending quest, always searching for purpose, or shall I say purposes.

    I traveled internationally last year (I am 53 years young, first time outside the US) 15 countries, 4 new and beautiful continents. I understand and can relate with your words, thank you for helping me clarify and come to terms with some of my own thoughts. “Homesick in a Strange and Privileged Land”

    I have one central purpose that is changeless; it is my contribution to Global Peace. We’re all connected in some unidentifiable way. Anything we do that antagonizes and frustrates another human being reduces oneness and creates separation. I use the following two thoughts all the time: “Be kind, and give up your need to be right” & “I can choose peace rather than this”. If this paragraph changes one person actions, even one time… :o)

    I am being very thoughtful about using your sacred word, so I use it from the core of my spirit: I love being of service and being a source of inspiration to other human beings. This is another purpose of mine. When I receive notes or words like these, my heart sings:
    “Your trip really inspired me to get started on everything I’ve been doing for the last year…sometimes I think about where I am and what’s been happening for the last 12 months and I remember having that conversation with you while we were hiking in the Domelands. That’s when I really decided I had to go for it. I’m now well into the career change and am in month five of doing international volunteer work; it’s been a great move.”

    It is a pleasure sharing this planet with you.

    • Allan,

      Thank you for sharing your story and for connecting here.

      I love these two thoughts: “Be kind, and give up your need to be right” & “I can choose peace rather than this”. Both of those requires so much humility and I think it’s in humility that we find real peace.

  15. Two things popped out at me as I read your post. First, I liked seeing your possible interest in having children. I didn’t place that as a priority in my life until fairly recently because I was busy pursuing hobbies, traveling, finding my niche work-wise, etc., until one day I found out I was pregnant when I was 33. (Actually, it was a very welcome surprise). I am SO GLAD I had children. They constantly make you evaluate your actions and beliefs. They show you a view of the world that is so pure, so sweet. And the love you feel for your children is truly like no other. I am so appreciative of the opportunity to feel that kind of love in this short life.
    However, recognizing that we are all brothers and sisters gives us the power to love other people and other people’s children, too.
    Also, the part about one’s potential– each of us needs to find what that unique spark is that we can give to others and then find ways to live and work so that we share that potential, that gift to humanity.
    Your post reminds me to be more open to others and to share what I can with them. It’s easy for me to live in a vacuum of my own busy-ness aqd to forget about my life’s larger purpose on this planet. Thank you!

    • Jenna, thank you for sharing your thoughts on children here. It’s such an important topic and one that I find doesn’t get discussed enough!

      I’m also in total agreement that we each need to find our own spark and reach for our greatest potential. It will be different and unique for each individual, but that’s what makes life so beautiful. Our uniqueness allows us to give back to the world like nobody else can and contribute something to the world that nobody else has.

  16. Love is purpose, and the purpose is love.
    Believe it or not I thought of these words as I began ironing my son’s jumper early this morning. They have stuck with me throughout the day and so I’ve googled the words to see if similar utterances have been made in online discourse. Hence finding this blog.

    Those words may seem a little simplistic in describing our human existence. But to me they get to the crux of everything we live for – whether in work, sport or human relationships. I feel this is especailly true for adults as we reach a time of questioning and limbo in our lives. For children and young adults these thoughts of Love and Purpose don’t have the same relevance as their dreams and aspirations are still alive and to be sought out. As we all get on years it is that which we love which drives us and provides with purpose in what can be a soul sapping existence with no easy answers.

    I will ponder further no doubt..

    • Hi Ronan! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I love that you jumped on Google to see what others were thinking… I do the same thing! :)

      You make a great point about Love and Purpose having a differing relevance depending on age. I’d say that even though at its core the love is the same throughout, how each individual experiences and ultimately reaches that state is entirely unique. I believe that resistance and that sense of “soul sapping” only comes when we ignore our true self and get attached to meaningless pursuits (although determining what is meaningless and what has purpose is a challenge in and of itself!).

  17. I have asked myself this very question time and time again ” What’s the purpose of life?”.
    The possibility that my life could have no purpose scares the hell out of me, so I look for answers. Mainly to find a reason to actually live on. A few days ago I wrote a bit about it and thought I should share my policy. I hope it helps people the way it has helped me.

    Sky diving, travelling around the world, owning a billion dollars, having sex with a celebrity, and the list goes on for the things that people want to do or achieve before they die. Yet, I want nothing of these. I lie down and gaze at the stars, and I wonder, I wonder why i’m alive, why i’m here and what purpose i’m supposed to fulfil. After having failed to come up with a perfectly rational explanation from the skies above, I looked deep inside myself. I asked myself why I wanted to live and what I wanted out of it. Then and there, I knew that I had found my way. It’s as if i’m lost in a dark tunnel, and I had just found the way to the light. Indeed, it’s a long and hard road to take, but I would rather attempt to reach it than rot in the dark.
    We all have our own light to reach out to, but to find it, that’s the hard part. People may speak of religion and powers beyond our imagination to lead them the way, it gives them that secure feeling that they are not lost but on the right path, which is why it is so hard for them to let go or question it when it does not make sense to their own rational minds. Why rely on other things when the answer is deep inside each and every one of us.
    Most people just want to take the easy way out, so they would rather follow an already paved road than pave one themselves. But what meaning or purpose would that result in ? That makes two kinds of people out there …
    The ones who know exactly what they want and how to get to it, and the ones who just sail through life meaninglessly hoping for the best. So, who do you want to be? The choice is yours as it has always been and always will be.
    Actions, being triggered mostly by emotions and self logic, define who we are. But what makes us sleep at night ? A clean conscious or a drunk one that hides all our emotions? There were nights when I cried myself to sleep, or worried till the early morning when I finally slept to the sound of birds singing. I ask myself why, and the only answer is that I wasn’t satisfied with myself at the time, the feeling that I have failed myself is too painful to withstand. But just as bad as I feel at those times, there is nothing more satisfying than to sleep with a clean conscious. Peacefully and happily. Knowing that your life is on the right track. I just hope that when the time comes for me to close my eyes for the very last time and into my eternal sleep, I would have that feeling of having done good in my life, that I have passed my own path of righteousness and reached the light, that I would die with a clean conscious.

    • Yazan,

      That’s incredibly beautiful and heartfelt! I can relate to so much of what you describe and I can attest to the conclusions you reached. That feeling of being content and happy, with fully experiencing the moment and being ‘ready to go’ whenever death may knock at your door, that’s what it really means to live.

      And one may think that when we feel that way, we end up being lazy and not really doing anything with life. But really, the exact opposite happens. Suddenly a world of possibility opens up and we recognize how wonderful this life is, how precious and full of potential each second is wrapped in and we want nothing more than to utilize that potential.

      I recognized this shift in my life when I finally released all my fears and external expectations and followed my heart to where it was calling me to go.

      Thank you for sharing this here and for contributing such a wonderful piece to this page. :)

  18. Heartfelt words, and I can relate to everything you said here. It is a question I believe that has been asked by everyone on this planet — what’s the purpose? — but hardly many pursue to find out what it is and would rather just live their day to day lives.

    The nihilistic part in me believes this is the result of ignorance and arrogance and a prevalent selfishness that has consumed people with the advent of the digital age. The optimist in me believes that if there is any better time to give and to love, it is now. This is what I try to do, and by God how many times can I tell you I’ve been shunned and had my life made miserable because “life does not work like that”?

    Guess what.. we make life work the way we want it to work.

    • I love your conviction, Kinan! “We make life work the way we want it to work.” We choose what to make of our life and if we choose to live it giving and caring even if that means not listening to the societal norm, then so be it!

      It’s better to be a lone wolf than a herded sheep.