There is no substitute for true purpose and many of us will recognise the almost permanent state of dissatisfaction as we seek to find it.
Often we search for clues as to what our purpose is and we look at others whom we believe have found it with a deep sense of longing for ourselves.
I’ve spent many years pondering the question on purpose and wondering if I was ever going to find mine. What I learned in the process of searching was that purpose wasn’t going to be found outside of me, but inside of me.
Each time I looked to the future and tried to figure out where I was headed I found my thoughts tied up in knots - was I headed in the right direction? was I truly doing what I was here and meant to do with my life?
The answers I learned weren’t something that could be found in my thoughts. They would often present themselves in feelings. I’d get clues about whether I was in my purpose because more often than not when I wasn’t, I would be spending my time asking myself these questions and enquiring about whether I was aligned.
The truth of when you are in purpose is that it shows up and there is silence, no more mind chatter, no more questions, just peace.
When you are in your purpose there is a deep sense of knowing and of calm. I find those moments mostly when I’m writing - I lose time and I’ve often got no awareness of what’s going on around me - I’ve also learned that those moments only occur for me when I’m not in my head thinking about others and what they may think of my writing but when I truly allow myself to sit in the stillness and allow what’s inside to come out.
It’s why I find my blog takes on such varied forms - sometimes I’m in my head thinking about the audience and other times I write freely and the words pour out of me without any effort. It’s those moments I feel most joy, those moments when I’m truly in alignment - my inner self and outer self as one. Those moments I’m embracing my full self and immersed in the present moment without distraction.
I’ve learned as I continue to practice being in the present moment that I can experience more of this joy and alignment even when I’m doing things that aren’t necessarily things I would define as my purpose e.g. running - I found myself continuing my running after my half marathon last year because I decided I would see if I could do a full marathon at some point this year, but most of the time the experience of running has not been that enjoyable.
After listening to Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘A New Earth’ I recognised I was telling myself a story about the end justifying the means - i.e. the achievement of completing a full marathon would make the training worth it. We often tell ourselves these stories.
I see it a lot - we do things because we think it will be worth in in the end, but the journey itself can be full of suffering - sometimes we don’t even recognise that we are suffering because we’re conditioned to think it’s how things are or should be.
But I’m learning to see that there is another way - that there little point in living in a state of dissatisfaction until a goal is achieved.
As obvious as it is I was missing the point that we have this one very precious life and each moment should be honoured - whilst I know this to be true I wasn’t really living it..
I missed that there was joy to be found in small moments and steps along the way.
With my running - the training itself could bring me joy if I gave myself and my attention to it fully rather than focussing on the destination it would get me to.
So this weekend I went on run just for the sake of a run and took in everything I was experiencing - I gave my total attention to it - not the time nor the distance but just one step in front of the other and allowed myself to really feel what it meant to run and be in the moment.
It changed something for me - I had a greater appreciation of what I was doing and time was no longer an issue - I didn’t have to get a quick run in and then get on with my day I just gave myself the space to experience the activity and really be present to it. I actually really enjoyed it! My legs ached and there was something comforting about that pain because I’d given myself fully to the activity.
Too often we focus on the destination and tell ourselves ‘I’ll be happy when…..’ or I’ll keep doing this until…..’
But what I’m learning is that when I align myself to the present moment no matter what I’m doing and if I give myself to it fully then I have a sense of my inner purpose being fulfilled. No longer do I need to concern myself with the end destination, or the ultimate purpose - whilst it’s nice to have one in mind, I’ve realised that if I give myself fully to each day that the feelings I experience give me clues as to whether a change of direction is needed, which is significantly more than what thinking alone does.
I’m learning more and more that purpose isn’t just about discovering what you are here to do, but more about how you show up to do something. Showing up fully to what you are doing brings a different energy and that’s what creates the shift and reveals whether you are acting inside your purpose or outside of it.
So next time you find yourself in the dissatisfied place of questioning your purpose - give yourself fully to the present moment and the activity you are undertaking see how the energy shifts for you and what it reveals.