This question has been at the forefront of human consciousness since we had enough time to do anything more that just survive. Once we reached a state of development that gave us space to choose how we spend our time, we began to wonder about the purpose of existence.
We are blessed with self-awareness and the ability to self-reflect. This awareness enables us to explore the depths of human consciousness. It is the catalyst for the greatest gifts of humans science, spirituality, and art. But this awareness also comes with the sometimes-maddening relentlessness of inquiry. So we ask: what is the purpose of our lives? Why are we here?
As much as we wish we could, no one can give you those answers. Its a bit like asking a fish to describe the ocean. We are simply doing our best to live it. But we can point towards possibilities. We can explore the arc of human history, and the natural systems of Gaia. Through those lenses, it seems that the ultimate purpose of life is to live. Yes, that simple and profound we are alive simply to experience being alive. Living is its own purpose. That you live, and why you live, are beyond our ability to explain. But how you live is up to you.
The more precise question would be: what is the purpose of your life? To discover that, you need to study yourself like a new love interest. Get really curious about what makes you tick, what makes you happy, what makes you motivated, and what stifles your spirit. Here are some self-reflection questions to help you get in touch with your own purpose.
What Brings You Joy?
This is the primary marker for discovering purpose. I dont mean just passing satisfaction, or superficial pleasure. What makes your heart sing? Think about the moments in your life when you have felt the most yourself, the most in touch with your center, and the most joyful. When have you felt the most alive? Those moments may not have been easy, and you might not have been doing your job or whatever you think you ought to be doing. But those moments when you were truly happy can point you towards your purpose.
What Gets You Up In the Morning?
We all have days when we feel great, and days when we have to drag ourselves out of bed. On those tough mornings, we can be motivated by obligation, or we can be following the call of our hearts. Think about the days when you were doing or creating or being something so exciting that you burst out of bed, and find out how you can set up your life to have more days like that.
What Is Unique to You?
In some theories about purpose, there is an idea that each person fills a unique niche. We all have a perfectly carved out place to enter in the world, a particular gift that is ours alone to give. It can be grand or simple, but finding that thing you have to offer that is special to you will point the way towards your purpose in this life.
What Does the World Need?
Another way of discovering your purpose is observing how your art and skills can fill a need in the world. What important work can you do, that fulfills the above criteria of bringing your joy and getting you out of bed in the morning, that would both bring you more alive and help other people in some vital way?
What Would You Do for Free?
The purpose of life is not to make money. At the end of your life you will not be counting the dollars in your bank account. You will remember the times that you gave and received love. You will count the ways that you contributed positively to the world, felt like your work mattered, and felt joy and vitality. So to link up to your purpose, pay attention to the things you would do even if you were not being paid for them.
What Is Worth Dying For?
And last but not least, what is so important to you that you would give the most precious thing you have for it? Again, its not money, even though that is what most people on this planet are literally dying for. What is worth sacrificing everything else to do, create, and be? If it is worth your life, chances are it is linked to your reason for being alive.
The purpose of life is beyond any of us. We are spokes in the great wheel, drops in the magnificent ocean of life. We cannot understand the purpose of life with our minds, we can only live it. And we live it by finding our unique individual purposes, the reasons we are each here as precious facets of the limitless jewel of creation.