Understanding Devotion And Life’s Purpose
Indian philosopher, Jiddu Krishnamurti, once famously said: Only those who’ve never truly loved, ask me questions about life’s purpose. Why does living need a purpose other than its mere being? Are we not worthy, as is? Krishnamurti wondered, “Is it because of emptiness that we need to identify some grander purpose to happen outside of us, to fulfill us?” Defining a purpose is a product of the mind, where as beingness is just a natural state of the soul. The purpose can be found in our inner state of being, or rather, our own ability to enrich our inner experience. When was the last time you were in love? How did it feel? Didn’t everything seem meaningful? When you are living in gratitude, do you even question life’s purpose? And isn’t gratitude a part of love consciousness, also?
It is no surprise that the wisest people will tell us: to find God, don’t look up to the stars or into the structures and paintings of temples — all you need to do is look into the eyes of the people that you love. This is where you’ll find God; this is where you’ll find meaning. I’ve often wondered why people who identify themselves as religious or spiritual, are still treating their fellow humans with disrespect. Is it easier to love the perfect structures and statues, than it is to love a human being, who isn’t “perfect”; whose own emotional and spiritual world has the freedom to make mistakes and even sometimes hurt us?
Sometimes people ask me: “How can I have more self-love?” I answer: Love others and you will inevitably love yourself also.
Very often, I am asked: “What is my purpose?”
Here is the thing I’ve come to realize; that when we ask that question, what we usually want to know is how to live a purposeful life that would give us that peaceful, soothing feeling within. I once knew a man, rich and famous, kept on asking me that question saying how empty he felt inside. And every time he’d ask me that, I’d ask him: “How are you living your life? When was the last time you contributed to someone’s day, or even moment, by helping, supporting, encouraging them or even giving them an appreciation? How are you treating others? How are you helping others whenever you are able to?” Then, nothing happened. He’d ask me the same question a week later, then, again, and again. He had all the money and never gave much to anyone for support. He rarely appreciated the people in his life who cared for him, he rarely showed gratitude, he rarely encouraged others during their hard times. He’d do his yoga, but continued to feel empty.
The thing is, no amount of yoga poses or social media “new-agey smart” posts would ever give us that soothing feeling within. Now that doesn’t mean we should all become martyrs by helping everyone and taken advantage of, but it means that we should shift our focus elsewhere. Love others and you’ll feel purposeful indeed. Love others not because of what they’ll do for you, or give you, or acknowledge within you – love them because it’s who you are. Appreciate them. Many mediums will tell you that one of the greatest regrets from the other side is this: our soul regretting we didn’t open our heart to love completely and that we didn’t value the importance of relationships, all the times we didn’t follow our hearts, all the times we wanted to express our love but didn’t because we were afraid it wasn’t mutual or because we’d look too sensitive or sentimental or because we’d be rejected. You see, it’s not about the other person. It is all about us expressing our love and living intentionally and lovingly. Years from now, looking back, whether from the other side or hopefully from this, all we’d care about is how much we loved and how much we expressed it.
Only those who truly love and are truly strong in their love have the ability to change life’s stones into flowers of discovery. They are the ones that live a life of purpose and the ones who enrich the dreams of humanity, within and without, and it is these dreams that create history. These people are the unknowing transformers of all things, of life itself.
It’s about devotion
Many years ago, I lived in a tiny place where by the window a swallow bird had built her nest. It was a little after her babies were born that a summer storm hit. The next morning the nest was quite “roughed up”, as my brother would say, and the swallow mother didn’t come back. The little ones kept on screaming, so I took them in, put them in a little shoebox lined with shredded papers resembling their home, and then fed them with an eyedropper. We also fixed their nest as much as we could, so they can continue to live outside. Then one day at the end of summer, after they were all healthy, they flew away. I kept the nest. The next year, the swallows came back.
Devotion can sometimes be regarded as some grand thing – high minded and even abstract. But it is often found in an ordinary day. It’s an injured animal that we find on the street and then take it home, to care for it and nurture its wellbeing. Devotion is not something we find; devotion finds us. You don’t have to look up high; and the truth is, even when we do, we may still not find it. Devotion appears in its own shape and following its own timing and rhythm of heart. But when it finds us, it’s an absolute, non-negotiable extension of self, that demands we do our best, and love whole-bodily and wholeheartedly. Not just a little bit or partly, and not just when it’s convenient or easy.
To live a life of purpose, we have to find something that we can devote our love and daily care to. Loving does not have to be towards another person – it can be any thing we can nurture like a garden. This is what we learn from the stories of Buddhist monks too – they have daily routines caring for the monastery and its gardens, and this is regarded as their great purposeful work. No task is too small, or too insignificant. And the rest unfolds as it may. Feeding the animals, volunteering, helping a stranger, preparing a meal, reading a story to a child – all of these mirror to us how purposeful our very being is.
To live a purposeful life, often means to live life like a prayer.
Prayer is a hug or a meal cooked. Prayer is helping someone even when they didn’t ask. Prayer is saying “I love you, good night” to your family. Prayer is when we encourage someone. Prayer is a natural state, when we give someone our time and energy, even if all we did was listen to them. It is a vibration, a feeling, a thought, a voice of love and an expression of our silent being. While we pray all the time, it is often unintentional because we are not aware of it. So to live a life like a prayer means to live intentionally. What if we are consciously and intentionally grateful for every person and everything continuously, daily? What if we dedicate to lovingness, compassion and mercy towards ourselves and one another? This allows us to be more receptive to all the beauty that life already is, as it unfolds before our eyes – rather than wonder around, away from the present moment.
Life’s meaning cannot be understood by running away from life. We can read all the books and ancient texts in the world, yet if we don’t actually experience our being-ness, it’d still be a question mark. In a way, when we spend so much time wondering and intellectualizing what purpose is, we are not really living it. I often say and I’ll say it again: We are not here to become spiritual, because we already are. We are here to remember our spiritual being and apply its wisdom towards our human connections and relationships. This is why we have these bodies — a relationship of many cells coming together for a mutual decision to say Yes to life. You, in this body, in this moment and reality, are the perfect union between soul and flesh. There is nothing more beautiful than that, to be the dancing union of love.
Our bodies are comprised of so many different cells, all of which have their own purposes. Some cells are truth seekers while others are calm bringers. Some are the kings of discernment in our times of confusion or crisis. Other cells are the hard workers flushing crap as well as distributing food, information and energetic resources. Some are alchemists and magicians, others are transformers and catalysts, bringing us from one state of consciousness and being-ness into another. Some sit quietly yet alert with animal instincts that will warn us of coming dangers. Some are defenders, like jaguars who will keep our immune system strong. Our cells are living their purpose just by their being-ness, and accepting their being.
Running away from the immense depth of feelings experienced only through our connections is just a way to run away from purpose. This is why we wonder what other purpose there is. Just love. Experience passion whenever you eat, drink, dance or just lay on your couch. Fall in love with your life. Love wholeheartedly and whole-bodily. Love when you shouldn’t. Love when you know and accept that it may hurt or that you’ll be rejected. Love more and more, and then more again. Devote yourself to loving more. Love because of you; because this is about you experiencing the greatest depth and meaning of all, which is found in the wide spectrum of emotions that ultimately enriches our inner world, and opens our perceptions by challenging our old beliefs, perspectives and narratives. This is what spiritual development is — the ability to open ourselves to new perceptions is how we expand our consciousness.
When we look for something, this only implies we don’t have it already within us. It’s like love. If you are looking for it, you are only subconsciously telling yourself that it is not present within you. And as universal consciousness is expansive, your energy is only expanding that, meaning it’s expanding your lack, or belief of lack. In the same way, the more we look for purpose, the more we are actually not living it.
God is Love; this is the universal Christ consciousness comprised of compassion, harmony, gratitude, forgiveness, non-judgement, oneness, peace and love. It is the ability to recognize the divine and the love in everything, outside of categories, genres, groups, races, beliefs, definitions and the limits of “words”. Through the childlike eyes, we enter the kingdom of heaven. Because it is the childlike eyes that see life in an inclusive, non-judgmental way; with the purity and innocence of heart. The purest love is that of children, and so as such, this is how we must love and this is how we find meaning and purpose. When we have the humility and bravery to see and accept life, and ourselves, as is and as are, we begin to just be. And as we enter our state of gratitude for beingness, we will live a more fulfilled existence. Love and purpose are found only when we are being.
Our true purpose
So what do I think is our purpose when someone asks me that question?
I think that sometimes we get so focused on what it is, that we forget we are already living it, just by living our life. Our main human purpose is to be a kind, compassionate person. We need to allow ourselves to experience joy and express our love to others – and to contribute to others with our joy and love, and service. And if not, at least not to harm others. Every little thing in life matters and has its own purpose. You just being present is purposeful and needed. Your presence matters. The rest will unveil on its own time.
And sometimes just a smile is all the purpose you have to contribute to something life changing. Never underestimate the power and purpose of a smile and a kind word. You standing on the sidewalk and smiling at someone, matters. You smiling at your family, matters. Just being a kind person is all you should focus on. So don’t bother yourself with what you are doing; instead, focus on how and who you are while you are doing it, and how it is affecting others around you and how you are contributing to this world. The kindness of your heart is your biggest contribution. In order to find our dharma (or purpose), we need to first be clear about who we truly are. Once we know ourselves, the rest will unfold as long as we follow the higher values of life and our true heart’s intentions.
To live a purposeful life, all we need to do is just be. Allow life to breathe through your body and mold you naturally into what you were always meant to be. Surrender and immerse yourself fully, completely and passionately into being. This is an experiential process of living that is often invisible to our immediate eyesight and human understanding for its “results”, but it is all we ever needed to do anyway.
Devote yourself to life, not just partly and not just when it’s easy or convenient. Devote yourself completely, absolutely, passionately, wholebodily and wholeheartedly. Love others, all things and little creatures, and you will inevitably live a purposeful life.
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