How can we lead a purpose driven life if we don’t even know what are our purpose here is?
I, of course, cannot tell you what your purpose is. Each of us have our own unique purpose. But what I can do is express how it feels when you know that you have figured out what your purpose is and what it takes to fulfill it.
I did not know my purpose – or even think I had a unique purpose – until the age of 35. At this point in my life, I ran into a wall and was unable to figure out why so many things seemed to be stacked against me – even though I really felt like I was doing everything the “right” way.
I was very responsible to my job and family and I was the kind of person that tried to be “good” all the time. I was always helping others out and I had a strong fear of G-d. I was afraid to do things “wrong” because I might get punished by G-d.
But……is there a person on this earth that doesn’t do something that is “wrong”?
I ended up doing something very, very wrong……
I cheated on my first husband.
Yes, he cheated on me and made me feel like crap all the time, but as an Orthodox Jewish woman, cheating on your spouse was the worst offense a woman could do and was punishable by death (according to the Talmud – Oral law the rabbis in the early AD’s wrote to expound on Biblical teachings).
If you learn the actual text, the deeper meaning and understanding must be very different than what I have presented above, however, that was the way that I was taught by teachers and my husband – so that is the way I understood it.
Long story short, I beat myself up with guilt for years and I attributed my sin of adultery to the reason why my life was so hard.
I beat myself up for so long that I truly went crazy. My personal story is way more complicated that just this (as is everyone’s)….but I wanted to bring out a different point in this post.
My guilt combined with my pain pushed me into a corner. I had to reevaluate my life and understand how I got to this point – even though I tried so hard to be “good”. Was I really “bad” and did G-d really hate me?
Yes, I committed the ultimate sin of cheating on my husband….but what about all things that he did to me that knocked me down so low, I was desperate for love, attention and a little caring from another.
For a long time, I truly believed that my feelings didn’t matter, I had to do what was right and that was the end….and if I was unable to do what was “right” all the time…..I was a weakling.
Not only did I feel that way about myself…..I felt that way about everyone else……….What?…….You can’t stop yourself from doing things that are against G-d?…..Then you deserve to be punished because you are weak minded and stupid…..just like me!!!
At the age of 35, all of this internal turmoil climaxed and I shut down completely for a few years. During these years, I learned a lot about myself……which, in turn, helped me learn a lot about human nature in general.
One thing that I learned that I know is true is that we cannot divide our deeds in terms of “good” and “bad” …..because what is “good” to me is not necessarily “good” to another and visa versa. First we must erase this misleading idea out of our heads and redefine the terms “good” and “bad”. Our new definitions can only be relative to ourselves and cannot allow us to think that we are “better” than anyone else.
In other words, I thought it was “bad” to cheat on my husband….and I thought it was “bad” for everyone to cheat on their husbands…..but now I still think it is “bad” for me to cheat on my husband…..but I cannot judge how another person feels about the situation and in their case it may not be so “bad”.
Even learning from the actual ancient text that I mentioned about adultery…..I can fairly say that the text does not contradict what I am saying here. Ancient text is never black and white. There are always gray areas that can be interpreted many different ways…and the proof of this is the fact that there are books after books detailing the debates ancient Rabbi’s used to have regarding the understandings of the text. The only reason that Orthodox Jews follow a certain “way” is because there had to be one Rabbi who was the leader in making decisions, so we generally accept what that Rabbi says…….
But we cannot discount that other Rabbis had different opinions and that maybe they could have been correct as well. After all, who really knows?
With that being said…..after allowing myself (using the power of reason) to able to feel comfortable to think about things how I wanted to and, thereby, allowing myself to change stuff that I had been taught as a child around to fit logic….I was able to begin the search for my purpose.
This is what I feel everyone has to start with. Before searching for purpose, we all must strip ourselves of defining things we see and hear in black and white terms -or- thinking that we are “better” than anyone else for any reason. We must realize that each person has a different perspective and each perspective is correct relative to who it belongs to and the experiences that they have had.
We also have to realize that we, ourselves, despite what we say we think…..sometimes we don’t think the way we say we do………
When we can strip ourselves from judgment completely – this includes (and starts with) judging ourselves negatively…..our minds become clear like newborns and we can relearn everything….but this time in the right way.
Stripping ourselves of all preconceived notions that are stored in our brain allows us to get to our heart and feelings which are the things we are going to need to be able to guide us to where we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to do.
At this point, I can only describe how I KNOW what MY purpose is and how I go about getting there.
It took me multiple years to delete all the unnecessary files cluttering up my brain, but when I did, all I was left with was this desire to share my knowledge with others (and to take care of my family).
Yes, I have a feeling of desire to free others from the burden of lies that we all have been told throughout the ages. I have a strong desire to shake people so that they can to be free to feel how they need to feel.
I also am aware that although I understand things one way….everybody understandings things in their own way and trying to communicate to others how I think and getting others to recognize my thoughts and feelings as reasonable (not “right” – reasonable)- even though they are drastically different than the way most people think – was going to be quite difficult.
It didn’t take me long to discover that trying to explain to others the concept of “there is no such thing as “right” and “wrong”” in a collective sense…….without them always responding by trying to prove that I must be “wrong” and they must be “right”……..was going to be the biggest hurdle that I was going to have to overcome somehow.
I realized that people like to be “right” because according to the way most people think…….being “right” theoretically must mean that you are “smarter” and therefore “better”…….
So, even though I consciously tried to only offer a different perspective to people that I spoke to, for some reason my attempts were frequently translated as me trying to prove that I am “right” or “better” than the person (people) I was speaking to. After I realized that having conversations about this subject would inevitably end up becoming personal……….
……..I decided to write a book.
Please Read Part II of this Post……”To Live a Purpose Driven Life – Part II”
Other posts you might like:
Why is Life Unfair?
Mind Over Matter – But Not Over Heart
For Those That Think Spirituality is for Cuckoos
I Stand at the Door
Life is full of controversy so here is a thought to live by:
If life isn’t fair, how can we motivate ourselves to live a purpose driven life?