by Edwene Gaines
At one time or another you've probably asked yourself, "What is the purpose of my life? What is its meaning? Why am I here on Earth, and what am I supposed to be doing?" Chances are, you work hard, whether you take care of a household or have a job outside of the home. Your days are filled with seemingly endless chores and tasks like getting the oil changed in your car and going to the grocery store. Perhaps sometimes, when you get tired or stressed out, life can seem like just one long and meaningless "to do" list with a bland retirement and a gold-plated watch at the end of it.
You may have a sense that given the right circumstances, you could do much more than you are doing now. Perhaps you long to make a real difference in the world, to assign meaning to your life, and to listen to the yearnings of your very soul.
All of the great and wise people who ever made a difference on planet Earth heard their souls' yearnings and chose a purpose for their lives. People such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela seem to have been driven by a self-defined purpose that they chose for themselves. Now, we often think of such people with a sense of awe and respect as if they were somehow different from us -- better, smarter, more saintly, or more courageous. Sometimes they hardly seem human. But the truth is that the only real difference between you and those people is that they all seemed to have a clearly defined life purpose that they selected for themselves and then embraced with steadiest dedication and unshakeable determination.
You have that very same opportunity as well. Every single one of us has some special gift, some special interest, some special talent, some special way of impacting this world, so that it becomes a better place for everyone. You have the potential to live at the level of Gandhi or Mother Teresa. The question you must ask yourself is, "Am I willing to define, embrace, and hold fast to my divine purpose, prayerfully, persistently, and patiently?" If the answer is yes, then the impossible truly can become possible in your life.
Now, finding and following your divine purpose is different from setting your goals. A goal is a tangible desire with an end result, but your divine purpose is really a way of living. For example, a goal might be to learn to paint with watercolors, but your divine purpose might be to bring joy to peoples' lives through your art. Another goal might be to get a PhD, but the divine purpose would be to live in the world of the intellect, the world of ideas. Your goals have finite deadlines, but your divine purpose is something that you will be working with and growing with for the rest of your life.
Years ago, a teacher explained to me that if I wanted to fully realize my potential in this lifetime the first thing I had to do was look out upon my world (understanding that we all look out through our own consciousness to see different worlds) and notice all the things that need healing, or fixing, or transforming.
Very frankly, in my world, I see that a multitude of areas where we as a human family need to direct our attention, change our priorities, get rid of the systems and concepts that are not working, and begin anew. Just to name a few examples, I believe that some new thinking needs to be done about the way we take care of our children, treat the environment, feed the hungry, share with the homeless, and provide for the disabled, the elderly, the imprisoned, the hurt, the abused, and the lonely.
The task, then, my teacher instructed, is that after looking carefully at the world, we must pick out one thing that we feel needs transforming, something that would be fun for us to get involved in repairing, shifting, restructuring, fixing, and perfecting. Please note I use the word fun. This is not about martyrdom or great personal sacrifice. It is about focus, joy, and a sense of purposeful possible achievement.
Next, we must take a bold step and make a 100 percent commitment to "fixing" the problem we have identified, followed by devoting our energies, time, talents, skills, and money to transforming that one piece of the earthly puzzle. Even as you're working toward solving the problem, keep in mind that what is really important is not whether the problem ever gets solved; it's that you are working toward the solution with dedication and persistence.
We are children of God. But children eventually grow up. And the evolving and advancing you will do when you begin to live according to your divine purpose is part of that growing up.
When you choose your divine purpose, you are framing your life with meaning. You are also taking an important step in your spiritual development: to demonstrate to yourself that you are a divine being and to prove to yourself that you have the power to affect change -- that you are bigger, stronger, more powerful, and more creative than you thought.
It was Emerson who said, "Oh Man! There is no planet, sun or star could hold you, if you but knew what you are." (Now, I know what he meant to say was, "Oh Woman! There is no planet . . .") There is nothing in the universe that could hold us, if only we knew our true power.