There is a common feeling of uneasiness that many people share– that they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. This feeling is amplified in the current context in which we have a heightened awareness of what is going on in the world and the realization that what is going on in the world is a crisis for the future of humanity and much of life on this planet. It’s only natural that we ask, “what is my role in all this?”
But this feeling derives from a deeper and older questioning than that which is stirred be current events. Do I have a purpose in this world? Why am I here? What am I doing and what should I be doing? Do I have a “mission”?
It’s easy to adopt answers that derive from reductionist psychological thinking on the one hand or metaphysical belief systems on the other. But my experience is that these will not make the nagging feeling go away. The true felt/sense of purpose, though fleeting and subtle in its early stages, grows as one dives deeply into the nature of oneself, (One’s Self).
Traditional cultures always had initiatory rituals and ceremonies to mark the shift from the dependent child phase of life to taking responsible and purposeful action in the world as an adult. The Native American Vision Quest is a clear example of how ritualized solitude in nature along with fasting helped open a seeker to a voice beyond their ego for guidance. The ceremonial use of “hallucinogenic” or sacred plants and psychedelic compounds is an ancient and also presently growing movement helping people find a clearer sense of themselves and a healthy direction. Some forms of meditation and some of the modern, deeper experiential therapies, also offer possible approaches to clarifying meaning and purpose in life.
Still, it is one thing to have a vision or idea of what to do, and another to choose it and do it. When we return from transcendent moments of clear vision, we face the challenge of resistance within ourselves and others, and the tendency to not accept and act on our “mission.” Your mind will use every trick in the book to make the expression of your vision seem either impossible or too trivial. Yet, wise elders tell us that it is essential to live it out lest we feel lost and confused. I’ve come to believe that the failure to act on our best sense of right action is one of the most potent contributors to depression.
This is why integration work is so vital to any ritual or process that takes one to the deep places beyond our conditioned mind to our deepest truth. Just as it takes intention, courage and guidance to seek a vision, it takes intention, courage and guidance to bring that vision into manifest expression.
I can say this of what I’ve learned from my various and ongoing quests for vision and the challenges of walking it: 1) Discovering purpose begins with recognizing and accepting what I face in the present; 2) I am not alone in what I am here to do; 3) It is not for me alone; 4) It feels really good when I am doing it.
May you find your way to open beyond the noise and chatter to your true vision, voice, and action towards the unfolding of our species’ awakening.
Postscript: Some years back I was “told” (and told others) that I would help organize a concert to celebrate the movements for life-affirming, progressive causes in Rockland County. The right combination of allies and time came together to help fulfill this vision. See below and join us if you can. https://petecentennialrockland.eventbrite.com