Purpose is a quality assigned by man to things. As the one that assigns purpose, man cannot assign a purpose to himself. For a man to assign a purpose to himself would be to treat himself like a thing. The life of a man has no purpose, but it does have goals and values. Goals and values are discovered and shaped, and it is the discovery and shaping of of goals and values that give our life meaning and direction.
So “purpose” implies a destination or a goal. It is difficult to answer the question “What is my purpose?” definitively without referencing what the specific goals are. I ask, why be on a path at all? Some are on a path to nowhere. Others are on a path that is not their own but chosen for them. Those living undirected or inauthentic lives exhibit an ignorance that arises when life goes unexamined.
For all goal oriented activities:
- First, be clear about what it is you want to accomplish. Write those goals down and share them with your trusted friends and advisers. If you have no trusted friends and advisers, then set as your first goal to build those crucial fundamental relationships that define your very humanity.
- Next, every day do something that contributes to achieving your goal.
- Finally, judge as honestly as you are able whether the actions you have taken that day have been effective in your reaching your goal.
- Make corrections. If you judge that majority of your daily actions are not bringing you closer to your goal, then you must through inner searching and/or the help of your trusted friends and advisers formulate a new set of daily practices; or, perhaps, a seek after revised of different goal.
If you apply the above rules, then you will know that you are on the right path to your stated goals.
But always be wary of rules. Rule-driven practices are for the unenlightened. A divine life is free and creative. The truly good or wise person does not need a list of prescriptions to direct what needs to be done. Those who are connected to their Source divinity automatically do what is right and just. Those who are lost and disconnected need constant reminders to do what is right. The achievement of divinity and true freedom is something that radiates from within, not from a book of laws and rules.