I figured out the meaning of life! It may sound unbelievable but its true. Almost dying several times will do that for you. But you shouldn’t have to have a near death experience to successfully figure out the meaning of life.
If you know your purpose you will know the meaning of your life. There is not a single person who hasn’t wondered why they’re here, or what they’re special reason for being is. The quickest way to uncover your purpose is to bravely dive into yourself. Engaging in proactive Self-Realization is the key to understanding your purpose.
Here are 4 steps for engaging proactive self-realization that will help you uncover your purpose and figure out the meaning of life:
1. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE DIFFERENT
Everyone’s purpose is unique. Despite similarities that may exist, each person will discover their individualized meaning of life as a result of their specific life experiences and circumstances. Give yourself permission to be different, embrace the uniqueness your journey.
Malala Yousafzai and Martin Luther King Jr. are great examples of this principle in action. Both champion the equal treatment of an oppressed group. Both actively risked their lives to speak truth to power and shed light on the injustices happening in their respective countries. However, Mala’s unique purpose is to fight for the protection, equal treatment and education of the women of Pakistan. While MLK Jr.’s unique purpose was to help African American’s receive equal protection, education and treatment by law – in the United States. The difference in circumstances caused each of them to follow a unique path to accomplish their purpose. The efforts made to accomplish that purpose is what gives each of their lives meaning.
2. BE REFLECTIVE – STUDY YOURSELF
You can’t know where your going if you don’t know where you have been. Successfully identifying your purpose requires a lot of personal reflection. You have already embraced your uniqueness now its time to take a long hard look at yourself.
Self-Realization, the act of living up to your potential, is a participation sport.
Self Realization organically leads to living purposefully, in turn giving your life rich meaning. Mental agility is important when you actively seek to live up to your potential. Routinely engaging in personal reflection cultivates an objective attitude which allows you to remain comfortably detached from outcomes that would otherwise derail you.
Ram Dass is the poster boy for this principle. The incredible author of BE HERE NOW met his teacher Neroli Baba on a sojourn to India. Neroli Baba taught Ram Dass the powerfully transformative practice of self-study through mediation. Ram loved his teacher and would have stayed with Neroli Baba indefinitely, until one day Neorli instructed Ram to go back to the West. Ram was told his true purpose was to return home to share this powerful practice with as many people as possible. We could imagine that Ram Dass had mixed emotions about leaving his teacher, but his self study practice was so strong that instead of spiraling into despair he went back to west and got to work.
3. EMBRACE ENTHUSIASM
Interest, excitement and enjoyment are fundamental to Enthusiasm. Purpose can’t exist with out some measure of enthusiasm. It is essential that you are interested in, excited by and enjoy the activities associated with reaching your full potential. If you lack enthusiasm for self-realization then it will be harder for you to identify your purpose and find meaning in life.
The challenge here is remaining enthusiastic at all times, even when pursuing your purpose is really hard. Martin Luther King Jr. modeled this principle perfectly. Martin Luther King Jr. suffered vicious dog attacks, the skin peeling fire hose, and had rocks hurled at his skull but he didn’t let any of it stop him. He kept showing up. His only interest was equality, the idea that it could be a reality excited him and while we can assume he didn’t enjoy the suffering – he did enjoy fighting for the cause.
4. CONTENTMENT IS KEY
“From Contentment one gains supreme Happiness.” Contentment is key to ensuring your journey to uncovering the meaning of life is a success. Things don’t always go as planned, but that doesn’t have to derail you. Challenges are inevitable. It can be enticing to throw your hands up in the air and run for the hills when things get hard, but that doesn’t help anyone.
Fulfilling your purpose is a life long commitment, which is why it gives life so much meaning. You must be able to find satisfaction in each stage of the journey and set back along the way. Each situation will provide you with a ton of invaluable data. The data collected will help you modify your approach as you continue to focus on living up to your potential and carrying out your unique reason for being here. Like Malala, who was shot but celebrated surviving so she could continue to fulfill her purpose, you too can find contentment in any situation.
Contentment is not easy to master but that’s why you have to work on it everyday. The amazing thing is that contentment asks you to combine the previous 3 principles in one swift action. You must give yourself permission to be different, be reflective and choose to embrace enthusiasm in order to practice contentment.
Start by practicing it in line at the grocery store or in traffic on the highway. Instead of getting upset and frustrated, focus on feeling satisfied with your current situation. Give yourself permission to take a different path than the people fidgeting around you on line, or blaring their horns angrily in traffic. Reflect on what you’re thinking and feeling, and see how you can reconnect to your sense of enthusiasm.
You deserve to know the meaning of life! Understanding your purpose is a surefire way to live a meaningful life. When you dedicate yourself to the work of self-realization purpose is a happy by-product. Success, Meaning & Purpose await, you just have to do the work!
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 Stiles, Makunda. Yoga Sutras of Pantajali. (II,42)