What is our individual and collective purpose?
That is a big question.
The honest answer is that we don’t know. That said, I am beginning to believe our intuition and joy may be the guide to our destination.
I have written before that I am convinced that we are spiritual beings sharing a human experience (all of us are energy, as all mass is energy, per Einstein) and that we are all a fractal of a bigger whole.
What does being a fractal mean?
A fractal is a repeating pattern that is whole itself, and remains whole at every level of resolution.
It is a great reference point for us.
As individuals, we are complete ourselves, but are also members of larger wholes (our families, our work organizations, our community, county, state, country, and world).
We are also made up of wholes at smaller levels of resolution, which include our internal organs, cells, atoms, DNA, etc.
Thus, we are whole at every measure. But we don’t feel it.
This is evidenced by data showing many in our population feel isolated, fragmented and alone. In fact, isolation, chronic stress and lack of connection have been identified as key drivers of opioid use and chronic disease.
Importantly, using the UCLA loneliness index administered to 20,000 U.S. citizens 18 years and older, Cigna found 18-to-22 year old young adults are the self-reported loneliest part of our population.
Moreover, around 50 percent of Americans feel sometimes or always feeling alone and left out. 43 percent of Americans feel isolated from others.
I believe that the perception of isolation, fragmentation and loneliness stimulates our sympathetic nervous system and puts us in the chronic stress orbit.
Elizabeth Blackburn and Elisa Epel demonstrated that the perception of chronic stress accelerated biological aging as measured by change in telomere length in young women by up to 14.7 years.
Getting back to the beginning question set. What is our purpose?
I think it is to reconnect to our connections to others, to nature, to beauty and to our inner selves.
One of my favorite quotes is Rumi. “Yesterday, I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today, I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
I think this is the secret to our shared purpose – rediscovering ourselves as deeply connected to the larger whole and find fulfillment within ourselves and then help others do the same.
When we do this, we again look through the eyes of a child with wonder, discovery and creativity.
We become self-actualized and enlightened to the beauty all around us, including our health.