Your Life Purpose Is Messaging You
By Deepak Chopra, MD
In troubled times the chaos around you need not be reflected inside you. One of the strongest ways to remain on course is to find and know your purpose. There are many ways to combat stress, but the most powerful are associated with feeling secure about who you are and why you were put here. Likewise, feeling that you are on course with your purpose is effective in keeping away anxiety and depression.
Have you been able to find your life’s purpose yet? If so, do you feel that you are on track with your purpose? When they first enter the job market, many young people take the best job they can find, and sometimes the only job. There’s little or no room to think about something as grand and far-reaching as their purpose in life. But eventually the issue arises. Of all the things that make human beings unique, needing purpose and meaning in our lives is one of the most prominent.
In the tradition of Yoga, your purpose is already waiting for you. It exists at a deeper level of awareness than the mental activity that fills the mind constantly. If it sounds alien and exotic to imagine that your purpose already exists, there is a famous Western equivalent. In the Eighties the great scholar of mythology, Joseph Campbell, invented the phrase “Follow your bliss,” which almost instantly entered into popular usage.
The notion that you should find work that brings you bliss and joy is appealing, but Campbell, who had a deep understanding of Eastern spiritual traditions, meant something more. By following your bliss, he contended, “…the life you ought to be living is the one you are living.” This holds out a vision that is radically different from the notion that hard work, persistence, and keeping your shoulder to the wheel are the keys to success. As Campbell explained, “Follow your bliss, don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
At first glance it might seem that he is advising people to jump ship from their current unfulfilling job to grow roses or become an opera singer, but in reality Campbell was aligning himself with the Indian concept of Dharma. The word derives from a Sanskrit verb that means “to uphold.” Your dharma is the way of life supported by the power of pure or cosmic consciousness.
You don’t have to believe in either Dharma or “follow your bliss” to experience what countless before you have experienced, namely, that there is a path to finding our purpose that includes many ingredients. Here are the main ones.
· You love your work and feel energized by it.
· You feel that you and the job are a good fit.
· Your surroundings at work are low in stress, pressure, and office politics.
· You contribute something valuable and earn respect for what you do.
· You fulfill some personal ideals, such as being of service, reaching your full potential, or feeling that your work expands your horizons.
· There is an element of creativity in what you do.
· You feel that your co-workers are trustworthy and loyal. The same goes for supervisors and bosses.
These factors will bring you closer to your life’s purpose by giving you a purpose today. You don’t need to read a crystal ball into the future. Dharma is a path that unfolds in consciousness. By walking it, you discover more and more about yourself, and this brings you closer to a purpose that has evolved with you.
Unfortunately, most people don’t see themselves on such a path. They might rate a job according to salary and prestige, for example. Yet the Gallup Organization’s polling data strongly suggests that this focus doesn’t work. Worldwide Gallup asks people to rate whether they are thriving or merely surviving. Even in prosperous Western societies only about one-third of respondents report that they are thriving.
Thriving isn’t measured by your bank account, the size of your house, or how many people work under you. It is measured by your level of well-being. This message is starting to sink in already in many people’s lives, particularly in these unsettled times. Campbell was a harbinger of the future, but his advice also echoes centuries past.
At this moment many people want suggestions about returning to their purpose after a time of disruption. Here are some tips.
· Don’t try to regain lost progress all at once. Begin with activities that are part of your purpose.
· A good beginning is to find ways to be of service in small ways with people who are in need.
· The key is to feel confident about what you have to give to the world. You can sit down and make a list of your talents and strengths. Then write down one or two ways to use each one in the coming days.
· Remember that your purpose isn’t the same as your career. Keep your sight fixed on that powerful phrase, “the life you ought to be living.” Expand this to include everything that brings you closer to your ideal, and if your career hasn’t returned to its previous levels, you can still give of your time, effort, and emotional support to those around you.
Keep your ideals before you. Believe in a higher vision of life and live accordingly. Raise your expectations as high as your ideals. These have been the hallmarks of dharma for millennia, and they hold true today as much, if not more, than ever.
DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book and national bestseller, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books), unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his latest book, Living in the Light co-authored with Sarah Platt-Finger. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com