What is the true purpose of our life, we wonder. Is it to achieve greatness or amass wealth? Is it to excel in some field or serve the masses? Is to live a life of pleasure and indulgence? For almost all of us, years or even decades of searching for our true purpose has been futile. We never seem to find a single lasting purpose for being here at this time and place. No wonder we are aimlessly running after shiny bright things and what we assume to be pleasurable experiences. In the bargain we merely end up with frustration as nothing we do seems to satisfy us beyond a short period of time.
The simple fact is that our life’s true purpose, the real reason why we were born here, has to be chosen by us. Instead if we go searching for it in the world we will never find it. Our true purpose has to make an impact on the world and must be capable of surviving any storm or catastrophe for the entire period we are alive. The only human purpose that fully meets this criterion is working with other humans and living beings to reduce their suffering. If we adopt any other purpose, we will lose it along the way and end up depressed and disillusioned.
Our passion is any work we do that gives us lasting satisfaction and joy. When we are able to use all our skills and abilities to make a great impact, whatever we are doing becomes our passion. People can find their passion in many different activities. Our passion can be found in sports, arts, research, leadership, travel or a million other activities that bring out the best in us. Every human has his or her own passion. Many may even possess multiple passions. But today very few of us follow our passions. Instead we would prefer to spend our lives fruitlessly in the rat race. This way lies boredom, illnesses and a meaningless life and death. Of course, we actively encourage our children to follow in our safe footsteps.
Following our passions is said to be risky as we may lose all in the search of a mirage. The aspiring actor never gets a break; nor does the talented sportsman. The author’s stories are rejected by all the publishers and the great ideas of the brilliant innovator never see the light of the day. Thus discouraged we always advise our children to denounce their passions in favour of reality and live the life of a disciplined zombie. This kills them as surely as physical death. It is true that our passions may be divorced from the reality of our lives. The boy from the slum wants to become a Formula 1 racer. The frail old man wants to use non-violence to confront the guns and tanks of the unscrupulous regime. It is possible that despite our best efforts we achieve nothing. The risks associated with following our passion are not an excuse for dying to our life and walking the earth as zombies for decades. A careful observation of other people reveals that many passionate people succeed in their fields despite all the odds. So there must be a way to follow our passions and still succeed.
Aligning Passion with Purpose
When we align our passions with our true purpose we succeed irrespective of the odds. When we work passionately to alleviate the sufferings of all living things and the environment, we achieve success beyond all our expectations. When we, through careful observation, discover what we are good at and what makes us happy and use them to serve life on the earth, we are supported by the entire universe. There is no force on earth that can stop us. Opposition cannot stand before us. Whatever we do gives us enormous satisfaction and unending joy. At the same time it attracts support from every corner to ensure its success as the benevolent effects ripple through the universe. This is the real secret of success!
Born in the rich culture of South India and educated in English, I have been exposed to two opposing world views enabling me to achieve synergy and realize true harmony. I belong to linguistic community “Saurashtra” who were silk weavers patronised by kings of yore. Our ancestors are said to have migrated from Western part of India to Tamil Nadu in the South several centuries ago. Growing up in the country as India underwent its pangs of Westernisation, I was able to synthesise the self oriented Western perspective with the community oriented native one to arrive at a wholesome concept of self after considerable efforts and experimentation. My forthcoming book “Searching for Self – In Pursuit of Inner Peace” is the culmination of this labour.