This is a follow up to my recent post, “Life Purpose: Do I have One? How to Find it?” in which I promised to describe in detail some of the twelve processes useful to me in finding my life purpose.
That post and this one will be of interest to you if you’ve ever wondered what life is all about and if there is a purpose to your life.
Recapping the previous post:
- Yes, I have a purpose in life; one that’s unique to me alone.
- I uncovered my unique life purpose through intensive self-reflection, research/reading, trial and error, and coaching.
- Life purpose is not what I do, it’s who I am.
- My emotions point to the truth.
Each of the twelve processes I describe in my book is a form of focused self-reflection. I’ve picked two processes to illustrate here; the first being Stream of Consciousness.
1. Stream of Consciousness
This process was the most powerful for me. To begin, remind yourself that your purpose in life is within you and has been since birth. It’s part of your soul. This process allows the knowledge to surface to your consciousness.
Find a quiet place, somewhere you won’t be disturbed for at least forty-five minutes. Turn off your cell phone. No TV, no music, no sources of interruption. Equip yourself with pen and paper or open your computer to a blank word processor page.
Get comfortable, feet flat on the floor.
Take a few very deep, very slow breaths. Breathe in for a count of four or five, hold it for a count of two or three, and exhale for a count of two or three. Pause for a count of two or three and repeat the whole process. Do this four or five times, until you’re relaxed and peaceful.
At the top of your page write, My Life Purpose Is…
Skip down a couple of lines and start writing.
Write whatever comes into your mind. Don’t think about it, don’t re-phrase it, don’t worry about grammar and spelling. Just write what comes into your mind.
Initially you’ll probably think of things that “should” be your purpose, but probably aren’t. That’s okay, the process requires that you purge these things, getting them out of the way for the real stuff to come out. Keep writing. Don’t think, just write. If it comes to mind, write it down.
Ignore the clock, this could take some time—twenty or thirty minutes to get clarity is not unusual. Stick with it until you write something that seems to come with a blast of clarity and a burst of emotion.
Positive Emotion Is Your Indicator
When I used this process, after about twenty minutes I wrote something that I knew in my heart was my purpose—and I cried, tears of joy filled my eyes and I could feel the joy of purpose surrounding me. It was a wonderful emotional event, bringing me the freedom and joy of finding life purpose.
Your reactions may be different than mine, but when you’ve purged the false purpose components you’ve accumulated over the years and opened the path for true purpose to surface, you will experience strong positive emotion. Your purpose statement may lack polish and completeness at this point, but if you felt strong positive emotion, you’ve just uncovered the core of who you are and why you’re alive. Congratulations!
What now? Just relax and absorb the revelations of purpose for a few days. Let this new understanding of life rest in your subconscious. Over time your subconscious will surface insights that further clarify your purpose. Give the process some time to flesh out the details.
If Stream of Consciousness hasn’t been helpful, perhaps this next process will be: Times of Great Joy.
2. Times of Great Joy
Recall a time when you felt very good about yourself, when you were at your very best.
You were filled with pride, possibly even amazed at something you accomplished. This may have felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, something you either couldn’t repeat or wouldn’t have the opportunity to repeat.
This may take some thinking, perhaps even a few days to let your subconscious call up memories associated with great joy.
Some examples from my personal experience include witnessing the birth of a child, rescuing a child who was choking, and several coaching situations where the insightful questions I asked helped my client reach a significant breakthrough.
You’ve had these times-of-joy moments, too. Perhaps infrequently, maybe many years ago, but you’ve had them and they’re valuable insight opportunities on your life purpose quest.
Life Purpose Brings Out Our Best
When you have one or two of these special situation moments in mind, recall the qualities or behavior characteristics you displayed. Remember to focus on states of being from which your actions and behaviors arose.
These qualities or characteristics of you at your very best are components of your life purpose. For when you’re aligned with purpose, you’re at your very best. Purpose alignment is how you managed to achieve what may have seemed impossible, lucky, and unrepeatable. When you’re aligned with purpose, nothing is impossible.
Is Purpose Still Illusive?
If Stream of Consciousness and Times of Great Joy haven’t helped you find that spark of positive emotion signaling your life purpose, maybe you’re pressing too hard. Rather than pushing to discover your inner wisdom, relax and focus on being open, allowing your inner knowledge to surface.
Make time in each day for quiet reflection. Simply sit quietly or walk with no purpose other than to be alive and open.