Theist: God’s purpose is your purpose.
Agnostic: Should there be a purpose?. I don’t mind.
Atheist: There is no purpose in your life. You just exist.
[Below four paragraphs are my life experiences. You can skip to the next section if you want to]
For a brief period during my childhood, I was a theist. More than love for god, it’s a Friday routine in my home to stand in front of the Hindu gods and recite Gayathri Mantra. I was encouraged to talk to god and even ask anything that I want. I never got anything from God anyway. When my little brain started thinking rationally, there were many questions in my mind around god, religion and pretty much everything else in this world. I did ask everyone I know, about religion & god and did not get any satisfactory answer. I transitioned myself to a agnostic. I was there for a while.
Slowly over the years, my beliefs were strengthened with lots of observations. When I become a atheist, it was such an exhilarating freedom, feeling on top of the world. When everyone else I know feared god in one way or other (during my school days), I was the only one - fearless. The downside is that I did not respect anyone (elders, teachers etc), started doing nonsensical things (going to temple and spit on idols - just to prove my friends that I don’t fear God - I think during sixth grade) and during the adolescent years, quickly acquired all the unhealthy habits that you can think of. I was leading a carefree, take-it-easy lifestyle, throughout my college days.
Then I met Sofia, in the corporate environment - who eventually become a close family friend. I call her, my sister. Would you believe that I quit smoking & drinking in one day?. Yes. Such was her influence on me. She showed me the importance of having a good interpersonal relationship with everyone, respecting others beliefs, having my own personal values to live by etc. I changed drastically, but not completely. I would call myself a mature atheist, who has a personal value system to live by.
I call these phases (theist, agnostic, atheist etc) in my life as contexts through which I try to understand life. I would like to fit myself into as many contexts as possible and perceive life from different angles. I am willing to undergo a context against my belief system, just to experience the other side. I never thought about doing this, until I read Steve’s blog. I accidentally read this article How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes by Steve Pavlina and decided to try it.
Steve Pavlina suggests the below steps to identify your purpose in about 20 minutes.
That’s it. Sounds very simple. The time taken will vary, depending on the awareness level of the people. I took about 90 minutes to complete this exercise. I fell into the low-awareness category. Hmm…
When I started, I decided that I will write everything that comes to my mind, however silly, wild, nonsensical they are. Actually, there were many of them. hehe. Here is how my list of purposes started …
It was more like a To-Do list, rather than the purpose of my whole existence. I did not feel any emotion or resonate with any of the ideas. After an hour of this exercise, I felt the urge to stop it and sleep. It was 3 AM in the morning. I told myself that I will not sleep until I complete this exercise. In one hour, I wrote about 60 items and none of them resonate with my emotions. I kept thinking and squeezing my mind for more. I kept writing whatever that comes to my mind. The 63rd item I wrote was, “Finish off this exercise and sleep well” - WTF?. Is this the purpose of my life?. I laughed hard at this item. This is the first emotion I experienced in this exercise so far. I felt that I am too tired to continue, but persisted for another 20 minutes.
A simple thought came to my mind. Suddenly, I could feel the gush of freshness flowing to my eyes (the kind you get, when drinking Red-bull during long night drives). I could hear my heartbeat. I felt very fresh and started writing paragraphs after paragraphs. The Yurekha moment!… This was strange. I never felt this feeling before for a simple thought. It was item 73 and then the thought is this…
Should there be only one purpose in my life?
We are not like shaving razors or sanitary napkins. Created for a purpose, use and throw. C’mon guys. We are human beings, capable of doing multiple things efficiently at the same time. There were many questions & dialogues happening in my mind around 3.30 AM in the morning…
Why should we choose only one item for the purpose of our lives, when we are exceptionally good at multiple things?.
What restricts us?.
Can there be more than one purpose in our lives at the same time?
Can there be different purposes at different stages of our lives?
Can one purpose at one point in time, push us forward to pursue a higher/better purpose later?
These questions resonate with what I am. If I look back into my life, I was too much into Bodybuilding at some time. A few months later, I was into Poetry and did not work out at all. A few months later, I was into blogging and then into reading books, into traveling, into raw vegan lifestyle etc. Sometimes, it is exclusive and sometimes multiple items together. That is how I was and I am. How can I choose only one of them for my purpose in my life? It’s not fair. I would not be living completely if I choose to ignore many other interests for one interest.
I can be a writer, poet, photographer, bodybuilder, raw vegan, entrepreneur, angel investor, social activist, politician etc., at some point in my life and do it exceptionally well. I can be the master of all trades that I get into. So, I can define my life’s purpose as,
Live life with an attitude that each goal of mine should be treated as the only purpose of my existence at that point in time. Keep changing the goals to push me forward and help others to do the same.
OK. I identified my purpose in my life. To be precise, I had written down the mission statement of my life. What changes now?. A simple paradigm shift in the thought process !. More clarity on how to pursue my interests in my life. No more confusions. Is this mission statement final?. No. It may, I think it will change in future, based on my new experiences.
What is the difference between theists having a purpose assigned by religion and me having a purpose decided by myself?. It’s the difference between being a robot and a human being.
I think I am moving into a new context - a matured atheist with a mission statement!. Let’s see how it goes.
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