The Purpose of Life

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

We tend to make everything overly complicated. We do this repeatedly in our existence and particularly in our search for meaning in life, for our purpose in living. Rather than see its elegant simplicity we intellectualize it and attempt to construct some form of theoretical understanding in reference to what we’ve been taught and what we’ve learned from experience. In other words we use our intellects to make up a purpose. It is no wonder that we feel uncertain and confused about our purpose.

So we look to scriptures, the writings of great thinkers, or the productions of great artists to reveal to us the meaning and purpose of our lives. For some that seems to bring comfort. But, they are comforted only because they don’t invest significant time and energy in processing the logic of the solutions. They simply defer to someone else’s ideas. With a little reflection though, the purported purpose is realized to be unsatisfactory.

How sad, that our minds convince us that our purpose has to be difficult to discern. Our purpose in existing should be simple and patently obvious to all. Only our intellects would need to look for something obscure and complex. Simply put, thinking prevents us from seeing. So, let’s look without thinking. Let’s simply look around us.

The purpose of life should be revealed in the present moment, not in our hazily remembered and reconstructed past and not in our imagined and projected future, but right now. The only time that we can have a purpose is right now. So why not look for it there.

If we look carefully at what we’re experiencing right now in the present moment without thinking or reference to the past or future, we will experience an incredible panoply of sensations that arise and fall away, arise and fall away, arise and fall away. If we try to grasp ahold of any of them we fail and become unhappy. But, if we simply sit back and let whatever comes come and whatever goes go, we experience the beauty of the ever changing present. We can come to enjoy the pleasure and wonder of the richness of every moment. We can see it for the miracle that it actually is.

This quickly leads to the patently obvious conclusion that the purpose of life is simply to experience it. Nothing more! If we truly stop trying to make it complicated and simply focusing on experiencing what is there right in front of us, a revelation begins to dawn on us that our purpose is not to come up with an intellectual answer to produce meaning but simply to experience the meaning that is revealed in every single moment.

How wonderfully obvious and simple!

It’s not rocket science. It’s simply seeing the wonder of existence and allowing it to play out for us.

So, experience life in all its glory and fulfill your purpose.

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  ― Eleanor Roosevelt

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” -Dalai Lama

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

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