Life Purpose and Life Force in Confusing Times

Like many people today, I am worried about my country. Many pundits and authorities have commented on the deep divide between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, Red States and Blue States, capitalism versus socialism, and every other controversy you can think of. Another difficulty is how each side frames the problem in its own terms, blaming the other for what seems to be the same worries. This increases conflict, animosities, hatred and, as we have seen, violence.

Rather than focus on conflict, however, I would like you to stop doomscrolling for a few minutes and look inward instead.

Amid the conflicting demands on our lives, the challenges of a global pandemic, a faltering economy, and one’s own health, it can be difficult to sort what’s important from what’s not. Any and all of it can obscure the most important obligation of all—the one we have not just to ourselves but to our souls as spiritual beings.

Our Life Purpose

That obligation constitutes our life purpose. We are, after all, here for a reason. Our souls did not decide to come here just for the heck of it. And by “here” I mean planet Earth, America, and the families we were born into. We have work to do throughout our lifetimes that has nothing to do with what we normally consider work.

I realize that not everyone reading this might believe that they have a soul—but that doesn’t mean they don’t have one. The soul exists outside of space and time but it must learn things through each person within space and time. Think of your body as a rubber glove and your soul is the hand that reaches into physical reality to have experiences that support the soul’s life purpose.

In this life, we each have a personal life purpose—which is more than a job, a calling, or a vocation. It is bigger than any one thing. You may have felt a calling to become a doctor, an artist, or a lawyer. But that will not constitute your entire life. You will may enjoy a family, a hobby, travel, or crafts and those are important to your overall life purpose.

The Seven Components of Life Purpose

So, to help us understand what we need to do and how to sort through the competing demands on us, we have the Seven Components of Life Purpose. I have taken them from a book called, “Menus for Impulsive Living” written by Kurt Leland. Kurt, whom I have known for over 30 years, is a composer, musician, poet, author, and channeler.

If your eyebrows are now brushing your hairline and the Twilight Zone theme is running through your head, please set aside your skepticism and keep reading.

  1. Service to the Body

Nutritious food, healthy food, service to the body, life purposeThis is anything done to enhance the body’s ability to perform as a vehicle for the lessons of the soul. Many of us have heard that we should treat our body as a temple. That’s not bad advice because the body is the vehicle through which the soul learns its lessons in physical reality.

The better shape your body is in, the easier it is to learn those lessons. Feeding it properly with nourishing food and exercising regularly are not just what the doctor ordered, they are important to your soul as well. On the other side of the prescription, as we all know, are not overusing drugs, tobacco or alcohol, which diminish the body’s ability to function efficiently.

  1. Service to the Soul

dreaming, DeviantArt, lucid dreaming

Courtesy of DeviantArt

Service to the soul refers to anything you do that furthers the lessons your soul must learn in physical reality. Usually, this involves confronting every situation life has to offer without resisting it.

These situations may be external, like interactions with others, work issues, and family problems. Or they can be internal, as with psychic experiences or dreams. Yes, dreams have meaning. They are not just random firings of neurons in your brain.

You can fulfill this aspect of your life purpose by reading how to handle situations that cause conflict, taking therapy sessions, or attending self-development seminars. I must confess, I am not big on these latter activities myself but I see where they can help.

Abdicating life experiences can be a choice but, in the long run, it will not help your soul’s growth. Remember: If you try to avoid facing life, your soul learns nothing.

Creator and Personality

  1. Service to the Creator

This means anything you do to realize a creative project. Creating something helps make us aware of having been created ourselves to fulfill a special function within the universe. So, this step requires no bowing, kneeling, genuflecting, praying, or confessing.

We are created in the image of God and we, therefore, have the gift of creativity. By becoming a creator ourselves in some way, we learn to appreciate the magnificence of the greater Creation. The traditional arts serve this purpose but you don’t have to write the Great American Novel or paint like Andrew Wyeth to be a creator.

basket weaving, Nguyen PhanChanh

“Basketweaving” by Nguyen PhanChanh

Craftsmanship counts, too, as does cooking, woodworking, throwing pots, knitting, dancing, composing music, or weaving baskets. Find a way to create that you enjoy and that speaks to you—then do it.

An important component is to share your creativity with others by showing the work to them or performing it for them. The size of the audience is immaterial. Children perform for their parents and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra plays for thousands. Sharing helps you to become fully aware of what you have learned about yourself as a human being through a creative act.

  1. Service to the Personality

Here’s a big one. This means anything done to realize within oneself as much as possible of the vast storehouse of human capability. That sounds pretty daunting. We have an almost unlimited number of expressive characteristics available to us and part of our life purpose is to realize as much of our humanity as possible in terms of range and depth of feeling. Developing your intellectual and psychic capacities are equally important.

The more feelings and capacities you explore and include in your life, the richer you will make your personality and the experience of daily living. Your social persona is another form of creativity and socializing lets you perform this creation. Allow yourself to be as expressive of who you really are as possible—as long as you are not doing it just to call attention to yourself. Your expression encourages other people to express themselves and thus enrich their lives.

Family and Humanity

  1. Service to Family

Here we have anything done to help blood relatives or the spiritual family of one’s closest friends to fulfill their individual life purposes, as well as allowing them to aid themselves in the same way.

Norman Rockwell, Freedom from Hunger, the Four Freedoms, illustration

Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell

Some of us may find this service difficult because we have families who, shall we say, don’t encourage this kind of service. In that case, reach out and make your closest friends your spiritual family. This has been happening more frequently with the concept of “Friendsgiving” in which the family of the heart comes together to celebrate and give thanks. Part of your life purpose is to help and guide your family toward self-realization. Another part—equally important—is to allow them to guide and help you.

FYI—this does not mean you must have children. But if you make that decision, your life purpose expands to care for them to the best of your ability.

  1. Service to Humanity

The sixth service is anything done to enhance the physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual well-being of mankind. In today’s contentious political and social environment, this may feel like a tall order indeed.

Service to Humanity, Helping Someone Sad,.life purpose, kindness

Courtesy of Lauren Hrybyk for NPR

If you are fortunate, your job may be an expression of this service. Remember, you don’t have to touch the lives of everyone on the planet or even in the country to achieve service to humanity. Instead, work in some way toward bettering the physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual well-being of mankind—even if that encompasses just a handful of people.

This service can start a series of ripples in which the people you helped become more likely to help others and those others reach out to another sector of humanity, and so on. Thus, a small accomplishment may over time touch the lives of a much larger portion of humankind.

Quality of Life

  1. Service to All Life

service to all life, life purpose, interconnected web of life, wildlife,Here we have anything done to better the quality of life for other beings on the planet, whether animal or vegetable, flora or fauna. We must work to improve the quality of life for earth’s myriad species, whether through direct interaction, in-depth study, support for organizations that benefit the environment, endangered species, wilderness preservation, or environmental clean-up.

Again, you don’t have to go one-on-one with a Japanese whaling ship to accomplish this service. Some people are called on for such direct action while others simply support the work. Pick up your trash, use less plastic, feed the birds, be kind to animals. These are simple things anyone can do.

A Marathon, Not a Sprint

Okay, that’s a lot to digest and you’re probably wondering how this helps when you already have a full plate of work, household chores, child rearing, and other duties. Don’t sweat it. Your lifetime is a marathon, not a sprint.

Buddhist monk, meditation, overcoming fear, controlling emotionsYou also don’t have to leave your job and your family and go to a Tibetan monastery to find your life purpose and become who you truly are. That might actually mean abdicating the kinds of life experiences you need to grow spiritually.

Your soul has your back. It will send you impulses and opportunities that are timed so you can realize yourself fully in all the ways required over a lifetime. The trick is to be open to these impulses and to act on them when they occur. You may think they come from God, Jesus, Mohammed, your guardian angel, etc. That doesn’t matter. Just listen and trust them.

Increasing Life Force

The closer you come to discovering how best to fulfill your life purpose in each of these areas, more of the life force flows through you. This will make you feel enthusiastic, motivated, happy, satisfied, and youthful. What could be bad?

Especially now, when so many of us feel worn down. At this point in time, we need all the mental and emotional support we can get.

 

 

 

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at aknextphase.com. She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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