We talk too much, often expressing what we think we desire rather than taking time to listen to ourselves… it’s no wonder we fluctuate between anxiety and depression. Our default focus tends to be on the anxiety producing concerns of what others are thinking or doing, on what should be or could be, and on what appears as the accepting consensus. All the while, the depressed soul withers from its unattended cries of purpose, identity, needs, and passions. It’s hard to explain this to the disquieted person. It seems it has become easier to increase dosages and wait in line for a prescription than to address the pressing matter of who we really are, what living is really about, and how to live according to our individual purpose. We live in a sedated society, medicated by detached practitioners who themselves, through ignorance, evade the real issues and causes of anxiety, depression, addiction, and other ailments.
I remember as a child before going to sleep, I’d turn the lights off and dash straight for the bed. I’d strain my eyes open, desperately seeking light- that minute of waiting felt like an eternity. I’d initially feel a sense of dread staring into the nothingness of the air, nothing could be seen beyond the opaqueness of the night. In that minute I’d think, “there is nothing, I am nothing.” I was small, consumed by a great void. This terrorized me. But as the minute passed, the darkness faded. Small rays of light dispersed through the room and I’d begin to see. I could see myself. I was put together. I wasn’t so small after all. I could look at my surroundings…my hands, and smile. The wonderful realization about this process was coming to understand later that no matter how dark I had perceived my surroundings to be, the light was always there, waiting for me to grasp it. I just had to hold on and patiently trust it would show up.
On a psychological and emotional level, we lose precious souls because it becomes too dark within. A moment of despair can feel like an eternity where light never comes. We desperately look around. We become restless. We feel small. We say we’re nothing or nothing matters. But the night is only temporary, it was only a reaction to a sudden change we needed to adjust to. The light is coming. It has come. You are awake… you look at yourself. You’re not so small. As a matter of fact, you’re pretty f****** beautiful. You love yourself more, and best of all, you’ve learned to love the night.
I always thought that statement was pretty tacky, something someone said when they had had no other way of consoling a friend in crisis. In times of difficulty, a few friends used these words and I’d brush them off, reflecting on the corny nature of the statement. As if four words can take away the burden of the presenting problem. I’d think how easy it was for them to say those words, those wasteful words they’d assume had some profound affect and I would snap out of my depression and resume a happy life all because I was “not alone.” But then one day it got pretty dark…so dark that I doubted I’d ever come out of it. Then, I heard the words “you are not alone.” These words became the flickering light in the depths of despair by which I was able to find my way back again.”
If you are hurting and in a dark place, please remember, you are not alone…
Most of depression stems from a lack of identity. We all have the need to identify with something in order to fulfill a sense of purpose. The problem is that we never fully grasp what that purpose is.. we have many messages telling us that we can become anything and that there is a purpose for every individual on earth.. yet, rare is any instruction or knowledge directing us on how to get there. I look around and see many driven and motivated people going to school or working a respectable job but there’s something missing… there’s still a seeking, there’s still that void and in one way or another they are asking the question “what is my purpose?”
The reason why we don’t see that purpose actualizing is because we have our interest in too many areas taking up too much time, too much energy, too much effort. This leaves us scattered knowing a little bit of everything yet takes us away from connecting and identifying with our life’s work-our true purpose. Having too many interests is a good sign of motivation but it leaves us in a state of purposelessness and it takes away the needed resources to place on that one thing we could master. When you place all your time and effort into learning and applying a craft, it will become a part of you. Overtime you show your life’s work in how you carry yourself, in your thoughts, actions, speech, and overall surroundings- in everything and the people you attract. When this begins to happen you will know you are living with a purpose.
So my suggestion is to choose and follow one passion and with your time, effort, and resources, attempt to master it, allow it to become a part of your life. Allow this process to permeate and change you from the inside out. Over time your question of “what is my purpose” will be answered with a sense of fulfillment and peace.
In the human body a cell that has lost its usefulness, that is, it is unable to carry out the function it was created for, will nullify itself through a process called ‘apoptosis.’ The term, also known as cell death occurs when the cell no longer serves a critical function in the organism. Similarly, when a man or woman lives a life void of his or her intended purpose, they will pursue a path of self-nullification known as suicide.
Taking this into account, the only surprising thing on suicide is that it surprises us at all. We live in a society that bombards us with ways to stay updated and simultaneously astray. When the mainstream becomes the sole source of education on who we are and what we are intended for, a spiritually empty culture is formed. When we cannot find our purpose of living, we lose our drive to persevere through the lulls and challenges of daily living. Our objective should then be to diligently seek that purpose which resides deeply within (not without) all of mankind.
When it has crossed a man’s mind to put an end to his own existence, he should be aware that three things eagerly press him. 1) He hopes to escape his feelings; 2) He hopes to escape his circumstances; and 3) He hopes to escape himself. “Suicidal” can then be perceived for its true meaning: a call for a person to change and recreate themselves. When we hear someone say the grievous words “I want to die”, they are expressing an intense plea for a new reality. Unfortunately, many have misperceived this sign as a want to end their physical lives. Our feelings of despair can serve as the point where we make the decision to leave the old self behind and embark on a journey towards living a deeper and more meaningful life.
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Is it really possible to make meaning out of every moment? Some people may say that their lives are characterized by a general sense of design and meaning but to say our daily occurrences and experiences are filled with purpose may seem like a spiritual ideal-an inspirational quote at best. If life contains order and perfect design, why are our daily routines lacking purpose? The problem lies in distorted roles. We have become infatuated with our stance on receiving and have neglected the natural life sustaining approach of bestowal. At every turn of our waking hours we are bombarded by someone or something attempting to sell us a product that will provide gratification. As a result, this has increasingly become our default mode in which our innate drive to give and love altruistically has withered under the illusion of ‘receiving equals fulfillment.’ The obsession to have is a subtle addiction producing apathy and indifference towards others. Many times than not, the cause of depression and anxiety stems from an existential crisis where purpose is lacking and the individual finds no meaning. Once the distorted belief that attaining ‘things’ is broken (switching mindset from receiving to giving) and the individual begins living a life of service in which love, elevation, and healing is bestowed on to others, the meaning of one’s purpose is drastically enhanced.
We spend too much time attempting to create more light amidst darkness. Instead, we should work to dispel the darkness to give way to the abundant light that is already there.
I’m convinced in the end we’ll find that helplessness was nothing more than a symptom of a spiritually invigorated life curtailed.