We all pray. The act of communing with a Higher Power is as an innate survival mechanism as any bodily function. Just as our bodies depend on the involuntary process of breathing, our mind depends on prayer for the survival of the spirit. You may say “but I don’t pray.” We all pray, perhaps not in the way we define as prayer. When the mind communes with a higher part of itself in order to seek answers dormant in our awareness, we are praying. We may do this with words, songs, cries, thoughts, or even understanding. If all things spiritual originate from within, then prayer is the projection, the outward demonstration of an inner dealing by which the mind orients itself and gains purpose. We shouldn’t look for prayer as a part of a ritual that fulfills some kind of religious obligation, but as the guiding system that provides direction towards our highest good. In prayer, the pious and atheist find answers to common problems. Whether visible prayer is part of our daily lives or not, we all pray ceaselessly.
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.
In battle, a soldier who is severely wounded is given morphine for the sedation of pain. One would hardly think this to be a remedy to his affliction as negating essential medical care would most likely be fatal. However, we can say the administering of an opium is a temporary means to provide a relief of suffering. In the same sense I wonder, have we become a nation of “wounded soldiers” begging for the quick relief of “morphine”and opting out of the critical internal process that ultimately preserves us? Our own experience can attest that using pleasure as an ends in itself is destructive. While using pleasure as a means to bring us closer to spiritual matters is not only beneficial but necessary to sustaining the spiritual life within a person. For example someone may involve themselves in a relationship in order to fill a spiritual void or that person may choose to involve themselves with someone as an opportunity to commit to selflessness and authentic love- acts that bring him or her closer to knowing G_d. One thing to always keep in mind when dealing with pleasure and pain is that we can never remedy our inner pain with external “things.” This illusion, the “once I have all my ducks in a row then I can be happy” approach, seems to be the cause of many compulsive pleasure seeking behaviors. Sadly, many times than not, it also becomes a barrier to the ultimate reality that happiness is sought, obtained, and preserved on the spiritual plane.
Productivity doesn’t always equal dollars and cents. If a man places all his energy on acquiring wealth, it is similar to making digestion a focal point of one’s life. A basic drive should never be an aim in life. Rather, equilibrium should be a byproduct of the process by which we strive for higher needs. In other words, wealth is a great thing when it is obtained as a result of sacrifice and love- not when the latter is sacrificed at the expense of obtaining the former.