Shuffling papers, meeting with clients, crisis interventions, meetings, family contacts, documentation…Getting busy, staying busy, feeling productive. And then a shadow emerges out of a corridor, a half-broken figure, contorted, confused and healing- to thank you but you can’t remember for what… a smile and then you remember you only placed your hand on his shoulder and uttered four words. The smile is reciprocated and you realize that this whole time you’ve been busy with nothing and the most productive thing you’ll ever do is tell someone “I’m here for you.”
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 know you won’t understand but in my lifetime I’ve seen the most beautiful thing life has to offer. I’ve seen the priceless battle of broken people creatively changing and overcoming toxic patterns. So beautiful and it’s costs me nothing” -Unknown
They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I believe everyone we encounter is our greatest teacher. The world serves as a mirror in which through experiences and interactions we learn more about the undesirable parts of ourselves we tend to overlook. The people we dislike or disagree with often reveal the characteristics within us we need to change. I’ve often become easily hurt at the indifference and aloofness of others, later taking an honest inventory of my own indifferences, that fearful part that would rather avoid social responsibility. There are people who just won’t change, a world that just won’t relent, and many breaks we just can’t catch… and yet they are all so charitable in giving us the knowledge of what needs to change within us. The world is a vast educational platform and its people are the mentors by which we discover who we want or don’t want to be. Most of us have been hurt beyond reconciliation by the people we love most. But if there’s any good that comes of it, may it be discovering parts of ourselves in others that we vow to change and never repeat.
Inside every person is the built in desire for salvation. This need is two-fold: we want to save and be saved. Children and adults long to encounter or become the heroes of society. We look deep within and ponder the possibilities of saving those in great need, and we await to be relieved of our problems-to a time where our troubles will all make sense. But rarely is the meaning of heroes, salvation, and reconciliation ever explained. We entertain, fantasize, and pray of attaining qualities of heroship but when the process of attaining begins to happen, we give it up. This is because the character building of usefulness doesn’t come in light and power- it comes in struggles and suffering. It comes in understanding the human condition and being able to navigate through the negative aspects of life and the mind. A person who doesn’t understand the map of insanity…of depravity, cannot save a lost soul trapped in the trenches of the underworld. Both would be lost and consumed by the darkness. A person that wishes to be used effectively must understand that his reward is in rescuing others, but the price is knowing first hand the atrocities that imprison them.
If you’re struggling with something too deep to express, have you considered you may be in a process of preparation to one day help a few or perhaps many people? Remember, the greatest heroes in history were not those with crowns but carried wounds for the sake of being used in a purposeful way.
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.
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.
Separating our identities from our work is contradictory to nature. Like any species, our dispositions should always be a reflection of what we do-our life’s work. When we examine a living thing and become captivated by some of its features, we find these parts to be a vital component to what makes its function unique from other animals. The wings of an eagle enable it to soar at high altitudes; the oil of a mechanic’s hands never seem to fully wash away, giving him an advantage of day to day manual labor. Similarly, what we occupy ourselves with will always manifest in our demeanors. The man who spends his years in caring and guiding others, by nature, exhudes a psychological and spiritual aura of genuine love.