One evening, during our recent Master Practitioner training, one of the delegates was asked by his 5yr old daughter what he had been doing on the course. He said that he had been learning about values, which are things which are important to people. Things that motivate people to do what they do in life. His daughter seemed a little thoughtful, so he said, “What do you think the purpose of life is sweetheart?” To which his little girl simply said, “To be yourself daddy.”
In the personal development field, much is made about having goals, and setting goals, especially at this time of year. And yes, goals are important, they help to give you focus, and should motivate you to take action in your life. But the achievement of the goal is never the objective, it is the process of seeking the achievement of the goal that is the purpose.
I frequently task clients with thinking about their long-term objectives in life. This task has several intentions. It makes the client think about where they are in their life now, in comparison with where they say they want to go. It helps them to articulate these ideas. And by bringing them into consciousness, in this way, they can check if this really is the person that they want to be. Then we can see what are the first steps that they need to take to make this their reality. The process of living then becomes the movement towards who we want to be, and/or the experiences that we want to have. And of course, you can still be aspects of who you want to be now, too. As life continues, we check our progress, re-assess our destination, and re-calibrate the actions that we need to take on our journey.
Some of the fun here is, that we all have different talents and abilities, we don’t all want to do the same things, or to have the same experiences. Yet as we pursue our own objectives we are assisted and helped by others as they pursue theirs. But is there a deeper purpose to life than just this? Some guidance that I take comes from what might seem to some people to be an unlikely source. Medical doctor Raymond Moody coined the term Near-Death-Experience (NDE) in his 1970s book Life After Life. This was based on the accounts of people who had had a close brush with death and survived. During the time of their ‘death’, they had strange experiences, when science says that they should not have experienced anything at all. What Moody noticed was that there was a similar sequence and progression to these experiences, regardless of age, cause of the NDE, social standing, or pre-existing religious views or beliefs. Some of these were, feelings of peace or joy, a sense of watching events unfold around their lifeless physical body, a transition from darkness to light, a life review, a barrier, and a return.
Not all these stages will necessarily be experienced by all people. Later research has indicated that a life review only happens in about 20% of these NDE cases. When it does happen, experiencers see their whole life rapidly replayed, often with key events highlighted. It is like watching a movie, except that they experience the emotional impact of their own actions on other people, good or bad. Sometimes there is a being of light or a presence that seems to guide the review. In these cases, there is no external judgement, any judgement felt is self-judgement. If anything is emphasised it is centred around, learning from experiences, the acquisition of knowledge, and the love that you have shared with other people.
So, based on this I would recommend that if you are thinking about your life and your long-term plans, then be curious and explore whatever you can in life, learn, connect, and share love. And of course, just simply be yourself…you cannot actually ever be anyone else anyway.
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” Socrates