This question has been asked since mankind reached consciousness and it has certainly driven me forward in my life quest, in searching for meaning in life. I think many people, regardless of religious tradition or beliefs, will generally agree that our basic goals should be to make a difference in this world and to contribute to others.
Or, in loftier terms, as I suggested in the post “Searching for Nirvana” – to find peace and love, to live in harmony, to create a better world for our children and to surpass the limits of the form we were born into, to evolve the human spirit to new heights…
But while my underlying commitment is about living my life to achieve these ideals, I find that I often fall short of them in my everyday life. The daily grind, the limits of our human bodies, the endless chatter of our mind, the upsets and frustration we all experience (not to mention the way business and society dictate our behaviours) not only get in the way but often derail us. So, I sometimes find myself in conflict with people (which always depresses me) and not always exuding the warmth and balance that I strive to demonstrate to others. This, in turn, can lead to a desire to escape, to be alone, to avoid too much contact or intimacy with the other humans on the planet, lest I misbehave further… hardly an enlightened approach.
One overriding lesson I’ve learned is that it is very difficult for an unhappy, depressed, or angry person to exude warmth and love, to create a space to truly contribute to others, or as Oprah has so eloquently put it: “to be the change you want to see in the world”. So, our number one priority must be to take care of ourselves. Consider that if you are ‘happy’ then you are more able to be with people such that they will feel better in your presence. (The old analogy of the airline’s safety rule stating that you must put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others holds true.) I believe the enlightened individuals on our planet, those we look up to and strive to emulate, understand this, continuing to do the work on themselves while accomplishing monumental tasks for the planet. They have a deeper sense of their soul’s purpose.
Speaking of giants, I came across Oprah’s Soul Series on XM Radio yesterday. She was interviewing Brian Weiss which was a great ‘coincidence’ as I had recently read his first book ” Many Lives Many Masters: The True Story Of A Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient & The Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives”, as well as a book called “Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life between Lives” by Michael Newton, PhD. If you haven’t read them and are open-minded (or perhaps, especially, if you are not), then I highly recommend both authors. They are both professional therapists who have worked in the field of past-life regression for decades. They both have a great many documented case studies of patients who have recounted stories about past lives, and even more interesting to me, the soul’s journey between lives.
The original question that I posed – “why are we here?” takes on a much deeper dimension when you consider this viewpoint. If the heartaches and challenges and struggles of your life were actually selected especially for you (possibly by you), as lessons that you must learn, obstacles that you must overcome, on your soul’s journey, does this change your perspective? Face them now or you’ll just come back and do it all over again. 🙂 Do the work on yourself now. Be the best person you can be. Contribute to the people around you with your whole heart.
Another thought-provoking angle is the idea of soul groups which means that many people closest to you have been part of your existence for many lives and beyond. If you believe this then you can more easily accept their passing and your own when the time comes. It also puts new meaning, for me, to the concept of contributing to others in this lifetime. Some advanced souls may only be here for a short visit, to touch our lives, to steer us towards our life lessons.
I believe that everyone is here for a reason and that everybody begins life with something special. To rise above our life circumstances, to be our best selves and recognize what those gifts are, is part of our quest, our life’s greater purpose. Some are born rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, brilliant or dull, physically superior or handicapped. Most of us are somewhere in the middle of these extremes but, regardless of our physical and situational traits, our deeper being has something more to offer in this life. We all have a unique ability or vision to share with others that can make a difference and allow us to live a fulfilling life, to advance our soul’s journey.