Purpose is a really powerful and polarizing word.
A lot of people wonder as to why we are here and what's our purpose. It is noted as the "big question" of life.
I don't know the answer as to how to find ones purpose, but maybe my story can assist in forming a tool for you to decipher yours.
When I did my year of service as a gardener in Israel at the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, I gained a very clear sense of what encouraged and took away connectivity to my soul and God.
Everyday for a year I would wake up at 5:30am and go to bed at 9pm exhausted from gardening but always fulfilled.
"Surely it wasn't for me to be in this world to stick flowers in the ground! I am an artist! I'm here to create!" I said to myself.
Little did I know that I was being trained for a year to use the tool that allowed me to decipher what led to loftiness and abasement. Purposefulness and vacancy.
I noticed that hanging out with certain people on my non gardening days always left me feeling empty and wasteful. Like "what did I just do with my time?". That eating certain foods would almost immediately busy my mind with useless thoughts and somehow make me say "I don't want to say that prayer that I usually loved".
On the flip side I noticed which people just felt effortlessly fulfilling to talk to. That eating other foods even helped my mind feel more clear and ready for a day of gardening. That going on a walk on the Akka shoreline gave me inspiration to paint or dance.
Then I realized, I'm not meant to be a gardener, I meant to be here right now because its fulfilling to me and its taking me to the next level of my art that is purposeful.
The tool of being able to gaug what gives you that sense of familiarity with why you're here in the world and what takes you away from your sense of self is key to finding purpose.
For example, when I create I feel like I'm entering my own creative world to explore. It excites me. It's effortless. It's addicting.
But when I'm distracting myself with the phone or engaging in ephemeral conversations, I feel vacant and useless.
All these sensations trigger both the feelings of "hmmm, this feels familiar to the reason of why I'm here" and "I can't be of service to anyone right now because I'm not really awake"
Any place or activity or environment can lead to connectivity and fulfillment. It can be going for a run, or leading a group discussion at the companies board room, or cooking for some guests.
Whatever leads you to that feeling of gratitude and being supported to be more of who you are is an indication of ones purpose.
It might lead to monetary wealth and more comfortable living, but material gain won't even register to you because it gives more than money.
When strengthening this sense of connectivity with yourself, it will start to bleed over into all aspects of your life. What friends, jobs, environments and spaces lead you to the lofty state of fulfillment?
Do you feel like it is your role to uplift those environments to a more elevated state of spirit?
When your with certain friends do you feel like you serve and support each other on your paths?
Or do you feel judged or competitive after your interactions?
These questions will naturally come up when you start living a purposeful life that resonates with you.
You will also start to learn how to say no.
No, I don't want to go out to that dinner because those people don't make me feel useful.
No, I don't want to take selfies every day, it feels shallow to my existence.
No, I am not going to delve into those people's conversation, I know it'll become a dragons den.
No, I am not going to buy those items, I don't stand by the creators message.
More and more this will build a meaningful life. You'll be able to look in the mirror and say "Yes! I can live with you everyday and night."
Even if your purpose doesn't lead to money, the gauging tool of connectivity will allow you to find the right job that supports your purpose.
For me I work at a vegan restaurant, and though I don't believe being a waiter is my purpose in life, the food there helps my mind stay clear and my soul feel ready to engage with my coworkers and customers meaningfully and with heart. Then I go home able to feel at peace and unburdened so I can create without any gunk in my consciousness.
Life happens for you, not to you.
You aren't at your crappy job for no reason because
A) it's not a crappy job and
B) you are there for a reason: It's taking you to the next step of your life. So don't resent it.
I believe that we are responsible for the time that we are here. We all have a roll to play at this very moment in the world. What are you here to contribute? What completely knocks you off your path? What helps you stay on path?