Finding Passsion and Purpose: The Tipping point in the fulcrum of change

What’s the purpose of your life?

When our basic needs are met, this is the question that comes up. We want to find purpose or passion.

Why?

Nadia of HappyLotus recently wrote, with usual excellence, about an interview with Jeff Klein, who has written a book called “Work for Good” and in it he uses a quotation from Goethe which gives a hint as to why it’s important to us find a purpose or passion:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now!

We want to find purpose because we know from experience that purpose is the fulcrum of change. Without purpose we are listless, living life without joy or enthusiasm, and doing what needs to be done to get through the day. When we have purpose we are energized and focused and full of enthusiasm. Life is joy.

When we have purpose we get approval and validation. Our friends, family and the world at large pat us on our backs: we have purpose, we are going somewhere, we are being productive and good and useful.

And we’ve experienced the magic that Goethe refers to. When we are energized and flowing with purpose, it seems the world cooperates to make us powerful. We glide forward confidently and effortlessly, pulled by our dreams. Thoreau tells us that the person with purpose “…will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary: new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or old laws will be expanded and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with license of a higher order of beings.”

And, getting even more mystical, Krishna tells in the Bhagvad Gita: “When a person is devoted to something with complete faith, I unify his faith in that. Then, when his faith his completely unified, he gains the object of his devotion.”

We want purpose because purpose, just like happiness, is energizing and approving and meaningful.

So there is some irony in the realization that the seeking of purpose, just like the seeking of happiness, can be the very thing that keeps us bound in time, overlooking the present, and looking forward to a purposeful future, which never comes.

We find it difficult to connect with true purpose. But we want the things that purpose brings; we want the energy and the glide and approval and meaningfulness, so the ego often comes up with substitute passions. This is probably why most of us end up working for a paycheck, in professions that we don’t really enjoy, or start projects that we don’t finish, and have to pretend to work up enthusiasm. We see the “working up” of enthusiasm all over the corporate culture. Magazines and pop-psychology berate us that we should be more enthusiastic and more positive and more optimistic—in short, more purposeful. The entire business model of gyms and fitness centers depends on people first gathering up, and then quickly losing the pretend-enthusiasm of New Year’s resolutions—resolutions which are not true purpose but substitute passions.

I have felt these fake shifts many times in my life before, as I’m sure you have—maybe it’s to lose weight, maybe start a new exercise routine, maybe a new project, a degree, a job…

But these purposes have been for validation or approval or control in some form. These have not been true purpose, but rather the movement of the egoic mind, which pits one set of beliefs against another, and the result is that these shifts can be sustained only with a great deal of effort and discipline and self-improvement. One corner of the mind commands the rest of it to move in a certain direction. There is no unity in that.

So what’s the trick? What is it that makes us step authentically from one side of the fulcrum to the other, from fear and doubt over to energetic and self-sustaining enthusiasm?

Perhaps you’ve felt a shift in your life which has come from true passion, and not from effort or discipline or the need for approval or validation, just as I did recently, for the second time in three years. When true purpose comes to us, there is no longer any doubt or question or fear. We step over the fulcrum with confidence. The see-saw tips happily into the field of energetic flow and we feel the “genius, power and magic in it.”

I am writing a book on how to maintain a healthful weight with Awareness and Release. The technique is not difficult—but it’s delicate. It has to do with letting go of our driving needs to control and self-force. It has to do with the understanding of why so many of us, so very often, so heroically, lose weight, with the latest secret of losing weight, only to gain it back, with vengeance.

When we look at it, all our desires stem from wanting control, approval, security, or separation, and if we can let go these wants, Truth manifests readily. Feeling the joy of being, feeling Truth, losing weight, or finding purpose—all of it, is not about getting, it is not about figuring out, it is not about discipline or effort or self-forcing. It is about letting go.

So, what is the trick to finding authentic purpose? There is no trick. When we can release fear and the mind is still, passion finds us.

This is my experience:

Cultivate Awareness. This is the passive, watchful, non-analytical, non-labeling, non-thinking intelligence which mysteriously provides quiet, non-verbal answers.

Release: let go of fear. Let go of all the conditioned and conflicting beliefs about purpose and passion. Let go. When you stop thinking about letting go and actually try to let go, you will see that letting go is as easy as opening your hand.

There is exactly one purpose: the purpose of living is to experience the joy of being. In the joy of being,  passions and goals are sometimes invited.

How do we know when there is true passion?

When we no longer need to ask the question.

Update October 14, 2009

So the most important thing to realize is this: Your life has an inner purpose and an outer purpose. Inner purpose concerns Being and is primary. Outer purpose concerns doing and is secondary…. Inner and outer, however, are so intertwined that it is almost impossible to speak of one without referring to the other.

Your inner purpose is to awaken. It is as simple as that. You share that purpose with every other person on the planet – because it is the purpose of humanity. Your inner purpose is an essential part of the purpose of the whole, the universe and its emerging intelligence. Your outer purpose can change over time. It varies greatly from person to person. Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling your outer purpose. It is the basis for true success. Without that alignment, you can still achieve certain things through effort, struggle, determination, and sheer hard work or cunning. But there is no joy in such endeavor, and it invariably ends in some form of suffering.

—Eckhart Tolle

34 thoughts on “Finding Passsion and Purpose: The Tipping point in the fulcrum of change

  1. Lisis

    How about that, Kaushik! Great minds think alike! Either that, or you and I both were greatly influenced by that post on Happy Lotus. That Nadia is a constant muse, isn’t she? 😉

    I love this post… the part about release and letting go, and especially your last two lines:

    “How do we know when there is true purpose?
    When we no longer need to ask the question.”
    .-= Lisis´s last blog ..Adventure: How to Get From Fear to Faith =-.

  2. Wilma Ham

    Oh Kaushik, I did not know how to find my dream, my purpose in the busy folly of life; I had no time for passion and I could not see how it would work anyway as living from passion seemed so in contrast with life how I lived it.
    Finding my purpose has been a process and supported by creating small periods of stopping and suspending over quite a few years.
    I did not know it then but those strengthened my heart.
    I did not know this then either but the heart needs to become fuelled by practical experiences to eventually be capable of knowing its purpose and guiding the mind and overriding its objections and control.

    I made sure every year I took 7 weeks holidays and I camped in nature. That was what I was passionate about and of course I somehow always made it happen.
    Then I migrated to a country that oozed nature.
    Then I left my job and now I am living in nature and I am getting more aware and closer and closer to my purpose and dreams and they are getting bigger and bigger.

    For me it has been a gradual process and I started by taking small steps, by doing something that was fueled by passion like camping.
    That has made my heart gradually stronger and as a result I am discovering that I am becoming coherent in my life. I dare more, I do more and I do look after myself more with less giving up or falling back into bad habits.
    But it has been a process and it still is.
    I had to unlearn and relearn a lot of bad behaviors, one of them was NOT taking time for doing even small things that I love doing.
    Kaushik, I am so with you in all this, you are right on the button and I cannot wait for the tipping point and we all operate this way. Love Wilma
    .-= Wilma Ham´s last blog ..When the heart guides the mind, the dance can begin. =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Ah, Wilma, what a beautiful comment!

      It seems that we tolerate as long as we can, and we seem to have an enormous capacity to tolerate. And then we don’t or can’t. And yes, it strengthens the heart.

      It’s wonderful, about your passion about being in nature. (Which country do you live in that oozes nature?)

      Leaving your job–my experience is the same, and it seems this a common stepping stone. And of course, this brings up, as you say, “objections and control.”

      In my experience, it has been about the letting go of fear.

      It sounds like you’re doing wonderfully well on this mysterious journey!

      Thank you for the heart-warming insights.

      k

  3. Jodi at Joy Discovered

    Hi Kaushik,
    I love what you wrote here: “There is exactly one purpose: the purpose of living is to experience the joy of being. In the joy of being, passions and goals are sometimes invited.” This is so true, as is your point that we must be careful of “pursuing” happiness or “pursuing” a purposeful life as this can keep us bound in time and looking to the future for fulfillment. Good luck on your book. I think your idea is fantastic!
    .-= Jodi at Joy Discovered´s last blog ..Expressing Thanks =-.

  4. Walter

    I believe in what you’ve stated here. The exact purpose of living is to experience the joy of being, you have perfectly identified it. All our life we search for answers and ask too many questions. We resists life and complained about our lot. You are lucky to have gained the wisdom awareness. 🙂
    .-= Walter´s last blog ..Finding myself beyond my identity =-.

  5. Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord

    As usual, I love what you’ve said here. I’m listening to Adyashanti’s “The End of Your World” on CD right now, and he talks about this. My mind is starting to once again release its need to identify with a labeled purpose, even insomuch as saying I’m here to love.

    What you wrote reminds me that there is a unique spark of the Divine within me, and carrying that spark around each day is the truly the only thing I need to do to fulfill my purpose. I don’t need to apply it in a certain way (although I trust that when I fully surrender my need to have purpose, it will apply itself spontaneously), or be something… or someone… beyond what I am right now.

    The seeking comes from ego, yet my God, the ego is tricky in how it masquerades around. Thanks for this. I sent snippets to a friend, since I found your writing so inspirational. I’m grateful for your energy, Kaushik.
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last blog ..Feeling Prosperous =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi JoyGirl,

      As usual thank you for your joyous and positive energy! Adyashanti is wonderful, full of gentle wisdom. You might enjoy Jed Mckenna, who some believe is Adyashanti, in roguish disguise.

      Yes, my experience is the same, when we are able to release the angst of purpose and the fear and the the seeking, and simply be still in trust, Truth manifests readily.

      Thanks and I hope you’re doing well!

      k

  6. Nadia - Happy Lotus

    Hi Kaushik,

    With my palms together, I bow with gratitude. Thank you so much for including me in your post. I loved reading your thoughts. This post was beautiful.

    The line you shared from the Gita touched my soul. I remember studying that line and it is one of my favorites. Fear is so much the root of all our problems. The irony is that it is an illusion. When we remove the fear, we see truth and with that truth, nothing is impossible and it is easy to have that faith that Krishna speaks about.
    .-= Nadia – Happy Lotus´s last blog ..The Diamond In You & How You Can Never Be Threatened =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Nadia,

      Dhanyavad!

      Yes, it’s fear. And it’s great news that it’s only the delusional fear which imprisons us. We release fear, there IT is!

      k

  7. Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching

    Thanks for this Kaushik. That’s similar to what I’ve found as well — that finding a sense of purpose is more about sitting quietly and listening to my instincts than trying to force myself to be motivated or enthusiastic. It can actually be a painful process that involves breathing through and processing a lot of fear, anger and so on.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Chris,

      Yes, it can be painful. Old stuff comes up…the past, hurtful emotions, limiting beliefs, judgments…and this is why a release technique can be so helpful.

      Thanks for the incisive comment!

      k

  8. Lisa (mommymystic)

    Kaushik – once again you’ve written so wonderfully about a ‘razor’s edge’ that we need to find our balance on, this time the one of purpose. I think we all have this experience of getting attached to a false purpose, and getting excited about our ‘new life’ – or new job, or new body, or whatever, only to be let down when it doesn’t turn out the way we planned or projected, or in the case of a diet, when we gain the weight back. We end up on this constant seesaw of projection/expectation and then crash. And as you and some of the commenters note, we can even do this with ideas about our spirituality or concepts about what our ‘purpose’ is here on earth. And yet we can’t give up on passion. So I love your finish, “There is exactly one purpose: the purpose of living is to experience the joy of being. In the joy of being, passions and goals are sometimes invited.” Thanks!
    .-= Lisa (mommymystic)´s last blog ..Interview with Akemi Gaines: Akashic Records, Reincarnation, 2012 and More =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Lisa,

      You’ve summarized the post so well–that’s it exactly, the razor’s edge balance, to not seek and yet having, purpose and happiness and lightness. Thanks for a wonderful comment.

      k

  9. Liara Covert

    Kaushik, your subjects of reflection prompt profound inner journeys. One perspective is your mission is what you choose to make it. It evolves and transforms alongside your perception, awareness and discernment of what is. You move from contraction to loving expansion.
    .-= Liara Covert´s last blog ..What do you make of right now? =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Liara, thank you for the very kind words. Our passions are what we choose, but some passions at certain times seem to pull us effortlessly forward, whereas others require that we push them with fits and starts and effort, and how do we know one from the other? Passions do indeed, as you say, transform alongside expanding perspective. Thank you again for your fabulous insights.

      k

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  11. Jeff

    I didn’t know where to put this so I tacked it on the first article I found. I recently purchased Chokshi’s ebook Beyond. Unbelievable. There are people who talk about being awakened and maybe they are, but Chokshi can describe it without two thousand year old terms, religious terms, or any other terminology that gets in the way.

    I have purchased and read probably 100 or more books in the last 20yrs on religion and spirituality but this book cuts to the common denominator on all levels. This is and will be the last book I will ever have to buy in regards to awakening, spirituality, etc.

    Thanks Chokshi for this amazing ebook. The best $25. I have ever spent. Period.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Ah, Jeff, thank you so much for your wonderfully kind words. Awakening is simple–I try to be as direct and fluff-less as I can. I’m so glad the book has helped you.

      Peace
      k

  12. Paul Maurice Martin

    “How do we know when there is true passion? When we no longer need to ask the question.”

    That’s so succinct and well stated – and has lots of specific applications. Personally, for example, when I was in my teens and early twenties, I had vague ideas about wanting to write – but didn’t. But after I became passionate about something that I wanted to say, the writing just happened.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Paul,
      My experience with writing is similar–I’ve always had vague ideas about wanting to write, and I wrote a journal and dabbled in poetry, and when my experience with awakening had deepened enough, the passion just popped without my having to go look for it. I highly recommend writing, even just journaling. Writing and awakening intertwine and move each other along.
      k

  13. Lisa

    Passion is definately the key to change. Most change isn’t easy and without passion and emotion it’s difficult to muster the strength and perserverence needed to pull it through.
    Thanks for an interesting post.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Headlights =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Lisa,

      Passion is indeed the thing that can pull us through and forward. My experience has been that when I can release, and be aware in stillness, true purpose finds me!

      k

  14. John Duffield

    Hi Kaushik. Many compliments on your post. Without purpose, life is nothing. If I may, I’d like to contribute something for your readers to think about. Here we go. Imagine each of us is connected to a vast “inner universe”. This “place within” is an infinite ocean of potential and our purpose in life is waiting there. Gurus of all kinds have known about this place for a long time of course. Many have told us to “look within” to find our reason for being. Now imagine this special inner place is completely out of bounds. It’s impossible to go there. But how can that be? Lots of people have discovered their life’s purpose. How could they do that if the “ocean within” was inaccessible? They learned something important about that amazing ocean. There’s a pipe going down into it……with a tap on top. Learn where the tap is and how to open it and……the ocean comes to you. YOU can’t go to that ocean….but IT can come to you. That’s the key to finding purpose. The tap is well-known too. It’s called fear of being judged. Take that fear of judgment away and the tap springs wide open. And….wonder of wonders…..your purpose in life will then flow to you like Magic. Here’s some good news too. You can teach yourself how to open the tap and see what to do with your life. Thanks again for your insights Kaushik. John Duffield
    .-= John Duffield´s last blog ..Heartshots For the Law of Attraction =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi John,

      Thanks for the compliments, and the interesting metaphor.

      Your metaphor, and the ones I use, can be helpful, and also very misleading. When the noise in the mind in quiets and we are able to let go of fear…well, then some amazing things happen. I was going to say Truth reveals itself, but that implies that Truth is something separate from us. No metaphor is adequate–each one is always misleading because that’s not it, but on the other hand, metaphors can help us get started, if we don’t take them too far. To someone who has never experienced the color orange, it can be helpful to give it’s wavelength, or to say it’s a mixture of red and yellow, or poetically say orange feels strong and peaceful at the same time. Each metaphor is helpful or obstructive.

      I like your line in your article that happiness is the one thing that does not discriminate. It’s equal!

      k

  15. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Kaushik,

    I enjoyed this post and your blog.

    Every living thing has a function to perform. Once you’ve uncovered yours, that’s Life.

    There’s no need to search for that which has been hard-wired into your being. It’s more of releasing layers of who you’re not to see who you are and why you’re here.

    As I discover my purpose everything feels right. Life’s ups feel great, life’s downs don’t feel so bad. I just keep doing what I do which is what God intends for me to do.

    RB
    .-= Ryan Biddulph´s last blog ..RBs Keys: Blockage, Thinking Quotes =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Ryan,

      So very well put! There is indeed no need to search for purpose. When we release enough, who we are become conspicuously clear!

      Thanks!

      k

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