‘What is my purpose?’ How many times have you had this thought?
It can be a topic of our conversations – ‘something was done on purpose…’, or ‘living a purpose-driven life,’ or like I’ve said to myself, ‘what is my purpose in life’. Do you identify yourself as a person who should be purposeful? Do you sometimes say that you lack purpose? Is searching for purpose a preoccupation? Do you look for purpose in your job, family, charity work, etc.?
What exactly do these expressions say about purpose?
Sri Nisarqadatta Maharaji said in his book “I Am That,” “Give up all questions except one: ‘Who am I?'” After all, the only fact you can be sure of is that you are.
The “I Am” is certain. The “I am this” is not. Margaret Laird wrote in her Challenge To Original Thinking, “I consciously am; then what I am conscious of must be the content or constitution of my own consciousness or Mind. Nothing exists for an individual unless he is aware of it and since his awareness is his own Soul or Mind in manifestation (himself), there is nothing to be aware of outside of himself—the conscious infinitude of existence” (Christian Science Re-Explored 32).
Starting with the basic fact of our being, “l Am,” we can recognize what we are not—we are not body, feelings, thoughts, anything in time or space, any this or that (though of course we do not deny the appearance of these things). As we look at what we are not, it begins to emerge more clearly what we are: limitless Being, Awareness, Joy and boundless Bliss.
Knowing who we are does not make the world as it “shows up” disappear. On the contrary, that awareness enhances our experience. That which “walks around” begins to take “itself” less seriously; stops trying to convince self and others that this he/she is “causative,” that person is “somebody.” With awareness, we begin to relax in the understanding that “I Am; I always have been; and I always will be.”
This might sound as if the individual is being asked to deny who he thinks he is, especially if he is immersed in the idea of a history and the idea of birth and death. What is born and dies is but the “shape on the screen of life,” while we are truly the light which makes the shape possible, without beginning or end. As Betty Albee and Margaret Laird have said in their own ways, believing you are a “dot in space,” you are destined to live whatever goes with that, “doing what others do, having what others have.”
Often we give lip service to the idea of Oneness, but what does it mean? Sri Nisarqadatta Maharaji says, “Let go your attachment to the unreal and the real will swiftly and smoothly step into its own. Stop imagining yourself being or doing this or that and [the] realization that you are the source and heart of all will dawn upon you” (I Am That).
Our need continually to say “I am this or I am that” drops away. When we are convinced that the only thing we can truthfully say is “I Am,” we are not quick to verbalize in a way that identifies us as a father, mother, teacher—any this or that, any being “about” anything.
Mrs. Laird wrote in the March 1961 Laird Letter (pp. 1-2), “There is but one I or us…. [W]e do not mean that the All is something other than the All.” She goes on to say, “The ‘me’ measuring its virtues in comparison with those of another gives itself the vices of envy and jealousy, guilt, self-pity, and selfcondemnation.”
She continues, “Enlightenment does not change anything. … The belief is not something you can do anything about. … When you speak of the belief as a ‘lie’ or an ‘error,’ or as ‘bad,’ you have [in belief] separated it from Reality and given it an existence it does not have.”
Sri Nisarqadatta Maharaji has said that “purpose implies movement, change, a sense of imperfection— somewhere or something to become, or a place to go. Beyond the [human mind] there is no such thing as experience. Experience is a dual state” (I Am That).
You cannot talk of reality as an experience. Once this is understood, you will no longer regard being and becoming as separate or opposite. In reality they are One and inseparable, like roots and branches of the same tree. Both can exist only in the light of Consciousness, which, again, arises in the wake of the sense “I am.” This is the primary fact. If you miss it, you will miss it all.
Recognizing that all is One frees us. As Mrs. Laird and Mrs. Albee have suggested, we can find truth by looking for the idea being presented, thus eliminating any need to judge or deny what is not useful in our exploration. Oneness is not a divider but a reconciler: ALL IS ONE and ONE IS ALL. In this awareness, we see ourselves as reconcilers. If any purpose exists, it is to reconcile belief and appearances of separateness to the facts of Being, Oneness. Choiceless Being.
– Ron WallaceA Challenge To Original Thinking