Thursday, February 19, 2009

Once the Dots Are Connected

One question that each of us entertains, at one time or another, is: Why am I here? We each wrestle with trying to understand the purpose of our individual lives and that of our entire species. This topic becomes more pertinent the older we get because, as we age, the end of this worldly road is no longer merely a shadow on a distant horizon -- it's waiting for us around only a few corners!

For me, how a person views their connection with all things makes all the difference in the world. If a person takes the view that he/she is an isolated atom amongst billions upon billions of other isolated things and beings, the discovery of purpose is elusive and becomes bound up solely in what is inside of the person.

If, on the other hand, a person takes the view that she/he is but one strand in the overall cosmic tapestry, then the search for purpose is a lot less burdensome and is not focused solely on self. The question itself takes on a whole new meaning. It's not what is MY purpose, but what is purpose or, even further, is there purpose at all?

If we think about it, the whole concept of purpose is a human construct. It is derived from the artificial need both to recognize and understand cause and effect. Consequently, another way to ask the proverbial question is: What effect will my existence cause on the world?

To be truthful, it's a question that can't genuinely be answered because each existence creates ripple effects that move from the center toward points known AND unknown. There is no way for any of us to know how far and wide our ripples will travel.

For example, I have no way of knowing what effect the words in this entry will have on anyone else. For the most part, I don't know who will read them and who won't. And I certainly have no way of knowing how and if my words here will impact another life (heck, even my own life) who will create ripples of their own which may impact other lives that will create ripples of their own and on and on and on...

In the end, I think the drive to find purpose is greatly overrated. So, I've decided to quit trying to figure out something that I know, going in, I can't figure out. Even if I could assemble all the data in a cosmic spreadsheet, my feeble human brain wouldn't be able to make heads nor tails of it!

I just accept that what is, is. In reality, what more do I or any of us need to know?

We're here.

We're alive.

We're connected.


  1. I read this and I was affected by it. Inasmuch as it made me pause...and think about these words, and their essential truth (I believe).

    I've decided to quit trying to figure out something that I know, going in, I can't figure out.

    This is wise, I think. And after awhile, it's the only response that will bring any peace.... I am reminded of a famous Zen saying: "If you understand, things are just as they are. If you don't understand, things are just as they are." A famous Theravadin Buddhist monk and teacher, Ajahn Sumedho was once asked if was stranded on a desert island and could only take a single item, what would he take? He answered, "A little medallion with the words: "This is how it is.""

  2. PS So I take it you're not a fan of Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life then....

  3. In a word, HELL NO! (OK, that was actually TWO words.) :)

  4. Don't hold back, RT, tell us how you really feel! :)

    I know you never do.

  5. Nothing to add, I sit around and about the same conclusion, with a little leaning here and there depending on time of day and recent interactions.

    To truly enjoy a game you submerse yourself. And that is what we do in life; Submerse, bask, wonder, enjoy. It is not a puzzle with a prize at the end :)

  6. I am always using, or thinking, the phrase "connect the dots".
    The concept of that is to step back and move focus from the end of the nose, out into the further places.
    Take yourself out of the picture, and what do you see?
    Remove your ego to discover what is really there...
    My wife finally saw past herself: and the feminists wept :)

  7. This blog thing has reaped many benefits. I've made a [virtual] acquaintance with several deep thinkers. Re this specific entry, Forest Wisdom, Tao and now The Crow. I am humbled by your wise words!


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