Finding true purpose is a challenge that plagues most people throughout their lives. Well, that is being kind, perhaps, because there are plenty who really never give it a thought and just walk through life doing what is acceptable or necessary. They don’t inquire, step out of line, make waves, take a chance, or dance like nobody is watching. They keep their heads down, and don’t take risks.

Is that you? I don’t think so. You, on the other hand, are more aware and curious, you suspect there is something missing and desire more out of your life than the status quo. You have that nagging sense about something that needs to be discovered. Something more, something deeper.

Your friends and family may consider you successful because you have chosen a suitable career. Yet, in the quiet moments of your life, you ponder the lingering question about whether this is really the correct path that leads to fulfilling the goals and higher purpose that were a part of the deal your soul promised when incarnating into this lifetime.

Those thoughts, my friend, are the seeds that will grow your consciousness. Follow that nagging sense, water those seeds, and watch your awareness blossom!

While we are lead to seek outside assistance in finding our purpose, by consulting career counselors and taking aptitude tests, your career is related more to your innate function, rather than to your purpose.

The good news is that there is a part of you that knows the truth of that purpose. The bad news? Getting to that part is as easy as pinning the tail on the donkey while wearing a blindfold.

And that is how most people approach this quest. A stab in the dark.

Your purpose was created at the same time that you were. At the point that your soul, your Being, was formed, there was an inherent function and purpose built into the design. It is foundational.

However, as we are raised, we are more likely to be pointed toward our function than toward our true purpose. “She’s good at math,” “He’s a natural athlete”, “She’s too short to be a model”, “He loves cars”. These are the criteria that guidance counselors will use to make their assessments. But they don’t know your soul, do they?

These are indications of your capabilities for function. But what is the purpose of these?

A hammer has a form, a function, and a purpose. The form allows for many functions. It can be used as a door stop, paper weight, weapon, and so forth. But its true purpose is to pound nails. Are you a hammer being used as a paper weight? Or are you using your form and function to tackle your real purpose?

There are a number of reasons why we don’t become fully aware of our purpose. How many people do you know who could have become amazing artists, whose dreams were squashed because that wouldn’t bring a lucrative paycheck? Parental and social pressures, cultural norms or expectations, are major contributors to missing the mark on developing your achieving your purpose. You look for a career rather than a calling. You grasp at the shiny object, and miss the treasure.

Lack of options: This was my own experience. When I was in high school in the late 60’s, career counselors were not including psychic skills, hypnotherapy, past life regression, tarot, and astrology as indicators of solid career choices. It wasn’t until my late 40’s when I started to shape and focus my talents and inclinations into a viable career.

Fear is another major road block: fear of taking risks, playing it big, and paving your own path. Fear of failure, embarrassment, ridicule.

Noted mythologist and author Joseph Campbell says that, at some point in his journey, the classic hero must trust his instincts and make a leap of faith into a new reality. Luke Skywalker did this in Star Wars when he closed up his radar and electronics, and trusted “The Force” to guide his release of weapons into Darth Vader’s Death Star. When the hero is willing to make this leap, he wins the prize, discovers fire, slays the dragon, saves the maiden, or gains whatever it is that fulfills his quest.

When I read Tarot cards, I use the Moon card to illustrate the concept of being on “the path”.

The scene depicted on this card is of a crab emerging from a body of water. There is a path that lies ahead of him that eventually leads through twists and turns to the top of a mountain.

In order to make his journey and arrive at his final destination, he must first pass by a hound and a wolf and through a set of pillars.

Illustration by Robin Wood

This is not unlike what it takes to realize your purpose, and then achieve it.

The crab is comfortable living in the water, but the view is limited. Only when he emerges does he have the clear vision to see a higher goal: the mountaintop. As he becomes aware of this higher goal, he also realizes that the journey begins by moving through the pillars. The pillars have the same reference as the gates of the village that Joseph Campbell refers to when the hero must leave the comfort of his community to embark on his adventure.

Yet, this crab must safely navigate past the hound and the wolf before he can even reach the pillars and start on his path. We all face this.

If we set a goal, we will have to deal with the hounds in our lives who try to distract us. They are the shiny objects that take our attention, or those who would “hound” us to forget the big dream and just stay here safe at home with them. They may suggest you go shopping, play small, blend in.

And then we also have to negotiate with the wolves. They are the ones who sabotage, put us down, criticize, smash our dreams, or are competitive and jealous.

Can you name any hounds and wolves in your life?

To understand your true purpose, take the time to determine what would truly fulfill your passions.

A good place to start is to remember the games you most liked to play as a child. What roles did you choose both among your friends and in your imagination? What tasks did you enjoy? What got you excited before all the filters and restrictions were imposed?

If reincarnation is a part of your philosophy, exploring your past lives will reveal lifetimes when you were expressing your purpose. You can even explore and learn from those lifetimes when you failed to find or pursue your purpose.

Know yourself
What is your true nature? What are your cherished values? How do you best function, and what is the highest use of that functionality?

Ask yourself the well-worn question about what you would do if time and money were no object. This time add the caveat of what you would do if you had to spend all your time away from the house except to sleep, and it can’t be anything passive like reading, getting lost on the internet, or playing video games. Who would you be and what would you do?

Picture It
Clearly envision your purpose and aim in that direction. Your understanding of your purpose may not fully emerge at the first glance. This quest requires that you continue to sense the calling and make the necessary adjustments in order to stay aimed in the right direction. Stay tuned as new and better information is revealed to you.

Stay True
Then, garner the courage and confidence to stay determined and faithful to that calling, navigating through all the distracting shiny objects and the sabotaging nay-sayers.

Each individual has a unique purpose, which will create a distinct and exclusive life path. There is no one better than you to determine your true purpose. You deserve to create your destiny, to manifest your dreams, and to fulfill your soul’s purpose. Be the hero in your own soul’s saga, and have the adventure of a lifetime!