As soon as you rise above mere survival, the question of meaning and purpose becomes of paramount importance in your life.
What is our inner purpose? Why are we here and what are we supposed to do? Isn’t that the ultimate question that we frequently ask? From the time we are old enough to think about what we want to do with our lives, we ask this question.
Eckhart believes each person has two purposes in life: an outer purpose and an inner purpose. The outer purpose is the DOING of our lives; thinking about the future, where we’re going and what we’re doing. The inner purpose is BEING; the aligning of our lives, where we are right now, with the present moment.
When we realize our inner purpose, our being in the present moment and being aligned with life, then our outer purpose will be fulfilled. And it begins with awakening.
Throughout The New Earth Eckhart talks about awakening, of becoming conscious and dropping the ego, and how if we learn to quiet our minds, to take a breath (or many breaths), and focus on the present moment, that we will discover our inner purpose. He also stresses that this is not some miraculous transformation that happens over night. (Sorry, I haven’t found the Fairy Godmother of Awakening with her magic wand…yet.) This is a process.
Eckhart describes awakening as a shift in consciousness; a time when we are not lost in our thinking or where thinking runs our lives.
That doesn’t mean we stop thinking or stop having that voice that pops into our heads. That voice shows up almost every morning when I get in the shower. It reminds me about an email I need to send or a phone call to make. Sometimes a problem gets solved or a creative idea is born.
Yet what is different is that as I become more aware of this voice in my head (remember, I once named her Esther), I remind myself to get quiet and focus on the present moment. To feel the warmth of the bathroom floor (we splurged and installed radiant heat.) To listen to the birds chirping. To listen to Pippin purr as he settles in on the rug.
When we awaken, we become aware. And when we become aware, we can make a conscious choice to be present rather than let the useless thinking take over.
And what does that have to do with inner purpose? It means that we need to connect whatever we are currently doing now, our outer purpose, with our inner purpose. By connecting the current activity with inner purpose, we bring deeper meaning into what we do.
So, for example, when you have to cook dinner after a long day, and you really don’t feel like it but you need to do it, you can piss and moan about it and resist it, which does not make it a fulfilling task for your or your family OR you can accept it and say “Okay, I have to fix dinner now. This is what I need to do and I need to bring my full attention to it.”
The next thing you know, you find that you actually like cooking and maybe discover a long forgotten cookbook or a recipe you haven’t fixed in a long time.
Another cool thing about increased awareness is synchronicity. As you become more aware, more present, the universe begins to bring things to you. You might notice “coincidences.” The wholesale order you hoped for arrives in your email. You get accepted into an important show. You win an award. Perhaps unexpected money comes to you or that car you wanted to buy is on sale.
Would some of these things happened anyways? Perhaps. Would you have noticed them? Maybe. Would you have struggled to make some of it happen? Possibly. But there may be no joy in it.
Our outer purpose will change over time and varies from person to person. Our inner purpose is to awaken. Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling our outer purpose.