Like any conscious, sentient and pondering being, I spent a modest amount of time as a kid wondering what I would be when I "grew up". As my childhood body spawned an array of new hormones and undertook the usual internal and external remodeling project commonly known as adolescence, I began giving the matter even more thought.
Being a scientist and doing important work in a lab, looked good. Or perhaps I would reveal the secrets of past ages as a renowned archeologist! But then I began playing guitar in a band. The band found itself an object of fascination to a growing number of lost and bewildered youth. Soon the band did a few records and I thought, heck I'm a professional musician; case closed!
Somehow my buddies and I managed to squeeze through our final exams and emerge wet and pink and fuzzy faced from high school. We were full of hope and lulled into a sense of false smugness by the promise of a bright future of sweaty times in from of very bright lights making extremely loud noise before masses of lethargic and hysterical human-like creatures collectively causing even more chaos than we were managing to inflict.
That's what I thought I'd be doing forever and ever. But then, before I knew it, a pesky war came along and most of the band got drafted. Suddenly my career was totally in question again. (In case it matters to anyone, I too was called, but upon close examination found unfit to serve my country at that time. If only I had known that was a good thing.)
What to do with my life now loomed large, for according to standards set by several otherwise seemingly prudent persons, I became a "grown up" by merely achieving the tender age of 18 years old.
That was a long time ago, now. And this is not my life story. It is not even a story about a small portion of my life story. This is about the question of why you and I are here.
When we are young, most of us wonder what we will be someday in the distant future. Getting a little older, we worry about what it will be like when we are out on our own. It seems frightening! And then we grow up and learn that it is frightening!
As we grow older still and get one job or another, some of us worry over whether we really are doing what we are "supposed" to be doing with our lives. Did we make the right career choice? Are we in the right city, state or region? Have we found our place in life; are we fulfilling our purpose for being?
Those who believe in a higher power, such as God, also may wonder if said higher being has some special mission or purpose in store for them; some great work they are supposed to accomplish while on this Earth. And oftentimes, people who think this way pray for guidance and/or a sign to show them the way. Sometimes their prayers are answered, and so on.
Still other persons worry very deeply over the meaning of life. They want to know if and why the universe was created and what part they were meant to play.
Other persons have special talents such as writing or composing skills. Were they perhaps born to write a wonderful book or poem that will change the world and help those who read the book or poem grow or learn or at least momentarily escape their pain? Perhaps you were put on this Earth to compose incredible music to light up the world with sounds so magnificent they transport the souls of listeners to a better place and time for a few precious hours or moments.
Yet how many tortured souls live sad lives pining over masterpieces not yet begun? Horror of horrors, what if they should die before the great work is completed?
Some of us, perhaps most of us, do tend to worry over finding the point of our existence. We long to fulfill our destinies and justify our pain and toil by some great deed accomplished or great word achieved, before we too must finally pass away.
May I beg you not to be like any of the people I have described above? May I also suggest that perhaps we all share in but one lofty purpose; one great work or mission?
And if so, it must certainly be this: We are all here on this earth to learn how to be the very best we can be. Our real purpose or mission in life is to have the chance to become as god-like as we can, while here on earth.
A perfect example of one who came very close to this goal is he whom we call Jesus. But of course there have been others as well. We all know their names too.
Your great work and mission is to become the best person you can be. One must never stop working toward this goal; as surely as when times are good, as when they are bad. Of course, the harder one tries to be a saintly person, the more tests and trials they will encounter. The purpose for living in this world is to learn by experiencing the worst and the best life has to offer in the way of hardships and tribulations; yet still emerge a better and better person throughout it all.
There is no right or wrong work or career. Whatever job you find yourself doing is worth doing as well as it can be done. If you don't enjoy your work, still strive to do it so well it will seem as if you do indeed love it. At the same time create the opportunity to begin doing other kinds of work that may be more in harmony with your nature.
The great work and mission of our lives is to grow ever more god-like each and every day. Inside every person is an inner guide. We call this guide by many names. One example is "our conscience". When young we are told to let our conscience be our guide. It will indeed tell us when we are being a good, compassionate person and when we are not.
To be on the path to perfection does not mean achieving perfection at any given step along the way. In fact, we all falter as we go through life. We sometimes seem to lose more ground than we gain in our struggle to overcome the many obstacles nature places in our way. But the real purpose for living is to learn how to maintain our resolve as we follow first one and then another and then a hundred other paths in our journey toward achieving the highest ideals we can envision.
"Well and good," you may say, "but still I know God has something special in mind for me!" And of course this may well be true. In fact I suspect there is no limit to the things She may have in mind for all of us.
Isn't this the greatest reason of all to stay the course? What better motivation can there be to work tirelessly toward achieving a strong and healthy body if not to achieve a more perfect temple of the soul? What better reason to purge our minds of all impure thoughts, unjust acts and deeds, that our consciousness may rise in pureness and worthiness? How else may we one day gain entrance to the mansions which have been prepared for us.
How wondrous it is to be born into this universe of endless vistas waiting to be explored, endless lessons begging to be learned; an awesome place in time and space with more possibilities than can ever be discovered. Yet many of us chose to remain exactly like a children who goes into the best candy store in town only to ask, "Why am I here?"!
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