What is the purpose of life?
~ Curious in Lacey
Dear Curious in Lacey,
This is a challenging question, but one that I love, and one that I’ve changed my mind on, on various occasions. When I was young, I was taught that the purpose of life was to win your way into heaven. From the Catholic perspective, we are born with sin and live our lives on earth trying to prove our worthiness of heaven. Baptism washes away the initial stains, but we are to continue to live in a holy manner.
For a long time, I never questioned this concept, and even now it holds a bit of influence on my life. The reason I started shifting my perspective though comes down to one simple question; “why would God send us to earth in the first place?”
As souls, we would move out of heaven and be cast down to earth where we are permanently “damaged” in some way and then have to prove our worth to reenter heaven. So either a) God is really mean, b) as individual souls we feel the need to prove our love of God by taking on the ultimate test of faith, or c) there’s a different purpose for our existence.
Now, just to get this out of the way, I do believe there is a purpose to our existence. Atheism, to me, doesn’t make sense, and while I can understand why some would choose to default to Atheism, there are too many spiritual aspects to our world for atheism add up, in my eyes. The power of the mind, the collective consciousness, and the bizarre way things always work out, in the end, all indicate some kind of greater consciousness at work (even if that consciousness is merely a collection of all our us). Still, none of these things indicate the purpose of life (outside of biology) and that’s where I turn to Epigenetics and Bruce Lipton.
Epigenetics is the study of how the environment affects the development of the cell. Change the surrounding hormones and fluids and you change the cell. So, where some believe we are the slaves of biology, with Epigenetics we can see that our thoughts and feelings are actually more fundamental. Thoughts and feelings are fairly abstract concepts though and we don’t know where they come from, but if you ask Bruce our personalities are essentially radio projections directed at one particular body.
What does this have to do with the purpose of life? If our lives are fundamentally non-physical (a radio broadcast) the next question is “why the need for a body?” If we exist with or without a body, the best reason for a body is so that we can experience physical life. Without the body, we can’t feel, see, smell, taste, or hear. The five senses we so often take for granted are the gifts the body offers and the most likely reason for our physical existence. If the body is the reason we came into existence then the purpose of our existence is to experience.
Life isn’t always fun, and this explanation of purpose can feel like a bit of a copout, especially if you’re suffering right now. But, if you take the time to consider this possibility, you start to realize the true nature of the gifts of this life.
Every experience we have is entirely unique to us, all the pain leads to greater clarity about what we truly want and a greater appreciation of the joyful moments. Each day we grow and learn, we get the chance to taste chocolate, have first kisses, and laugh with friends.
In my view, the purpose of life is to experience these moments, the purpose of life is to expand our understanding, and the purpose of life is to enjoy and learn about what matters most to us.
It’s simple, so simple it’s hard to trust, but it’s the closest thing to truth that I’ve found in regard to purpose. In its simplicity though, it’s immensely profound, and the more time you spend considering it, the more profound it becomes. Our lives are our responsibility; we get to choose which paths we take.
Thanks for the question and the fun,
Lexis is Alexis Rae Baker. She writes from her home in Olympia. Got a question about life, relationships, spirit? Write to Lexis at Lexis@theJOLTnews.com
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