Life's Purpose

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Reply Sat 21 Aug, 2010 01:06 pm
One concept that is addressed in all religious traditions and scriptures is that our lives have a purpose. In the Bahá’í Writings, there are several statements about our purpose.
The Short Obligatory Prayer begins, "I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee."
In the first passage in Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh there is a statement, "Whatever duty Thou hast prescribed unto Thy servants of extolling to the utmost Thy majesty and glory is but a token of Thy grace unto them, that they may be enabled to ascend unto the station conferred upon their own inmost being, the station of the knowledge of their own selves."
In the 5th passage from that book we read, "The whole duty of man in this Day is to attain that share of the flood of grace which God poureth forth for him."

My personal understanding of these passages adds up to this: Whatever attributes we understand God to have, such as knowledge, power, wisdom, love, creativity, and the like, are potential within each of us. Our purpose in life is to develop these qualities through prayer and meditation, and through *action*. In that way one worships God (i.e. shows their love for God through action) and develops in their knowledge of God. (The closer one comes to God by developing in one's self the Divine Attributes, the more insight one gains.)

What do you believe life's purpose to be? How do you work towards it?
Reply Thu 9 Sep, 2010 04:23 pm
Your question presupposes that we're more than just biological machines. It was suggested in another thread that some people may be only biological machines and have no more awareness than what is provided to them by their biological functions. If this proves true then for these people there is no more purpose that to carry the possibility of producing a being with a soul. And as souless, mindless beings (aka sheeple) they are to be shepherded by those with a divine calling, or to be used, abused, killed and disposed of by those who seek self glorification.

I know little to nothing of the Bahá'í Faith save for the fact they hand out free airfare to DC and their spiritual leader is Rev. Moon. I've heard that the Bahá'í Faith is ecumenical and accepts Eastern and Western religious philosophies.

What do you believe life's purpose to be? How do you work towards it?

My religious origins are Fundamental, Protestant Christianity. Through this religion I've found the Supreme Being (commonly referred to as God) to have several attributes, and they are: Love, Peace, Joy, Long-suffering, Perseverance, Holy, Righteous, Omniscient, Omniscience, and Omnipotent. I believe he is our creator, but the methodology is obscure, and there is compelling evidence for any of several methods. I believe life (this existence) is an important step in our spiritual growth and development.

As far as identifying the why and what-fore of us being alive and given a body I'm still looking for logical, reasonable, empirical answers to that question. I've heard a lot of guesses as to why, but I don't know for sure the veracity of any of these guesses. I don't think that God owes me an explanation, but I believe He wouldn't deliberately obscure the answer. Because I hold this to be true I believe that if there is any reason I don't understand what is true it is because of some other factor than God being a malicious, evil, and/or mischievous being. I know I'm fallible with many limitations and my ability to know everything is severely limited. In other words I'm not God, nor a god, and I know it. So on my way to knowing life's purpose this is step one: Know myself and be realistic (truthful) and loving.

Step two to finding life’s purpose is to remove the shackles of poisoning thoughts and ideas. Seek to get rid of hate, fear, and condemnation. I’ve found I’m powerless against these forces of human nature, but I’ve found that there is power to overcome the darkness through Divine power. The more Divine nature in my life the more I’m able to overcome the shackles of humanity and its end: Death. Since I’m inherently human I need an infusion of the Divine to squelch my basic nature. I’ve found this infusion through God’s provision of a way through His Son and then a life lived tuned into His Will via the Holy Spirit. So then proceeding on my own, in my own will, breaks the connection to the Divine, but living into His Will provides a way to overcome the darkness of humanity. The completion of step two is seeking His Will for my life.

Step three to finding life’s purpose is not only seeking the Divine, which leads some people to ignore humanity, but to also come to an understanding about what makes one’s life complete. Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.” The meaning here is to connect with that part of you that makes your life complete. For me that is shining understanding into darkened minds, and healing people of their pain and suffering. When I do these things correctly, and in correct proportion, I have a sensation in my heart that is similar to when I met my wife. Life then takes on purpose and meaning and I’m engaged fully.

Having tasted the purpose (bliss) in my life I’m aware of when it’s missing. When I’m not connected to my purpose I feel a hunger to be connected again.

So why ever leave my purpose one may ask. The reason is because culture tends to resist my purpose, and that includes those I love and have committed to spend my life with. Because of this it is not easy to be committed to my purpose. In fact it becomes a constant fight that sometimes can erupt from the emotional depths of my being to become a visceral thing. Like some I find it hard to resist my cultural norms on the one hand and living against my nature on the other hand. I think this feeling is true of a lot of people, and they fight a similar battle. As long as person is willing to carry on they are OK, but when they lose hope they die (might not be physically).

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