When something affects young men and middle-aged mothers in droves, you know it matters. It affects successful businesspeople, retirees and students. It crosses age gaps, genders, ethnic groups and professions. This simple question haunts the psyche of the human species.
What’s my purpose in life?
This question looms when you are feeling stuck. There’s no telling when it might come to haunt your thoughts. You could have everything – career, spouse, kids – or nothing.
Not knowing what your purpose is taints your every experience. After all, if you’re not fulfilling your destiny or living up to your potential, then why does it matter? Living your life can feel as though you’re going through the motions.
Sometimes it feels as though your true calling is out there somewhere. Or maybe it’s in here somewhere. It lurks at the periphery of your awareness, threatening to break through and elusive at the same time. Your mind can feel as if a fog is descending over you, settling down over the bumps and contours of your awareness, blinding you to what should be obvious.
After all, it seems like an obvious question. Someone looking at a human from the outside might ask how it could be hard to know what makes you happy and fulfilled. It’s only when you live it that you see how tricky it can be to pin down.
The obvious answers to the question aren’t satisfactory. If they were, you wouldn’t be stuck.
And there’s no point accepting this. A subtle joy comes from aligning your life with your greatest values. To live in harmony with your purpose is to truly live. Everything else seems like mere existing in comparison.
You know this already. You’re ready to be unstuck. This means that you’re ready for this exercise.
If the obvious answers aren’t satisfactory, then it’s time to move to unobvious ones. If conscious thinking doesn’t hold the answer, let’s try unconscious thinking.
This exercise is easier in a hypnotic trance. If you don’t know how to put yourself into a trance, that’s okay. Do it anyway – this activity has a good chance of putting you in one. Even better, work with a hypnotist. Having someone to keep you in trance and on track helps.
Or, if you want to cheat, do this as soon as you wake up. Make this your first task of the day – before showering, before coffee.
Have some way of recording your answers. Paper, word processor, audio recorder, whatever. You’ll want some way of capturing your thoughts.
Then, when you’re ready, think about your purpose. Consider your potential, your destiny and what gives your life meaning.
Really think about it.
Think until it hurts.
You’ll come up with all your usual answers at first. Great, record them. And keep going. You’ll probably notice it comes in bursts – a frenzy of results, followed stretches where your mind is blank. Push through these. Keep going. Keep thinking.
Aim to write at least ten things that give your life purpose. If that’s too easy, write 20 things. If it’s too hard, write 50. Don’t judge your ideas. Let them flow from you.
When you run out of ideas, keep going. Stay in trance – being relaxed and focused helps. Don’t stop. Anything that seems like a mental barrier is really a doorway to somewhere new.
If the answer isn’t in your usual thinking, then don’t stop with your usual thinking. Go beyond it. Go below it. Transcend what you normally consider.
Think until it hurts.
When you think you’re done, you’re not. The second time you think you’re done, keep going. By the third time you are sure that you’re out of ideas, maybe you are. Don’t stop before you reach this point. And don’t stop here either – keep going!
Your usual thinking doesn’t help. Exhaust your usual thinking and move on. Think new thoughts, then think newer thoughts.
If you’re not feeling exhausted and exhilarated, then you’re not done. If you haven’t surprised yourself – completely blown yourself away – then you’re not done. You are so much more creative than you ever realised, but those thoughts lie where you rarely think to look.
The paradox is that you’re not done when you think you are. If you think you’re finished, you’re still warming up. Fill the page. You’re full of hundreds of ideas. Don’t stop at 20 or 50.
Access more of yourself.
Then, when you are done – and I mean genuinely, properly complete – store these notes somewhere. Go clear your mind. Review them later today or tomorrow. Or don’t. Chances are that one of the surprising answers will stick with you. Let it linger in your mind or return during a daydream.
The answer to your mystery lies within reach of conscious thinking. It may take some time to percolate through. Give it a chance. You’ll know it when you see it.
This powerful technique can reshape your life, yet it’s nothing compared to the power of hypnosis. If you want greater access to your unconscious resources, then you need to learn how to navigate your own self. It’s as easy as daydreaming and as rewarding as a retreat. Learn all about what you can explore and unearth.