Aliveness and Purpose

I learned a process from Jack Canfield that I sometimes use in workshops I run that’s designed to help participants find or clarify their life’s purpose.

Before beginning the exercise I ask how many people believe that each of us has a unique life purpose- something that we were put on Earth specifically to fulfill. Usually about two thirds of the participants say they believe that we do, though a few hands are clearly raised uncertainly.

Then I ask how many people know what their purpose is- how many can articulate it- and usually only a few hands remain raised.

What’s tricky about life purpose, of course, is that we didn’t crash land on Earth with one neatly typed and tucked into our back pocket. When we were young, nobody told us what our life’s purpose is, and probably nobody told us HOW to go about finding it. And, to add additional challenge, I don’t think that any life’s purpose can be put easily into words.

But if you DO believe, as I do, that our lives do have specific purposes, then it follows that in any given moment we are either living true to our purpose or we are not. (Living on purpose ALWAYS involves serving others, by the way.)

When we live on purpose we are healthy. We enjoy the work we do AND we are able to enjoy our leisure time- something that’s surprisingly challenging for the Type A, “always on,” achievement-oriented personalities among us. When we live on purpose our relationships bring us fulfillment and satisfaction. How well things in our lives WORK is in direct proportion to how “on purpose” we are. When we’re not on purpose, things in our lives don’t work as well.

If our lives aren’t working like we want them to be- if any aspect of our lives don’t look like we want them to- the good news is that in any moment we can orient our lives towards the true north of our life’s purpose. And the instant we do, our lives begin to work better.

The great American thinker Werner Erhard tells us, “The only two things in our lives are aliveness and patterns that block our aliveness.

When you get rid of the blocks, what you have is aliveness, and when the blocks are gone, purpose emerges.

There is no use searching externally for purpose, or trying to “pull it in.” It is already there. Just focus on clearing out what is between you and aliveness….

Aliveness and purpose are practically the same thing.”

Now the question becomes, dear reader, how do you get rid of the blocks in your life?


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