What is the purpose of life? I think that even asking this question shows the difference between humans and animals. Who knows what animals think. I do not claim to have any skill or methodology to find that out. However, I dare to doubt that animals think about philosophical issues as much as we humans do. When I observe animals, it seems to me that they simply enjoy the here and now – their existence. Something we humans can for sure learn from animals. However, if we ask the question of our purpose of life, our why, it shows that we humans have a tendency to want to go deeper, want to know more than where we get our food from this day.
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.Mark Twain
Overall I think our ultimate purpose is to find the “tree of life” thus the path to eternal life. God promises to us that our soul can live forever in and with him in paradise. We read in the Bible that after God sent Adam and Eve away from paradise, he sent them to earth to find through material life the way back to him – to his spiritual being.
We need to earn our eternal life and God gave us clear rules. In the 10 commandments and scriptures we read clearly how to go about that. Jesus in my view is this tree of life for us. He mentions that no one will go through paradise except through him. He showed us God’s endless mercy. Thus, forgetting the self – the ego more, doing good, following the commandments and thus finding the way back to God and eternal life is in my view the ultimate purpose of the human species.
In addition, I personally believe that the “why”-question and the purpose of life also has an individual angle. Everyone has their own personal purpose and task to fulfill their learning units here on earth. That makes the whole thing very difficult for some. From childhood, many of us are told what is right and wrong, what we should and should not do. What our environment thinks about us with family, acquaintances, society etc. telling us what is good for us. And then suddenly there is the question of why, of the whole meaning behind it that goes deeper.
For our purpose, the outer world remains silent. Hopefully nobody says to us: “The meaning of your life is to paint beautiful pictures and make people happy with them” or “to become a good carpenter and to create beautiful wooden furniture which many will enjoy for a long time”, or “to become a salesperson to advise people well so that they get exactly what they are looking for and need” etc. as this is just a profession but not the whole purpose right? No – we have to find out for ourselves why we are here on earth, what our mission is.
For many, this is too troublesome. They prefer to follow what is indirectly imposed on them by society and their environment. Or we plunge into sensual desires and distractions and spend hours and hours in front of the television where we can indulge without doing anything or in front of the computer where social media and Co. let us find out about others instead of meeting them in person.
Finding out what the personal path of life is, requires effort, going deep into ourselves and learning to use our intuition. I find Paolo Coelho’s book “The Alchemist” excellent: A shepherd has a dream and starts to search for a treasure. He breaks out of his comfort zone, develops himself incredibly, follows the signs laid out for him and learns the lessons life is offering and thus finds his purpose in life. A very nice illustration! Let’s go, let’s find the personal meaning of life that our Creator intended for each of us. With leaving our comfort zone, using our intuition and paying attention to the signs on our path God has laid for us, we will be able to find our very personal purpose of life.