A meta-map for how Purpose expresses itself in this lifetime and beyond…
The Many Flavors of Purpose
Purpose is a concept that’s getting tossed around a lot these days. It’s nearly become a spiritual cliché in many transformational healing subcultures. Perhaps this is partly because the concept of Purpose is usually defined as a singular one-dimensional construct.
All are different flavors of Purpose. All have a time and place.
What I would propose is that Purpose is actually a multidimensional living being that manifests in a myriad of ways simultaneously.
The best way for me to illustrate this is to map out my own understanding of Purpose, in all its dimensions, as it’s revealed itself to me thus far.
The Divine Purpose of Life is for God to experience God, awakening to the realization that every type of Purpose is inherently Divine. Our so-called Divine Purpose is actually just one of an infinite number of other Divine Purposes, and all these Divine Purposes arise and fall in the ocean of Divine Purpose. There’s nothing one needs to “do” to fulfill their Divine Purpose, for they already are that Divine Purpose in-action. Even if we consciously make an effort to awaken to our Divine Purpose, that itself is the very fulfillment of Divine Purpose. The seeking is what is being sought. The simplest way to say this is that our Divine Purpose is and always will be fully realized, for it’s impossible not to be the very thing we already are. Congrats!
Check out Facets of Unity by A.H. Almaas to learn more.
The next holon of Purpose is the realm of Astral Purpose. Imagine that God gives birth to an infinite number of souls that swim in and out of various cosmic dimensions, including the physical “3D” realm that Planet Earth exists on. These souls incarnate in a kaleidoscope of shapeshifting ways on a journey to merge back into union with Source. This is where the concept of past lives come in as well as karmic burdens from previous incarnations. It can be said that our souls, in this lifetime, chose to embody in these human vessels to experience their karmic unfoldings on a journey to explore, expand and re-member with Source.
In this lifetime, we may be drawn to certain souls whom we feel a deep and familiar intimacy with, a sense of “I already know you” (i.e. the concept of Twin Flames). Sometimes a life circumstance will unfold that seems too extraordinary to be ordinary, and it feels as if Divinely-orchestrated events are unfolding beyond “this realm.” At times this can be extremely painful or difficult, as if we know we have to walk into the metaphorical fire despite it burning us alive. It could be said this is the work of our Astral Purpose in-motion, on a mission to heal from past karmic burdens and continue our homecoming journey back to Source.
Many religious, spiritual and mystical traditions reveal that our Purpose is to awaken to our True Nature. Unlike our Astral Purpose, this does not occur over a myriad of lifetimes and incarnations. Awakening can only ever be right here, right now. And in contrast to our Divine Purpose, our Awakening Purpose is, in a sense, intended to take us somewhere different than where we are presently…if not literally, at least experientially.
It’s called Awakening because we can awaken from the illusion of being a separate self, until we further awaken to realize we’re also a separate self. This is called nonduality. At first we may become aware of Awareness, which is the Empty nature of Reality, or Nothingness. From Emptiness rises Fullness, or Somethingness, which can be witnessed by Awareness itself. But this still means there’s a duality, so from there we can experience Emptiness and Fullness or Nothingness and Somethingness simultaneously, as if they’re two sides of the same coin. Eventually, we are that Emptiness and Fullness. There is no separation whatsoever. But when there’s no separation, there’s duality still, because the only way there can be no thing is for there to be some thing. So eventually this duality also collapses, and on and on it goes.
There is no end point, and for most people their Awakening Purpose is not a simple linear process that can be mapped by the mind, for what’s being mapped is the Mind that gives birth to the mind. Still, many have tried, including David Hawkins and Ramaji. This Actualized video covers 30 facets of Awakening, which we could say are 30 possibilities for how our Awakening Purpose can express itself.
It can be said that everything that happens in life is here on behalf of our Awakening Purpose, as if each moment is guiding us Home to our ever-unfolding-Self. Some may decide to make their Awakening Purpose their sole purpose and spend years meditating and/or living a monastic life, or entering a spiritual community. For others, they stabilize at a certain place in their Awakening Purpose and re-enter the marketplace, as the Zen tradition’s Ten Oxherding pictures illustrate. Often this is when one begins to redirect their energy towards other aspects of Our Multidimensional Purpose.
The next holon is our Mythopoetic Purpose, also sometimes referred to as our “Soul Purpose.” Unlike our Astral Purpose which expands over multiple lifetimes and cosmic dimensions, our Mythopoetic Purpose is unique to this one particular lifetime embodied as a human, and not just any human, this specific human named Tucker with his unique persona, history and potential.
Our Mythopoetic Purpose is a particular identity that each human has the potential to discover, embody and enact as a form of service to themselves, their communities and to all of life. Often this form of Purpose reveals itself as an image, a metaphor, a sound or shape that we feel in our bones and our wild imaginations long before the cognitive mind catches up, if it ever does.
We could say, at its simplest form, it’s our core archetype for this lifetime. But unlike most archetypes, it’s explicitly and solely unique to us. There is no other human that can embody this archetype the way we can, and if we fail to do so, there will forever be a missing puzzle piece in the tapestry of Life.
Vision quests, which often involve solitude in remote nature and fasting from food, are one time-tested psychotechnology that have been used by humans for thousands of years spanning nearly all cultures and geographical regions.
Dreamwork, plant medicine, communing with nature and participating in various trance-inducing rituals are a few of the many ways humans can make themselves available to the realms where our Mythopoetic Purpose awaits for our beckoning call.
An aspect of my Mythopoetic Purpose that has emerged over the course of a number of years of deep soul journeying is:
Seer, the one who sees and is seen. A Lighthouse guiding those who are lost at sea Home to the Island Within.
Our Evolutionary Purpose is something that is already unfolding in the background, though bringing conscious awareness to it can catalyze its maturity and transformational potential.
Throughout history, humans (and Life itself) have, from the evolutionary perspective, unfolded with increasing complexity. Developmental Psychology is one specific field that studies this phenomenon in the human experience, revealing how our psychological capacities take on increasing capacity to hold a multitude of perspectives, worldviews and belief systems.
While there are many maps charting this territory, perhaps the simplest one is to illustrate the evolution of worldviews, from Archaic, to Tribal, to Traditional, to Modern, to Postmodern, to Integral, to Post-Integral and beyond. As we move from one worldview to another, our entire concept and meaning of Purpose, in all its facets, can drastically shapeshift.
The Golden Thread: Where to Find Purpose in the Stages of Your Life is an illuminating read about how Purpose shows up in various constructions through our developmental evolution.
The next holon of Purpose appears in the subtle psychological dimension and could be called our Ego Purpose. Ego gets a bad rap these days, but there’s nothing inherently wrong or bad about constructing an Ego Purpose. In fact, they can be vital to living happy lives and becoming thoughtful members of society. They can also be a step-ladder bringing us into deeper intimacy with the other dimensions of Purpose.
Some examples of Ego Purpose as they’ve presented themselves throughout my life:
- My purpose is to use storytelling as a medicine that opens people’s hearts and expands their minds.
- My purpose is to live deeply in love with the woman of my dreams.
- My purpose is to be the most loving father I can possibly be.
- My purpose is to be a better son to my parents who’ve given me so much.
- My purpose is to bring light to my shadows and expand my capacity to love.
- My purpose is to trust God and surrender to whatever life brings me.
These are beautiful purposes! They may profoundly touch our hearts. They may act as a moral compass. They may allow us to prioritize what’s truly important. They may give us meaning and a mission to live for!
The risk, of course, is becoming overly attached and identified with any one of our ego’s purposes, suffering when life doesn’t deliver them as we desire. In fact, overly identifying with any dimension of Purpose can cause this, which is why having a multidimensional framing of Purpose can be constructive in allowing us to focus on one facet at a time, as the seasons of life steer our attention to where love is most called.
The popular Japanese map called Ikigai is a fantastic tool to develop our Ego Purpose.
Our Unconscious Purpose is, by definition, often operating under the radar of our awareness. Usually our Unconscious Purpose is rooted in trauma, fear, psychological patterning and a fundamental feeling of separation that perpetuates a very real fear of death on both a psychological and physiological level.
I may think my Purpose here is simply to write a beautiful essay about the multidimensional ways Purpose can express itself, but what I may or may not be aware of is that my Unconscious Purpose is perhaps to get attention and likes from my readers to create an often short-lived feeling that “I matter” and am worthy of not just love but of being alive at all. This belief likely stems from a Core Wound story of not being enough, of not being inherently lovable. So these psychological parts play out in the background of awareness, shaping and infusing the actions of the other Purposes, as if all Purposes are children in a family that co-create each other just as much as they are also separate selves with their own unique personalities and experiences.
When we recognize our Unconscious Purpose at play, and it creates suffering, we often create an Ego Purpose to “heal” which brings more awareness and consciousness to our Unconscious Purpose. In this way, our Unconscious Purpose is just as much a gift as any other facet of Purpose, and it should be loved and valued for its vital role in our unfolding.
Any trauma healing modalities and deep inner work can help illuminate our Unconscious Purpose(s). One program that was particularly powerful for me was working the 12 Steps.
Our Primal Purpose is not just to survive, but to thrive. As animals called homo sapiens, we need to eat, sleep, procreate and seek shelter. Often this requires the support of our fellow humans. We need our tribe. We need belonging. We need a sense of meaning. We need safety, support and love. In our modern capitalist society, we need money and financial stability, as well as access to medical care.
Beyond all this, we are physical incarnations of Life itself. We want to express ourselves! To play, laugh, dance, sing, create and destroy. We want to live. And sometimes we even want to die. Our Primal Purpose is to simply be an expression of lifeforce energy however it manifests.
Any embodiment practice — including dance, martial arts, sports, art, eating, sleeping, sex, etc. — can bring us more in touch with our Primal Purpose.
Present Moment Purpose
At the end of the day (and even at the start of the day), all there is, is This Present Moment. Right here. Right Now. This. Whatever is happening…Now…is also our Purpose. In fact, this might be the most “real” Purpose of them all, for it is what’s really happening in the only moment we’re alive: This One. If you’re sitting down, reading, breathing, thinking, conceptualizing, questioning, listening to music — whatever you’re doing…now…is clearly 100% your Purpose. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be happening!
Like Divine Purpose, all Purposes only exist from the ground of Present Moment Purpose. In that way, Purpose is not a linear vertical map rather a circle, with Present Moment Purpose and Divine Purpose starting and ending the infinite wheel.
Like Divine Purpose, we are never not living our Present Moment Purpose. It’s always living us. When we awaken to This, we’re Home.
The End Is Just The Beginning
The Purposes explored here can be visualized as children in a family. Together, they make up the tribe we belong to. Individually, they are all unique. Yet each impacts the other. I would not be the Tucker I am today without my two sisters and younger brother. We all co-created each other. We are completely interdependent and completely independent simultaneously. We are One, and we are many. These are not paradoxes. They are, dare I say, reality.
There is no need to have a relationship with each facet of Purpose. In fact, sometimes honing in on one facet or going fully and wholly into a few can be exquisitely nourishing, necessary and wise. For others, having an integral weave of many dimensions of Purpose can feel like, in a sense, their Purpose. There is not a right or wrong, rather an array of possibilities that allow you to construct the life you desire.
My hope is that this mapping of Our Multidimensional Purpose can illuminate new territory for you to dive into your fullness, or simply dip your toes in something new. After all, you’ll always be swimming in the ocean of Divine Purpose and surfing the waves of Present Moment Purpose. There’s no escaping that, only forgetting.
Are there more dimensions of Purpose not listed here? Absolutely. Infinitely more. The ones above are simply what I’m aware of at this moment. Maybe you can help me build out the map, and we can co-create Reality together. Isn’t that awesome?
Lots of love,
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