Facing the Mistakes of Life VIII

It is a greater mistake to err in purpose, in aim, in principle, than in our method of attaining them. The method may readily be modified; to change the purpose may upset the whole plan of our life. It is easier in mid-ocean to vary the course of the ship than to change the cargo.” ~ William George Jordan

So much of life depends upon a clarity of purpose, yet so little time is devoted in the education of our children to draw forth a clear sense of purpose from each one. More time, it seems to me, is focused on the methods of achieving, than on the formation of a clearly articulated and individualized life purpose. Achieving, as it were, is more highly prized than being.

Surface purposes abound, and humanity expends countless calories in the pursuit of frivolous aims, yet how few, how precious few consecrate themselves to the actualization of their individualized expression and the realization of the fundamental and timeless goal: “as above, so below.” Rather than allow the circumstances and relationships at hand to be contact points for the radiation of their inner qualities and intrinsic nature, they seek to derive a sense of value and meaning from the outside in, mistakenly believing that the perfect arrangement of people and things will bring happiness.

You needn’t look far to see that such an approach is futile. Evidence of the failure of the outside-in approach is available at every turn. Take the United States, for example. No group of people has ever spent their way into happiness. Momentary satiety, yes, but never happiness.

Happiness and fulfillment come as life purpose is translated from invisible potential to visible manifestation. No one can tell you what your purpose is, and to accept another’s vision of your purpose is a fool’s errand. Happiness arrives only on the heels of personal radiance, of outward expression, from the core of you out into the world you are privileged to center. If you settle for less, say contentment or satisfaction, you will have your reward and I wish you well. If your innermost longings cannot be assuaged by the understudies of happiness, that is, contentment and satisfaction, you’re almost there.

If you can articulate the question, you can discover the answer.

And in this case, the answer comes invariably from within.

10 thoughts on “Facing the Mistakes of Life VIII

  1. Brigitte

    Really wonderful starting points for anyone to truly understand what it is to be themselves and to be the best of themselves!


  2. Kai Newell

    What I appreciate about this blog is it is not trying to give an answer – it would be impossible to give fir each individual that which they can only come to know for themselves. But what amazing keys to help form the question through which the answer can be known!


  3. happytobehere

    Correct the things that are obvious to us and it’s a beginning. This is not a one time event, it is life long. If it seems arduous, we’re going through the motion but not actually doing it. It’s about changing, being malleable to the grace that comes our way as we live to the standard of our highest self. It is not punishment to correct a course, it is punishing to stay on an inaccurate one, you forgo peace and fulfillment. It’s plain and simple, we can all look at our lives and ask ourselves, “How’s that working for you?”


  4. Colin

    I assume that each of us will make mistakes in our life, because the world is a place that has a random element. Yet if we own up to our mistakes, if we apologize if necessary, and make the correction so the mistake doesn’t continue, we have a good shot of being able to continue down life’s path relatively unscathed. But if we try to cover it up and pretend like everything is ok, the mistake will be compounded! Using Jordan’s example, we have the right cargo but our heading is wrong. Instead of changing headings, we alter the paperwork and modify the ship’s compass so that it simply looks like we are going in the right direction. It might fool people for awhile, but eventually it will be clear that we are not going where we should, and it will be so much work to sail all the way to where we were going in the first place! If we had made the small correction out to sea, we would have hardly gone out of our way at all. It seems stupid when you lay it out like that, but it is amazing how often this plays out countless times every day, from personal relationships to the running of countries.


  5. Beth C

    I think it is important at the end of each day to ask myself – “Did I stay on course today? Was my purpose served by my expression here, and here and here? What course correction should I make?” There are many currents in the charted course which will have unintended and unfortunate influence if not corrected .


  6. David R

    The thought of living with purpose has been emphasized and popularized, just on the basis of the fact that the more a person is able to maintain focus in a purpose – any purpose – the more likely that person will be to achieve in that field. “You can get what you want. Just focus hard enough on your objectives. That’s your purpose, and you’ll get there.” But to acknowledge a purpose that is not of one’s own making or is not related to self-centered concern, is virtually unknown. If it is true that there is a larger, integrating purpose for our individual lives, literally everything changes.

    So now you’ve gone and opened a real doorway to the unknown! Of course there is value to short-term objectives and aspirations, but only as they spring from this over-arching individual purpose. This line of consideration touches into the deepest longings and the broadest capacity of any person. Ultimate meanng in life centers in awareness and actualization of the purpose you describe here. Big stuff!


  7. Pingback: Facing the Mistakes of Life VIII | Gregg Hake's Blog | HappyTipsDaily

  8. Coco

    I think the point you made today applies to our system of education as well. Our present crisis in that system is a type of fallout from mankind’s lack of understanding of purpose. Comprension of purpose determines the results that are achieved, whether it’s people or our systems…any system, relationships, government, business or even our planet. This is the ultimate ripple effect and it starts with the top of the food chain, us.
    Practical post, great beginning for analysis.


  9. Ricardo B.

    Well that’s an interesting shift of perspective. I think we rather unconsciously draw things like security, comfort and purpose from the outside, from what’s around us. From what we do and what our social structures compel us to do. The media derives its success by selling happiness – most of the advertisements – at the turn of the dial, the flick of a switch, the flash of an image, the click of a button. It’s fast, it’s not cheap, and it typically leaves us wanting more. All this, perhaps rather unwittingly, trains our focus to be outside of us, creating a strange dependency on exterior stability for our inner sense of well-being. Not good, because our surrounding landscape is ever in a state of flux and dynamic change. How much depression that I see in my clinical practice is a function of this God only knows, but I sense that it’s quite a bit.
    To shake off this dependency on material wealth or relationships or social stability is a huge lesson in my book. Freedom is where you are you, regardless of where you are, who you are with, and what you have. If any of those things change, you still remain. Immaculate!
    Let the fires of our true hunger never be fully satisfied while we live – perhaps The Stones had it right all along 🙂 !


  10. Lady Leo

    It is the foundation for everything else we do. What a clear explanation of the very basis of each life, the root of our individuality. Well said, thank you.


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