One Great End

“Irresolution on the schemes of life which offer themselves to our choice, and inconstancy in pursuing them, are the greatest and most universal causes of all our disquiet and unhappiness. When ambition pulls one way, interest another, inclination a third, and perhaps reason contrary to all, a man is likely to pass his time but ill who has so many different parties to please. When the mind hovers among such a variety of allurements, one had better settle on a way of life that is not the very best we might have chosen, than grow old without determining our choice, and go out of the world, as the greatest part of mankind do, before we have resolved how to live in it. There is but one method of setting ourselves at rest in this particular, and that is by adhering steadfastly to one great end as the chief and ultimate aim of all our pursuits. If we are firmly resolved to live up to the dictates of reason, without any regard to wealth, reputation, or the like considerations, any more than as they fall in with our principal design, we may go through life with steadiness and pleasure; but if we act by several broken views, and will not only be virtuous, but wealthy, popular, and everything that has a value set upon it by the world, we shall live and die in misery and repentance.” – Joseph Addison, Spectator, No. 162

One of the hardest things to come to terms with in life, it seems, is singleness of purpose. Mind, body and heart are easily distracted as each, in the absence of unifying reason, tends to seek its own level.

The question, you see, is not “What do I want to get?”, “What do I want to achieve?” or “How did I want to be remembered?” The question each one must ask, if he wishes to know inner quiet and happiness, is: “According to which central purpose, which one great end, shall I live my life?”

The rest is just details.

10 thoughts on “One Great End

  1. Isabelle

    Yes, the rest is just details! There is no need to sweat the small stuff as they are just things to be handled correctly within the scope of our greater purpose.


  2. Reyes

    I wish the whole worlds population especially americas, where most of the distractions are at an optimum, could read this life changing blog! Thank you gregg!


  3. Joshua

    Our answer to that question is being given every moment of every day. How do we give it? We give it by the attitude we take toward every circumstance, toward every other person, toward every challenge we face, toward every pressure that comes to bear in relation to our experience. In a sense we could say it is the only significant question in our lives.

    “Upon so few, so very much depends”

    Today I answer that call to greatness with “Here am I, open available and with no other priorities, than to handle everything that comes my way with the utmost care, in the spirit of hospitality.” Today I realize, that “Upon me, so very much depends”
    Thank-you Gregg, for opening my eyes further.


    1. Carol

      Beautiful response Joshua! To welcome everything that comes my way with the utmost care. Few people realize it is within their power to handle their circumstances in a right way. I think those reading this blog realize that this is doable and can trust that as allow this to be a factual experience, our own lives and those of others influenced by us will help change the state of this world. “Upon me, so very much depends.” This statement puts everything in perspective.


  4. Steve V

    Unification and a sense of oneness brings an experience of wholeness. From here we can truly play our parts for which we have been designed to play in the fulfillment and joy of living. Thank you for your words today as always!


  5. Joy

    It is not difficult in the beauty of spring time to see in what direction nature responds. It seems to be drawn upwards irresistibly, burgeoning exquisitely into life. So to the single eyed heart that yearns with every fiber to know oneness with, to yield and yield and yield yet again the wayward elements of ones capacities, allowing them to be drawn ever upwards in uncompromised love for the source of life. To this end I pledge my life.


  6. Ernest

    So very true and yet living with and for one Central Purpose seems to elude most of us until it is too late. I have noted in my life as I grow older and therefore become more aware and alert to both my genuine inner desires and those of others as they age is that we all want our lives to have some genuine meaning. However, that is rarely the case as we seem to spend the majority of our lives chasing the dreams of others, or pursuing goals that do not honor the Central Purpose. Once realized this can change and often does. When we have the opportunity (privilege) we can encourage others to discover their Central Purpose as well.


  7. David R

    Chronic indecision is a peculiar flaw in character that can ruin opportunity with sickening regularity! There are points in life where many factors come together to provide a perfect or ideal initiating opportunity. If there is dithering at that point, the opportunity passes by, never to be recovered in the same way. We never wish to be rash, careless or premature in our decisions, but there are times when we need to decide, and do it promptly, just walk through the door, even if all that awaits on the other side is not clear!


  8. Carmen

    When I thought about what you have written today, I think of your ideal as having enough awareness of self to ask “what is moving me along my life’s path, and what is taking me away from it”. Right? We must learn how to frequently reflect on the state of our heart, from which all of what we are must spring, and notice when we are losing our way, while there is yet time.


  9. Lady Leo

    Wonderful quote and life saving meditation! Defining the central purpose in our lives simplifies the usual quandaries that the myriad details can pose. As our choices present themselves the hirachcy of import is squared with the support it provides to our central purpose. We chase a lot less rabbits this way and every experience has the element of satisfaction that comes from living from the inside out.


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