“How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.”—Revelation 18:7
We cannot begin to understand our own purpose without understanding something of the purpose of humanity.
Where do we begin?
For starters, we must acknowledge that there are many levels of creation, defined by scale. Just as the earth is contained in the larger context of a solar system and that solar system is contained in progressively larger cosmic patterns, so too is your individual life contained within the life of the body of humanity. The universe is one, yet it is composed of many members; humanity is one, but it, too, is composed of many individual members.
Likewise, your physical body is composed of numerous unique members. The fact that your hands is different in design from your feet, eyeballs, or kidneys does not mean that they are not a part of the larger whole, rather, it simply means that they have a unique design that permits a specialized mode of control. What makes each part different also gives each part its reason for belonging, for that which divides also connects.
Oneness is not sameness.
Oneness simply implies that component parts with individualized, unique purposes are brought together for the achievement of a larger, common purpose. Were it not for the cooperation of your digestive, respiratory, muscular, and skeletal systems to name but a few of the magnificent parts of your physical body, your function would be quite limited, wouldn’t it?
While we’re on the topic, why do you have a physical body? It lets you move around on earth and accomplish things. So in one sense it is a vehicle. A vehicle for what? A vehicle for you. But, who are you? Are you the vehicle? Some may say so. This belief I encapsulated in the statement, “We’re only human.” But are we? If we are, why then do we have the term “human being”? If we are only human, then what is the “being” part of the “human being”?
Let us argue for a moment that your physical body is the vehicle for something else. What is that something? When you drive a car you do not confuse yourself with the car, do you? The car is the vehicle and you are the driver. If we see the body as a vehicle, then, you are the driver. You use the vehicle to take you places, to get you from “Point A” to “Point B,” and you leave the vehicle when you no longer need it or when it it is worn out and beyond repair.
Some drivers are more attuned to their vehicles than others. When you ride with them they seem to be attuned to their particular vehicle. They know the vehicle’s capabilities, they recognize the vehicle as an extension of themselves, and there is a sort of kinetic beauty to the whole event. The same could be said of a talented guitarist like Santana. When you hear and see him play is is hard to separate the artist from the guitar. They are two entirely different things: one animate, the other inanimate, one built by kindlier nature and the other built by a luthier, but they come together as one in creating something new.
In this sense you can see that the being part of you is the driver or the artist; it is who you are. Your physical body, on the other hand is the vehicle or instrument that you have; your body allows you to express and move at this level of creation. Self-awareness, then, is the mature understanding of the relationship between the “human” part of you and the “being” part of you.
Every problem we face on earth stems from a basic misunderstanding of identity. Similarly, every problem you face personally is rooted in mistaken identity. To the degree that you identity with the outer you, that is, the “human” part of you, there will be confusion and a relative lack of perspective. The “being” part of you is the “higher” part of you, and as you know from flying in an airplane, the higher you are the more perspective you have on what is below.
This is the heart of the reason why so many people lacking in vision, meaning, and purpose. It is also the reason why so many human pursuits turn out to be unfulfilling. If life were simply about making money, having stuff, and accumulating power, there would be a great deal more fulfillment going around than there is.
Mankind and the individuals that compose the body of mankind are good at devising elaborate schemes, goals, and so on independent of the larger context of which it is a part, but the more prideful we become in this sense, the more we lose our sense of connection to the vastness and the oneness of the universe.
Most people try to insulate themselves from the repercussions of this state of disconnection by living small lives that are divorced from the larger body of humanity, let alone the cosmos. Unfortunately, they forget that when you divorce yourself from the whole, you lose meaning and relevance. If you cut off your hand or foot, that hand or foot is no longer relevant to your body as a whole. If you isolate yourself from the body of humanity, you become the severed hand or foot.
This is as true at the level of the individual as it is at the level of the whole body of humanity. As glorious and delicious as the fruit of our labor, achievements and conquests in science, industry, religion, society, etc. have seemed—we are encouraged to think, after all, that we are now better than we have ever been—life still seems to be filled with torment and sorrow, as it was put so eloquently and poignantly in the Book of Revelation.
No matter how exceptional you have been as an individual in accomplishing your life goals or bucket list, if those goals are divorced from the whole they will not provide the deep sense of fulfillment that you know you are capable of experiencing. They may bring a feeling sense of happiness, but happiness is to fulfillment a momentary rush of adrenaline is to a lifetime of vivid, challenging adventure.
By saying this I am not saying don’t try or don’t push yourself to achieve. I am anything but nihilistic in my view on the matter of living. There is meaning, there is purpose and both are yours to reveal through action.
So what is the purpose of humanity and how does it relate to you? Are you just born to live meaninglessly and then die? I do not possess enough faith to believe that there is no reason for life or sufficiently anthropocentric to be convinced that we are born to make up a reason for living, a purpose of being. Purpose and meaning are at hand; they are found everywhere in the universe.
And we are no exception. I do not know much, but I do know that to the degree that you as an individual and the body of humanity as a whole operates under the state of identity that says “I sit a queen, and am no widow” there will be naught but sorrow and strife. Sorrow, strife, disease, and conflict all spring from a state of disconnection, from a failure to see the connections that are present between all things.
Let go of that defiant state of identity. Take steps to open your awareness to the larger context in which you are contained, whether you like it or not, and you will begin to see yourself as you are and others as they are. Your purpose is at hand; our purpose is at hand. We do not need to manufacture it, neither do we need to collapse in a heap because we have not yet discovered it.