If you feel that your life lacks passion, purpose, meaning or integrity; and if you wonder occasionally in the quiet times; ‘Is this all there is?’ You may be living in what the poet Elliot referred to as ‘The Wastelands’. That dreadful place where boredom, depression, lack of purpose, and a sense of futility eat away gradually at your spirit and ultimately at the very essence of your ‘Life Force’.
If you’re heart tells you that you’re no longer enjoying the work you do for a living; if you sometimes question the very meaning of your existence; then you may be experiencing what Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung described as a ‘Calling’, an intuitive appeal from some deeper aspect of yourself that is tired of the life you have been living and is now yearning and questing for change.
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It has been suggested by many throughout the ages that the ‘eternal question’ is; ‘Who am I?’ but perhaps in today’s driven, materialistic world it might be better to rephrase the same inquiry as ‘What am I?’ for surely it is more a question of ‘what am I doing with my life?’ rather than who I think I am that defines and gives meaning, purpose and direction to human existence.
From the writings of the Greek philosopher Plato in his seminal work ‘Republic’ to the Babylonian epic ‘Gilgamesh’ written 2000 years before the birth of Christ, to the myths and legends that have emanated from Shamanistic peoples since the beginning of recorded history springs the recurring belief that there is a purpose and meaning to each and every human life.
The Native Americans, the Australian Aboriginal, the Inuit, and the Amazonian Indians, along with virtually all of the indigenous peoples of the world, held ceremonial rituals and Rites of Passage, Vision Quests that assisted their young people through ancient initiation ceremonies into the adult life and helped them to discover the purpose, meaning and direction of their lives.
But in our modern, driven, consumer orientated, Western cultures, largely devoid of the guiding influence of Mentors, elders, extended families, rituals, rites of passage ceremonies and the ancient, guiding tales of mythology, where does that leave us? Where does it leave our children? How can we hope to discover our own innate potential? How can we role model for our children the ability to find and follow a worthwhile path in life? These are some of the questions we must now face, for we can no longer blindly assume that our governments, schools, churches and universities are fulfilling these essential roles.
From the Great Blue Whale cruising the depths of the Southern Ocean
To the tiniest amoeba crawling along through the primordial ooze
All things in nature dance to their own natural rhythm of life
Only mankind has lost its purpose.