- 00:00 Introduction
- 2:45 Purpose is not an obligation, but an opportunity
- 10:40 Our purpose in life is to discover our purpose in life
- 21:55 Do we have one purpose, or many?
- 33:20 What are the steps to discovering our purpose?
- 43:15 We need to make a decision about the path our life will take
- 54:50 The core practice of discovery is to stay within the permanent-line inquiry
- 1:06:50 Discovering our purpose means trusting and listening to ourselves
It’s a word that can define or change a life or a community, and carries so much potential power and meaning, yet how many people can clearly answer the question, what is your purpose in life?
Purpose is usually thought of as the “why”, the reason a person exists; the central motivating impulse that guides decisions, behavior, and direction. Purpose can be that spark of passion and inspiration that causes someone to jump out of bed in the morning and embrace the day. For others contemplating a life’s purpose can feel overwhelming.
Even if we feel a sense of purpose, is it self-chosen with intention, or a blueprint for conformity influenced by our family, religion, or culture? Instead of fixing a definition, what if we think of purpose as a living process, an open-ended journey of discovery toward meaning that continually reveals itself through our passions, inspiration, and consciousness? In a time of multiple global crises, the question of purpose isn’t academic; a person or a community with a purpose can inspire and change the world. It’s also clear that our sense of purpose, even how we think about the “why” of our life, is as unique and individual as finger prints.
In this conversation, we bring together members of the Portals team to ponder the questions of purpose. Their many insights and pathways forward include:
- Do we choose our life’s purpose? Or discover and liberate innate purpose through engagement and action, like Michelangelo sculpting David?
- I will be the author of my own life; I’m defiant about anyone trying to impose a purpose on me. It has liberated me to discover things that mattered in a way that maybe didn't matter to others.
- I prefer the word skopos, which is Greek for purpose; as a verb it means I think, I detect, I stay awake, I stay alert. It's a more fluid, evolving dynamic.
- There's always been a kind of voice inside me, someone might call it my higher self. It's changed very little in my life. My journey has been to just honor that part of me.
- At 14 I began volunteering, there was already a passion for mentoring young people. My intentions and passions led me to my purpose.
- What is my part to play in the purpose of humanity? There's individual purpose, and something greater. We look at both together and form a direction for what our lives are about.
- Life gives you this incredible freedom to choose whatever you want. You don't have to join a bandwagon of what other people think. It's a very intimate discovery process of where to invest your energy and time.
- It was the impulse that there's something more going on here than we're seeing, or we're being told, and it's up to me to find it; I'm being driven to find something.
- How do you discover your purpose? One way is to ask the core questions: What is most important for you? What values you want to nurture? What energizes you?
- We need to make a decision about what we want to do with our lives. There are million things we can do, but if we want direction and purpose, we need to say yes, this is the path I'm going down.
- Allow the flow and revelation from seeing we’re tethered to the great mystery of the purpose of life at large, and the purpose of this extraordinary playground we call the Universe.
This conversation is part of the continuing Portals discovery into what is emerging on the frontiers of human experience in this time of profound change. Information about upcoming special events can be found on the Events page. Also visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
There are two saliencies when I hear all the experiences with a purpose journey. The first is there isn't one path or one way to get into purpose; there are as many paths as there are people. And no two paths are the same. The second is that in many of the experiences, there was a tension between the need to discover from the inside, and resist and defy what other people expect from you.