Denes McIntosh: A greater purpose
We toil in the fields, in the factories, in the cubicles, in the corporate offices, and in the restaurants, bars and cafés.
We try to find satisfaction in the work we do, all the while knowing that work inherently provides a greater reward than not working ever could.
We don’t really discover this truth, however, unless we’ve been both employed and unemployed at some point during our lifetime; but clearly that has been the experience for most of us.
If we work at a job that is not in alignment with our soul, however, with our purpose in life, we find that it wears us down, wears us out, and prompts us to either hunker down and unhappily accept the status quo, or seek a source of satisfaction elsewhere. The dissatisfaction of such a job, the hopelessness, the futility of going through motions that we find no purpose in is like a hamster on a wheel for many.
It is a passing of time, but not a purposeful use of our time, other than for a paycheck. That paycheck is important, but finding our higher calling is what can make a world of difference in an, otherwise, mundane existence.
Now I’m not saying that a server in a cafe, or a laborer, or a factory worker is not serving their higher calling. And I’m not implying that a successful artist, teacher, or doctor is. It is not about the status of the work, the recognition, or the pay scale. It is about the place where we fit well with ourselves, the place that feeds our souls, the place that enables us to have the greatest peace about what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it.
It is an alignment with something greater than our self. For some, being a servant is the highest calling of all. And I’m not one who would ever disagree with that. For some it is reaching for the pinnacle of financial success, gaining a position of influence and advantage. And for some it might be in entertaining others. For some, building a bridge, or cleaning houses, writing a book, or trimming trees. Every person is unique, and every calling unique to the one who answers it. It is about how we are with what we do, and what we do with our circumstances, influence and experience.
It is good fortune for an individual to find his life’s work. It is an easy thing to find for some people. Some know their path from a very early age, but some don’t find it until much later in life. For some it takes the experience of life to stumble upon the work that fulfills them, but when they do they recognize it as their own.
Some people do, and will always, look at work as just a way to make a living, often hopping from job to job. And that’s OK. Work is noble in and of itself. Most people have to make a living; each of us must find a way, and sometimes the abstract does not need to enter into the equation at all. People can, and do, find their higher calling outside of work as well; and that too is important, particularly if it is not found on the job.
What matters is that we find our greater purpose, in life, and in our day to day. It is fundamental to our happiness. And I feel confident in saying that one’s happiness can, and often does, affect (in some small way) someone else’s along the way as well.
Undoubtedly, living one’s greater purpose in life can be contagious in and of itself.
Denes McIntosh lives in Grass Valley.
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