Do I need to have a purpose in life?

After hours of relentlessly listening to the repetitive negative news on Corona, I was relieved to hear my cell phone ring. It was a good friend from the Toastmasters Club. In a panicky voice, she blurted out - “Sir, I’m deeply disturbed. I have been petrified, restless, and unable to sleep.” I could visualize what she was going through. Two hyperactive children who were understandably uncontrollable. A mother-in-law who was spraying and sanitizing every living and non-living object she could find. A husband who was trying every immunization remedy from chewing homeopathy sugar pills to drinking turmeric milk only added to her misery.

She continued, “I need to see a doctor. I’m heading towards a breakdown in this lockdown.” There was a challenge at hand which had to be addressed. I told her, “If you want to visit a doctor you should, but I have a small suggestion. I’m going to the local Rotary club to assist in packing and distributing rations, would you like to join me? ” In the next ten minutes, both of us were busy sorting and packing the food articles. It was well past lunchtime, four hours had gone by, and she didn’t seem to be tiring. I could see from her demeanor, her energy, and excitement in executing the task at hand. She even went out of her way and gathered resources for our group: Legends: We Care.

A few days later at my office, over a cup of coffee, I observed that she was brimming with contentment. The fear factor had magically disappeared. She asked me, “Why is that I felt so joyful and fulfilled contributing to those needy people? Should I quit my consulting work and reach out to the community? Is this my purpose in life? More importantly - Do I need to have a purpose in life?

She stepped out of the office promising to be back in a few hours. Her words – “Do you need to have a purpose in life?” set me thinking. What a question to ask during these turbulent times? As if we don’t have enough on our heads and hands (not to mention washing them a thousand times), thinking about whether our livelihoods are secure or when this crazy virus will get us?

Yet, it was a serious question on many people’s minds. To answer that - the world has seen many troubled times, and I believe that we as a human race have this phenomenal ability to bounce back. The earnings, entertainment, and the economy will bloom again. Whether the virus will strike you is more worrying, but if you have not been stupid enough to be a part of a VIP wedding or to be simply loitering, you should be safe. Nevertheless, there are no guarantees in life.

Wouldn’t it be prudent to use this unexpected and unplanned pause in your life to reflect upon how you would love to spend the remainder of your existence? Not to just get up every morning and go through the motions, but to discover things that would make every moment worthy and enjoyable.

What would make your life more meaningful? Would you want to share your gifts or knowledge towards a higher mission? Do you have a burning desire to make a difference in the lives of people, the environment, or the world? Let us examine the thought process of a few personalities.

I met a health evangelist who is passionate about making his community disease-free. An ardent traveler who has a dream to visit all 195 countries on this planet. I read about a crazy mountaineer called Colin O’ Brady who climbed all the seven tallest peaks on seven continents, including Mount Everest in just 132 days. The media is full of reports of an animal lover called Kaveri who has been feeding dogs for the last 14 years. She has dedicated her life to these canines.

Why do people do what they do? What motivates them? Is it the rush of adrenaline, an exploratory spirit, or their altruistic nature? But the bigger question is - what motivates you? What do you need to do to uncover that eluding purpose? This requires a deep inner search and a specific time-bound process. Even thinking about these lofty goals could discourage us. It needn’t do so. Ask yourself, what and when were the moments you felt connected with the world and lost track of time? Was it when you spent time narrating bedtime stories to little school children? Or was it when you were a loving spouse, parent, or perhaps a trustworthy friend? Do you want to be a communicator to share your tough times or carry the message of past masters? Maybe you are a simple, loving, forgiving, and kind soul. Wow! How many people are like you? Would you want to be a messiah of this message to anyone who traverses your path? Should your mission be compared with your competitors, friends, or even your family members? Should it make you famous or can it be simple, generous deeds that bring moments of happiness to you and the people around you?

Answers to these questions may not instantaneously open the magical door to the question – Do I need to have a purpose in life? Yet these need to be thought about. But once the lockdown is lifted you may get lost in the humdrum of life. You may choose to carry on with your normal, routine life. Life is full of choices. But if you choose to seek you’re calling in life, then it would be gratifying to truly live life to the fullest. Personally, when I reflected upon this, I was elated. It opened up a whole new world of intuitive and generous ideas about how to discover that one exceptional thing to live for.

I heard the door open and my friend walked in. She said – Sir, do you have answers to my questions. With a sly grin, I explained to her "I needed the aroma of a drink to get into the mood of extended awareness to give you my Gyan. Even a pint of Corona beer would be fine.”

With a smile on her bright face, she said – I have had enough of this quarantine experience and don’t want to spend six more months in isolation for breaking the Epidemic Diseases Act. How about the aroma of a hot cup of south Indian filter coffee?

Did I say that life is full of choices? She did not leave me with any other choice but the choice of her traditional homemade kaapi.

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