The Essence of Life: Who? Why? What?

Posted on April 21, 2012


“Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you.” (Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak)

What is life all about?
What are the essentials?
What are the non-essentials?
When I drill down to the core of my existence here on earth,
what is there?
What really matters?
What doesn’t?
What gets me up in the morning?
What doesn’t?

The beauty of life on earth is this:
Creation is speaking to us in a continual stream of messages.
Moment by moment, life demands of us to awaken, pay attention…
Stop, listen and wait… wait and listen…
Creation is not silent.
It is continually speaking to us
giving us clues.
Are we listening?
Is it sustained listening?
Do we wait and listen… listen and wait… in expectancy, in faith… for what life has to tell us?

Remember this:
We will not get the whole truth, only measured truth, our manna for the day, what we need for the next step on our journey, our daily bread.
Why? Because when we think we know the whole truth, we stop listening, we stop learning; our minds and our heart become closed, like clenched fists, thinking we already know….
When we recieve what we need for the day, for our next steps, then we must continue to listen.
We, then, must remain open, listening and waiting.
… hungry each day for more.
Life asks of us three questions:
WHO am I? (my identity in life)
WHY am I here? (my purpose in life)
WHAT am I going to do about it? (my meaning in life)
The WHO and the WHY are what is given to us when we first arrive here on earth.

It is my earthly task to discover the WHO and the WHY of ME.

The WHAT is my own creation. What will I do with what I know, with the truth that has been given to me?
What will I do with the truth that is continually being spoken to me through all of creation, moment by moment, day by day?
“How then shall I live?”

Without knowing my identity
I cannot know my purpose.
And without knowing my identity and my purpose,
I cannot design a meaningful life.

Do I know who I am? At my core, what motivates me, what drives me, what matters to me? What are the values that make up my character? We all come here as a gift and full of gifts. Can I see this? Do I understand the “me” in this skin of mine? What are my gifts? What unique “place” do I fulfill here on this earth that no one else has ever or will ever be able to fill? Am I living a full and fulfilled life in this “place” where I belong? Part of that belonging includes the question: “Whose am I?” To whom do I belong here on earth? Where is my soul group? Who is it that makes me feel at home? The question, “Whose am I?” not only helps me identify who I am but also identifies my relationships of belonging with people, with the earth, with the universe, and with the creative force behind all of creation… the Creator.

Why am I here? Why does my life matter… to anyone or anything? What is the good that I am here to bring? And to whom? There is a reason for my existence. I have been created with a pupose. Do I know what that is? Am I living that out? Can my purpose be seen throughout everything I do, every moment of every day? What am I doing with those “gifts” that I was given? Gifts are given to us to be given to others. Am I using my gifts? They were not meant to be sat on or be buried.

What am I doing about all this? How have I designed my life? Who do I touch on a daily basis? Am I open to try something new? Do I live with open hands as an expression of my open heart, my open mind, and my open will? Do I live in fear of living out loud? Is my life a testimony to my faith? … to my identity? … to my purpose? Can people see who I am and why I am here by the way that I live? Am I hiding? Are my gifts buried? Or is my heart afire, continually seeking how I can engage this world by using my gifts? What impact do I have? Do I make a difference? What will I leave behind?

I come here as a child…
knowing who I am.
Each day, living who I am…
exploring and working out my purpose.

Then life happens. Things like teenagehood, adulthood, career, money, material possessions, marriage, children, etc. All of these things can knock us off our purpose, unless we know and remember who we are. All of these are distractions anchored in what is temporal. We begin life… being ourselves and living out our identity. As life happens, we lose track of who we are, our identity, throughout most of adulthood… so many distractions… so many attractions!
And if we are lucky
We are blind-sided by mid-life crisis or just life crises.
The curtain of amnesia and slumber lifts,
And we begin to remember who we are.

But how can we know, pre-crisis, that we are losing (or have lost) ourselves? For most of us, it is like asking the fish, “How’s the water?” and the fish answering with its own question of puzzlement, “What water?” Do we have to hit the wall… to wake up? Are there indicators that we can look for?

It all begins with Seeing, going beneath the surface, lifting the hood, in curiosity and wonderment. Is there more? What’s under here? What makes me tick? What am I all about… really?

It is a question of integrity. Does my soul align with my role?
How do things line up in my life? My career, my possessions, my family, my religion?
Do these things aline with what I know about WHO I am, WHY I am here, and WHAT I’m doing about it?
Do these all line up with what I know to be true and pure deep in my soul?

It is all about the journey, rather than the destiny; the questions, rather than the answers. The journey IS the questions.
If I already know, I can no longer learn. I repeat this to myself everyday and it still comes back around and nails me to the wall. If I already know, I can no longer learn. This I must remember.

Living with open hands is letting go of the answers and embracing the questions.
Living with open hands is letting go of certainty and embracing mystery.
Living with open hands is letting go of knowing and embracing wonder.

My life has been dis-integrated. I am merely beginning the process of turning the soil, busting the sod, opening up.
This book is a journal of my journey to the center of who I am and why I am here, discovering my own disintegration, the contradiction between my soul and role. Doing the inner work of discovery and then taking small, simple steps, one at a time toward integration of soul and role… toward integrity.

Looking back, I realize that when I first began to write out my questions, I was going deeper, taking the plunge, beyond the facade, beneath the surface of things to what lies beneath. Only now am I beginning to see that without the stripping away, the letting go… the fire … I would not See the gold that lies there, beneath the surface layered with nonessentials.