I’m writing this to the part of me that cringes when I use the word ‘purpose’, and to the part of you that does the same thing. I find myself using this word naturally, without thinking about it. But then I’m also like, ‘but do we reeeeaaaaalllly have a purpose?’. So I thought about it and came back with a satisfying conclusion. 


Here it goes.


When we’re young, we get fed this idea of a ‘purpose’. We learn about the concept through heroic tales in the form of Disney movies, bedtime stories and successful grownups. The ‘purpose’ shown to us is very linear and is usually ‘achieved’ by the completion of a certain action. Basically, the hero gets powers and saves the world. 


So that gets buried in our subconscious as a part of what ‘purpose’ entails. We then get a bit older and adopt the idea that we need to find our one true ‘passion’. The one career we were born to do. Whether it be a firefighter, an astronaut or a rockstar, it’s waiting for you. And you’d better find it!


And so when we use the word ‘purpose’ now, it’s a combination these two things. Either a specific action or a particular career. 


So then we reach a certain age where we become more realistic. We’re probably not going to save the world. Becoming an astronaut is really fucking hard. God is a silly and anti-intellectual idea. But most of all, we have no idea what the hell we want to do with our lives. So we throw this whole ‘purpose’ thing in the bin and take a shit on it while we’re at it because it’s fucking annoying. 


I don’t want to mock this stage, because I actually do believe it to be a type of awakening. One becomes aware of the enormous and complex nature of reality and oversimple concepts such as ‘life purpose’, fall by the wayside. We can’t understand our purpose intellectually. What could the universe possibly need from me? Why would anything I do matter in the greater scheme of things? Haven’t you heard how insignificantly tiny you are in the universe?


Some of us come up with less controversial answers such as: ‘well, we create our own meaning’ or ‘the purpose of life is to experience it’, Thinking that just because we have answered the question, we have escaped the problem. But from my own experience, such answers leave me feeling just as meaningless as before. 


We mature out of the idea of ‘having a purpose’. We subconsciously come to believe that life is meaningless and that nothing that we do truly matters. 

 This happens alongside our development up and through academia. Our childish wonder is slowly exchanged for a razor-sharp scalpel we call the intellect. A powerful tool indeed. 


But then we get caught in the realm of the intellect, the thinking mind. And forget that it is merely a realm. A tool. Some get stuck there for the rest of their lives. Lucky for me, I had some psychedelic experiences which temporarily cleared the fog of this overthinking mind and put me in direct contact with reality. 


When your direct experience of reality is louder than your thinking mind, you are able to more clearly feel the pushes and pulls that come from within. Meaning starts to find you. You start to get in touch with your wayfinding system. And If you follow this system, it rewards you. You feel more at one with yourself. And through synchronicities, nature pats you on the back and guides you by ‘removing impossible obstacles’. It doesn’t operate on the level of the intellect. It can seem irrational to the thinking mind. In fact, overthinking is the surest way to lose it. Your desire to understand and rationalize everything can drive a wedge between you and your actual experience. 


I don’t fully understand my purpose. I FEEL Purpose. I move with it and ask questions later. 


Ever considered that maybe the human mind is simply unable of comprehending some things? Look at what your mind does when you try to understand the concept of infinite. Chances are it gives you a picture of the symbol, or an image of the stars. Ask for any more than that and you basically get a system malfunction. 


Same thing happens when we think about Consciousness and/or God. We simply can’t grasp them. And if we’re trying to work out how the universe might need us on the grandest cosmic scale, why would it not be the same thing here? 


Trying to force your ‘purpose’ into an intellectual, fathomable box, can get in the way of you aligning with your actual Purpose. You can spend so much time and energy trying to work out if you have a purpose and what it might be, that you don’t hear the call. 


The call that can only be heard underneath the thinking mind. It requires embodied presence to be heard. It speaks in yearnings, full body reactions and intuitive inklings.


We all experience these. Yearnings with invisible end points. We don’t know where they lead, so we don’t follow them.


Maybe you love dogs. Maybe you also get along with dogs really well. Maybe you want to travel. Maybe you fantasize about living in a forest for a bit. Maybe a month. Why would I go live in a forest for a month? What could come of that? That would be random as fuck. And your life gets more and more dull and confusing. And you wish you had a fucking calling! And you dream of the forest. And when you go for walks in it, you feel like you’re finally able to breathe again. Your confusion falls away for moments. And when you play with doggies your heart lights up, and so does theirs. But you’re waiting for a calling which actually pays so you leave that shit behind. Understandable. But maybe if you tugged at one of those threads a little, you would soon find yourself unraveling the the very fabric of your being. You might start to feel it sucking you in like a cosmic vacuum cleaner. You might notice doors ‘open where before there were only walls’. Maybe money flows where passion goes. I can’t tell you. All I’m saying is that maybe if you don’t hear the call, you need to let go of your expectations and open your ears.


Because it’s there.


Now forget the map. You’ve got a Compass and it works perfectly well.


So for God’s sake, stop fucking overthinking it.

Contributor: Nick Stubbs
Nick Stubbs is a mushroom enthusiast finding his way and sharing the insights learned along the way. He studied English and Psychology at UCT, co founded the Psychedelic Society SA and is the founder and creative director of Internet Dreams.