I found it helpful to imagine my life within a hierarchy of experience. There’s me, Ethan – my individual ego and identity – which fits within the human experience. The human experience is a part of the broader spectrum of life. Finally, life is part of the Universe, which contains everything that exists, alive or not.
I used this to help me identify my purpose and actions to fulfill it at these tiers/levels of experience. I was surprised at just how difficult it was to parse out different actions from one tier to the next. Despite my ability to distinguish the tiers/levels, there is enormous overlap. You could easily argue that certain actions should be moved under a different tier. And in fact, the separation is contrived.
Regardless, here is what I came up with.
The purpose of my life as an individual is to be myself.
- Engage and participate
- Treat myself with the utmost love & respect
- Say and do what I want, despite fear of judgment & ridicule
- Adopt the attitude of “I’m here and I’m proud of it”
- Have personal integrity — act in accordance with what I know is true; own myself
- Spend my time/attention/energy on what is most important and what brings me joy
The purpose of my life as a human is to evolve.
- Adapt to change
- Continue to learn new skills
- Experience as much as I can
- Treat people with the utmost love & respect
- Constantly move towards greater love & connection
- Ask questions, then answer those questions, only to discover more questions
- Think & behave in a manner that is most beneficial for my personal development and the development of the species
- Do everything in my power to create a positive impact on the world — leave the people and places I touch better off then how they were when I found them
The purpose of my life as a ‘thing that is alive’ is simply to be alive.
- Tackle life head-on
- Experience things fully
- Go outside my comfort-zone
- Do things that make me feel alive
- Be “all-in” rather than being “wishy-washy”
The purpose of my life in the context of the Universe is _______ ... every single moment of my life is a canvas/blank slate. My life has no inherent or objective meaning, only the meaning I give it.