“You have a duty to perform. Do anything else, do a number of things, occupy your time fully, and yet, if you do not do this task, all your time will have been wasted.” Rumi
Rumi implies that when we were born, we chose a particular purpose for our life. In turn, we were blessed with a unique gift — the ability to accomplish that mission.
This purpose is entrenched in our core. However, when we entered the world, we were attracted to the “toys” of life. They dazzled and tempted us, and we gradually became lost in their illusion. We became comfortable with worldly temptations and forgot our mission and promise.
We spend our days and nights working hard to accomplish a million and one things, but we have to remember that, if we do not perform the purpose we were born to carry out, our mission is incomplete. If we perform this one task, we have done all; but if we fail in this, we have missed all. Finding our purpose and connecting with our soul enables us to realize our potential.
How do we find our promise and calling? The Sufis affirm that there are many paths to the same truth. While there is no one particular way for each seeker to fulfill his purpose in life, connecting with the spirit is essential to finding purpose. One way of doing this is by slowing down and spending time in reflection, contemplation, and meditation.
Another way of finding our calling is to imagine we are on our deathbed today and to ask ourselves what our regrets would be. This will tell us what, in the final analysis, is really important to us. Or, imagine that we have won a 20- million-dollar lottery. What kind of work would we then do? This will reveal to us what work is really important. These practices will gradually help us to clarify our inner reality.
What is the point of expending our energy if we are not enjoying what we are doing or feeling fulfilled? If we are finding that there is something amiss in our motivation, drive, or happiness, then it is time for more reflection and a more directed search for our inner self — a search for the one thing that we need to do.
The Sufis say that there is a difference between spending a night with a lover and a night with a toothache. Spending time without purpose is like spending time with a toothache, whereas spending time with purpose is like spending time with a lover. When we work without purpose, we are aimlessly going through life, and we experience pain and frustration. When we are working with purpose, we are passionate and excited.
It takes time to find our calling, but this work is important. Some describe it as being as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. The route to our calling is embedded deep inside each one of us. It is work we have to do on our own as we are all unique and come with our own individual strengths.
When we know the one thing we must do while we are here in this physical world, we have found our purpose.
(Excerpt from the book, The One Minute Sufi by Azim Jamal)