When I was about 17, I started seeing a spiritual teacher.
He lived way up north where the sky meets the ocean in delicate nuances of blue, and the light touches your face with such a serene, almost divine, quality as to draw painters to this wondrous place for centuries.
Going to see him took an entire day—riding the train through the rolling hills until the scenery gradually flattened and the air became cooler and saltier.
In a quiet room in his house, he would teach me meditation and the healing arts, and give me spiritual guidance and counseling. Rose and clear crystals slept on the windowsills and, sometimes, his huge, white Swiss Shepherd watched us lazily from his corner. Sometimes, I would go see this teacher once or twice a year. At other times, I would travel to see him twice a month.
We never scheduled our sessions in advance. His approach was based on the notion that if the need for a session arose, it stemmed from inspiration from my higher self which I should act upon only then. This gave way to an organic unfolding of my evolution and spiritual journey.
When I was about 19, I visited him with a specific intention. I had this burning sensation in my heart—a need to figure out where I was headed in life. A few nights earlier, I had met up with a friend and, over drinks and Beatles tunes, I was trying to explain to her my frustration of feeling like I was meant to do something particular, something that required huge amounts of work; I just wasn’t really sure what it was. I felt strongly that I had a specific life purpose—I knew we all did— but I was fidgety about figuring mine out and it felt like it couldn’t wait. My friend listened, but she couldn’t relate.
So, I went to see my spiritual teacher and, as he was listening to me explain myself, he smiled compassionately. “Many people feel this way,” he said, “They feel like they have a special purpose and they can’t wait to figure it out. They fret over it and spend a lot of energy trying to figure it out.”
He gave a little laugh and looked at me playfully. “What if your life purpose is becoming really good at being you? What if you’re here to just become really great at being Luca Sofia?”
I smiled vaguely and looked back at him, rather disappointed. He reminded me of the Norse god, Odin, with his long grey hair tied behind his neck, his bright, almost eerily blue eyes, one more open than the other—not a far cry from the one-eyed father of the North. I looked down at my hands and quietly agreed. Maybe this was my purpose in life.
Years later, I don’t think about my life purpose anymore. I think about what makes me happy. I think about what I like to do and how I would like to contribute. And then I set my intentions on doing that. I remember feeling disappointed when my teacher didn’t immediately jump up on his chair Tom Cruise style, shouting, “Yes! You are indeed special and your purpose in life is doing super duper important stuff!”
I wanted the specifics. The bells and whistles. And yet, when my teacher answered me, I knew he was right. I just knew.
I knew that my striving for a perceived greater purpose and the restlessness tied to figuring it all out was coming from something unsettled inside of me, something concerned with doing over being—too busy to let life unfold.
The beauty of our purpose is it materializes as we move through life. We all have an equally important one. And maybe that purpose is “just” being great at being you—the happiest and freest you that you can be. Maybe that really is the whole point of this thing called life. After all,
“There is no one alive who is youer than you.” – Dr. Seuss
Author: Luca Sofia
Image: elephant archives
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren