Your two-fold purpose

“Your ultimate purpose is to find your way back to God, but you also have a task to perform in the outer world.” Paramahansa Yogananda, The Law of Success, p. 21

This is a succinct way of describing the purpose of a person’s life. The first purpose is to ‘find their way back to God’ – to reconnect with God. The story of the Garden of Eden is primarily important from a Christian perspective because it sets the stage – we find ourselves (in many cases) disconnected from God, and this is the point of the story of the Garden of Eden. Our primary purpose in life is therefore to reconnect with God. This is why Jesus is the ‘New Adam’, who has come to provide a way back to God (“I am the way, the truth, and the life”).

The second purpose is ‘a task in the outer world’. This purpose (more accurately, purposes), however, comes from God, and so depends to a significant degree on the first purpose. Once you are able to listen to God better, and respond to Him, be ‘meek’ in the Biblical sense (i.e., responsive to God, or ‘meek as Moses’ who, according to the Old Testament stories, guided the ancient Israelites for a long time and through many challenges – Moses was not meek in the typical sense of the word) – then you will be able to hear what that purpose(s) is and receive guidance on how to act.

Reconnecting with God from a Christian perspective can be done through following the teachings and example of Jesus, and in particular through regular prayer. Prayer and meditation (Yogananda’s focus for reconnecting with God) have many points of contact, and, indeed, there are meditative types of prayer deep in the Christian tradition. I don’t think prayer and meditation should be seen as exclusive or contradictory in the general outline – certain meditative approaches can help to intensify certain kinds of prayer, and so from a Christian perspective, meditative techniques are tools to help with the ongoing prayer life, the ultimate aim being the ‘prayer never ceasing’ – to bring the sense of contact with and guidance by God into every moment of our day-to-day life.

 

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