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Thich-Nhat-Hanhimage credit: http://theeasiersofterway.com/2012/10/daily-thought-101112-thich-nhat-hanh/

Thich Nhat Hanh tells a story about asking some children, “What is the purpose of eating breakfast?” The first kid answers, “To get energy for the day,” but another child says, “The purpose of eating breakfast is to eat breakfast.”


I find watching aspects of nature fearlessly, proudly and patiently growing into their purpose is a great teaching for me, so here’s poem on that topic, which I wrote while on retreat a couple of months ago.

I met a young apple tree

in the chill bright of pre-spring

i only knew that’s what it was

because it had a label

without which I’d have been forgiven

for thinking it was a forgotten walking stick

upright and strong

though perhaps unusually knobbly

as the weeks went by

we met several times

and I witnessed with wonder

the transformation of the bulbous knobs

into the white pink softness

of new life

sprung as if from dry death itself

with unrepentant joy

and unhurried patience

for the softness birthed mere tantalizing millimeters

in the weeks that followed

and so I learned to slow down

until I breathed, and noticed

and I let my skin tell me

it was being touched by the sun

and drank it all in to feed my own ripening


So that was the lesson from an apple tree, and here is what I wrote more recently based on the exercise I mentioned yesterday. This time I chose to go with, ‘the most important thing life has taught me about why I’m here is…that it changes.:

I’ve had so many passionate purposes in my life, some I identified with deeply and held with great dedication and sincerity, and oh so tightly. Now I find myself without one single, overriding, all consuming ‘purpose’, and I really miss it and I notice and acknowledge this as life’s invitation to let go, for my purpose, my passion changes, at least certainly outwardly, and there is great value in digging deeper to find those elements of my reason for being that do not change, and yet, I seek and seek and, though I feel like I must be close enough to touch them, I reach out and…there’s nothing there, just life, living, responding, inter-being, and interweaving just as the elements, and more, came together to create this me that I am now.

So where to go from here? I need to let go of my need to find an expressible, definable purpose that’s impressive, visible, meaningful and positive. The purpose of my life is to live, and if I can, to reach that level of acceptance of my own humbleness and simplicity, then perhaps I will recognise just what a complex, creative and magical being I at essence am. A flower being a flower, an apple tree being an apple tree, me being me. Perhaps it’s really that simple.


Any more thoughts friends? This purpose topic is a biggie, no?