Flow, Freedom, Fulfillment

by Christopher Lovejoy on August 5, 2021

This post is inspired by something I read on my Kindle, in a classic book entitled Flow. In the final chapter of this book, the author explores a most intriguing proposition, namely, that one can rise to prioritize, optimize, and realize flow, freedom, and fulfillment in every moment.

Is it even humanly possible to bring all of life into a unified flow experience?

Fortunately, the author answers this question in the affirmative, and he does so with a focus on meaning. Unlike the author, however, I do not concede anything with respect to whether life itself has any inherent meaning ~ it might, but then again, it might not; I do not presume.

Regardless of whether life has any inherent meaning, I nevertheless remain open to mapping the making of my own meaning, such that “the meaning of life is a life of meaning,” which I choose to map and make for myself. Thankfully, the author of Flow offers much food for thought.

All the better if living and loving a life of meaning, of living and loving my life with meaning, leads me to learning, loving, and living the ultimate meaning of my life.

My Ultimate Purpose?

With respect to, and with respect for, the meaning of life, purpose mediates meaning and direction. A purpose in life not only gives direction to life, it also brings meaning to life. Paradoxically, purposelessness is also a kind of purpose if, as, and when it becomes a reverence for life.

Just as the meaning of life can be construed as a life of meaning, so too can the purpose of life be construed as a life of purpose, and so, in view of these construals, one might be inclined to ask: what is the ultimate meaning of life, the one meaning that informs and inspires all other meanings? Could it be a life that realizes the ultimate purpose of life? If so, what is the ultimate purpose of life?

The Ultimate Purpose of Life could very well be hiding inside the fabric of nature and human experience, one that is valid for everyone, but in reality, we can also acknowledge and entertain that there is no such purpose, in which case, we are totally free to choose one for ourselves.

In saying this, I also realize that, for whatever reason, the intelligence and wisdom that guides and governs the expression and evolution of this magnificent Universe loves ~ absolutely loves ~ oodles of gratitude and generosity. Why this is I do not know, but it does offer a vital clue.


consider: Source Consciousness always already abides in gratitude and generosity

consider, too: in keeping with Universal Law, you, too, might also be able to abide

If I were to feel and express gratitude in all that I say and do, would this not be enough to be and feel generous in all that I say and do? If so, would this not serve to have me realize my own ultimate purpose? And thereby realize the ultimate in personal freedom and fulfillment?

Feel and express gratitude in all that I say and do? Be and feel generous in all that I say and do? This coupling of gratitude and generosity seems like an impossible standard to meet, day in and day out, one moment to the next, but what if it could actually be met as such?

Granted, dichotomous thinking is a tricky matter to navigate, but just “what if ?”

The author of Flow writes, in essence, that from a causal point of you, your choice of ultimate purpose in life does not matter, just so long as it remains compelling enough for you to stay motivated and inspired to bring meaning and direction to a lifetime’s worth of psychic energy.

Consider . . .

  1. my ultimate purpose is to curate the very best collection of butterflies in the world
  2. my ultimate purpose is to inspire humanity to create a paradise of peace and prosperity on Earth
  3. my ultimate purpose is to produce children that flourish and prosper in this world

Any of these candidates for Ultimate Purpose are evidently compelling enough, but do you nevertheless get a sense that one candidate is more inclusive than the others? And do you not get a sense that a worthy candidate for Ultimate Purpose is not just any compelling purpose?

I have many a compelling purpose in my life, but which one inspires and integrates them all?

In light of this question, perhaps it is wise to pose this question as a kind of gauge: which purpose would make it easy for me to feel and express gratitude in all that I say and do? Consequently, which purpose would make it easy for me to be and feel generous in all that I say and do?

That is, which purpose do I sense would eventually make it relatively easy for me to do so?

Those among us who sustain equanimity, buoyancy, or serenity in the face of difficulty and adversity, regardless of condition and circumstance, would have us believe that “our lives are in the hands of _____ (fill in the blank) and whatever _____ decides ought to be fine with us.”

Candidates for the blank include God, Tao, Spirit, Higher Self, and the one infinite Creator.

This simple yet potent faith is a bedrock in the lives of many people, but at what cost to the individual soul and spirit? The danger in such of a faith is that it could become blind or blinkered, leading any one or more of the faithful over a cliff of no return, beyond the reach of reason.

Let us just say that a community of the faithful is vulnerable to the same danger.

My Penultimate Purpose?

The best candidates for Ultimate Purpose are beyond the reach of the seeker ~ less like a distant shoreline and more like a guiding pole star. Being spiritual in nature, such candidates are general in nature, and for all practical purposes, require a purpose that is quite practical.

Before I go there, let us do a quick review of these candidates for Ultimate Purpose:

  1. my ultimate purpose is to curate the very best collection of butterflies in the world
  2. my ultimate purpose is to inspire humanity to create a paradise of peace and prosperity on Earth
  3. my ultimate purpose is to produce children that flourish and prosper in this world

This shortlist of samples contains a valuable lesson: items 1 and 3 could easily be seen as serving item 2, in which case, item 1 or 3 could be construed as a penultimate purpose in life that serves item 2, the Ultimate Purpose, thereby linking subjective and collective interests.

In view of this lesson, consider this elaboration of item 2:

In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, in its own perfect time, for the highest good of all, my ultimate purpose in life, in this world, at this time, is to inspire humanity to generate and perpetuate a paradise of peace and prosperity on Earth, and beyond . . .

How I do this can be captured by a statement of my penultimate purpose in life.

Penult is a linguistics term for the second to last syllable of a word. Penult also serves as an abbreviation for penultimate, which describes the next-to-last item in a series. More broadly and most notably, the penult follows the antepenult and precedes the ultima (source: Wikipedia).

This last point bears repeating: the penult follows the antepenult and precedes the ultima.

This statement implies that ultimacy requires a tension between opposites to manifest before it can be realized. For example, the ultimate in patience requires the influence of impatience to be wholly realized; the ultimate in presence requires the influence of absence before it can be wholly realized. I invite you to consider, as a whole, these tensions between opposites prior to ultimate realization:


the ultimate in presence (absence, presence)
the ultimate in patience (impatience, patience)
the ultimate in positivity (negativity, positivity)

Spiritually speaking, energizing and magnetizing, prioritizing and optimizing, any given ultimacy (like presence, patience, or positivity) invites drama with and through the relevant opposites that would have it be wholly realized. Key question: is the drama conscious or unconscious?

In essence, a penultimate purpose in life requires the influence of an antepenult; in other words, a penultimate purpose in life must acknowledge, accept, be wholly responsive to, and fully accountable for, the influence of an antepenult before the ultimate purpose can be wholly realized.

Practically speaking, I cannot realize positivity without negativity; I cannot realize patience without impatience; I cannot realize presence without absence. As a whole, I cannot realize presence, patience, and positivity without the dark influence of absence, impatience, and negativity.

By definition, a penultimate purpose in life serves the ultimate purpose, and so I wonder: what statement of penultimate purpose in life could possibly be worthy of serving to fulfill my ultimate purpose? Before I can even go there, however, I must clarify my ultimate purpose.

What is My One Thing?

My One Thing is a colloquial reference to the One Purpose that inspires and integrates all others; the One Purpose is my ultimate purpose. Earlier in this post, I left behind a loose thread regarding my choice of ultimate purpose in life, and so, let’s weave it together here.

Consider this contrast in choice of Ultimate Purpose . . .

  1. my ultimate purpose is to inspire humanity to create a paradise of peace and prosperity on Earth
  2. my ultimate purpose is to surrender my will and my faith to the wisdom of a higher power

Which of these two candidates for ultimate purpose is more inclusive?

That’s easy: the second one is more inclusive. Why? Because in surrendering will and faith to the wisdom of a higher power, one just might find that one is not being called to inspire humanity to create a paradise of peace and prosperity on Earth. At least not now. At least not yet.

Which of these two candidates for ultimate purpose is more exclusive?

That’s easy: the first one is more exclusive. Why? Because in serving to inspire humanity to create a paradise of peace and prosperity on Earth, one must inevitably follow the presumption that “I know enough to discern the wisdom required to inspire others to bring about paradise.”

Even if I presume to surrender my will and my faith to the wisdom of a higher power, I still need to be in a position to exercise my will and my faith to discern this wisdom before I can apply it to the task of serving as a key source of inspiration. A most curious paradox, to be sure.

True surrender in the religious or spiritual sense is about giving up(ward) ~ giving up {the craving to compensate for a loss of control} to a higher and wiser power in that moment when a pressing and persistent loss of control arises without warning ~ that is, “let go, let be, let me see.”

As a witness to that moment, I await further instruction, and direction.

True surrender is a way of being in the moment ~ not a purpose per se.

Humanity: Worthy and Deserving?

As a whole, is humanity even worthy and deserving of paradise?

For ease of reference, here is my statement of Ultimate Purpose:

In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, in its own perfect time, for the highest good of all, my ultimate purpose in life, in this world, at this time, is to inspire humanity to generate and perpetuate a paradise of peace and prosperity on Earth, and beyond . . .

This promising statement, though patient and positive, nevertheless concedes that putting forth a global vision of paradise on Earth with a pure and firm intention of offering inspiration to the more or less enlightened, empowered members of humanity might not be appropriate at this time.

In view of this concession, how is humanity as a whole not worthy and deserving of paradise? For if humanity were in fact worthy and deserving, would the best of humanity not have had the intelligence, the wisdom, and the wherewithal to create a paradise of harmony on Earth by now?

This is no idle question.

Any answer at all would serve to contribute insight into how humanity could position itself to be worthy and deserving, or at least more worthy and deserving. Also, a clear, concise, comprehensive response would require a collective endeavor of tapping and tuning crowd wisdom.

Part of the endeavor to inspire humanity would be to collect this wisdom, and part of the endeavor to inspire humanity would be to formulate a penultimate purpose, one that would not only serve The Ultimate Purpose, but one that could digest the crowd wisdom about worthiness.

At the nexus of my subjective and collective interests, I find myself pulled in two directions at once: I have my own vision of what constitutes a paradise on Earth, and then I have a global vision of what would constitute a paradise on Earth without presuming to know what is best.

That is, I remain open to knowing what is better and best.

To knowing what is real, true, good, right, fair, fine, pure.

As to the precise nature of my penultimate purpose, I have found it instructive to ask as follows: “what practical statement of my penultimate purpose in life could possibly be worthy of serving to fulfill my ultimate purpose?” Might it involve a life inclined toward pitch perfect purity?

Might it involve a life lived in perpetual flow, freedom and fulfillment?

To be imagined not as a distant shoreline but as a river of life and love.

/

invite the question, the question that can never die
what would someone truly, deeply, purely in love with life do in this moment?
relax receive reflect restore renew refresh respond!

~ yours

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