Sunday, June 15, 2008

Purpose, Feelings, Church, God

I was talking to a friend today about some of life's more intense issues. How does one find one's purpose? He has been trying, in a rather drastic fashion, to switch away from his primary purpose of the past 4-ish years--and this wrenching away has left him adrift. He is looking for a purpose...

I don't know how one goes about seeking a purpose. I recommended to my friend self-examination (asking himself what drives him, what satisfies him, what grieves him, etc.), and experimentation (does volunteering make him feel fulfilled? or art? or fixing things? etc.), and reading books (to get exposure to other people's thoughts on the matter).

What I do know, though, is that life's purpose comes not from another person, or even really from inside yourself, but from G-d... (It's late and I don't feel like elaborating at the moment. I'll try to fix that later. Or you can ask me if you really want my comments!)

But that begs the question of how I can find out what G-d's purpose for me is. I don't have a good answer for that one, either. (Wow, I'm helpful. :-/ ) But that brought up church, and what makes a good church, or a good church experience. What does it mean if you never feel "the divine presence" at church? What gives you that feeling in the first place?

Feelings are so subjective and complicated. They are hard to talk about, hard to understand--slippery in the mind, elusive, like floaters in water that slide and swim out from the scooping spoon that tries to remove them. I don't know how to explain. All I have is the vague answer that your emotional experience of G-d is largely dependent on your personality (=> how you "fit" with your environment) and your internal state. Perhaps I should have said something about it depending on where you are with G-d: your moral habits, your spiritual disciplines, ... Trouble is, I don't really know what I'm talking about. My ideas are all vague. (I'm too young, too inexperienced!)

So many questions, so few answers. Good thing I get more chances to talk to him later. Good thing G-d can work despite his servants, not just through them.

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