Written by Yossef Sagi

Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my purpose? What am I meant to do in this world?

These are the questions that any “spiritual” person asks themselves on the quest to find meaning.

Spoiler alert:

  • Purpose is something we make up to make us feel like we belong;
  • Nothing has any inherent meaning; and
  • Spirituality is a sham.

Sounds bleak, right?

Or maybe it’s simply a blank canvas from which we can create anything we want.

Bear with me here; the paradigm works like this:

We’re told living from a needs or pain-based motivation is self-destructive. We’re taught shifting to a wants or pleasure-based motivation will be more powerful. So, we shift into a model of hustling and achieving goals only to find ourselves empty even after each step is accomplished.

OK. So now what . . .

We let go of the need for achievement and shift our focus toward our purpose.

We convince ourselves there is something in the bigger picture that we are meant to contribute to this world—our unique value; a problem we solve for the world that no-one else can solve.

The persistent inner monologue of being “in purpose” can be empowering and yet, at the same time, it can also become a burden.

You start to worry—”what if I’m not living my purpose, what if I’m not being who I’m meant to be.’”

When I experienced each of these three stages of motivation (pain, pleasure, purpose) myself, I continuously found myself justifying my existence in a universe where I could never truly prove that my existence mattered.

The same felt true for religion, spiritual practice, business, philosophy, political movements, etc.

The need to belong and matter is at the core of who we are.

Just as the path of dogma led me to spirituality, so too did spirituality lead me to individuation.

All of my studies continue to lead me to one conclusion . . .

Nothing really matters.

It was in this state of mind, I was met with the opportunity to attend One Idea Away’s Uncover Retreat.

I had no idea what to expect and went into it rather blindly. (Odd for me, a person who does loads of research before signing up for ANYTHING to do with self-development or spirituality in this hyper-saturated market.)

I wasn’t convinced to go by the organizers or logic or marketing. Even so, I had an innate sense that there was somehow, something there for me.

It had nothing to do with what was going to happen at the retreat. It had everything to do with how everyone would be.

During our first session, the expectations were set:

“Speak up when you feel like speaking, allow yourself to stay in silence if that’s what’s right for you.”

Rather than taking notes on what the lecturers were discussing, we were encouraged to write down any moments of inspiration that came from within. There was no “way” to follow or be. We were given the space to co-create the experience for ourselves. It was very outside of the box and perfect for me at that moment.

Though I am still integrating my experience, I will share some moments of clarity and inspiration:

Purpose is simply a justification for my existence–proof that “I matter.” But purpose doesn’t inherently matter.

I can choose for myself a purpose at any point in my life and change it whenever I want. The ‘Yossef’ identity with all its thoughts and emotions is very malleable and I can choose the purpose through which I want to experience this reality whenever I want.

I will never know the ‘truth’ about myself, life, the universe or anything.

Trying to figure out all the big philosophical ‘whys’ is a Sisyphean task. No guru, spiritual path, or ancient tome will have the answers for me. Instead, I allow myself to lean into the unknown, be okay with not knowing, and use it as a tool to foster curiosity and openness to experience. It allows me to enter all situations with space to allow things that I did not think could exist or be possible. The ‘what’ and ‘how’ are equally unimportant. The ‘why’ even less so.

I become ‘meaningful’ when I let go of identity and self-importance.

When I take steps that are connected to achievement or purpose, I become identified with that achievement or that purpose. Accepting the meaninglessness of myself brings me back to an undifferentiated state from which I can choose to ascribe any meaning, become anyone or experience anything–similar to how stem-cells in our body may end up as a part of any particular tissue or organ.

The key, if one so chooses it, is to be fluid between the undifferentiated state and the identity state. This allows us to authentically shift between different ‘selves’–tasting different experiences of being.

And this, is true freedom.

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Join Yossef and other Uncover Retreat participants Wednesday, February 13 for an exclusive and unscripted “Uncover Retreat Roundtable.” Learn firsthand from retreat attendees on how they experienced a greater sense of self-awareness, empathy, and acceptance through the Uncover Process.