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Exploring the Four Purposes of Life

Exploring the Four Purposes of Life Dan Millman

With the pace of life accelerating in a world of change, it’s not easy to maintain our balance and sense of direction. Yet we strive to do so because a sense of direction toward a meaningful goal may be the better part of happiness. In this pursuit, the journey could indeed matter more than the destination, but without a destination to aim for, there is no journey. We can only wander.

We humans are goal seekers from infancy, drawn by the objects of our desire. But somewhere along the way, most often in the dilemmas and angst of adolescence, a sense of confusion obscures the simple desires of childhood. What we want is muddied by expectations about what we (or others) think we should do. We begin to doubt our desires, mistrust our motives, and wonder where we’re going and why.

In my first book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, the old service station mechanic I called Socrates suggested that all seeking — for knowledge or achievement, for power or pleasure, for love or wealth, or even for spiritual experience — is driven by the promise of happiness. But the search only reinforces the sense of dilemma that sent us seeking in the first place. So he advised me to replace the search for future happiness with the practice of “unreasonable happiness” in each arising moment.