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Translated teachings of Master Patana

Purpose in Purposelessness. Still seeking your purpose in life?

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Consider life as a big and beautiful painting. Every element of this painting, whether it’s a vibrant stroke of color or a seemingly insignificant dot, plays a critical role in creating the overall masterpiece. Some elements might not make sense on their own or might even appear meaningless, but they contribute to the overall beauty of the painting. Without the darker strokes, the bright colors on the canvas of life wouldn’t shine as brilliantly. This analogy is similar to how we perceive purpose in life. Some aspects of life might seem purposeless but, in the grand scheme of things, they serve a significant purpose. Let’s delve into this concept a bit more deeply.

Reflect upon a solitary tree in the heart of a forest. At first sight, it might seem as though the tree merely exists, almost purposeless. It stands alone, its leaves fluttering gently in the wind, its branches and twigs twisting and turning in seemingly random patterns. Each leaf, each branch appears to follow its own path, its own direction, not immediately revealing any specific purpose. However, when you observe more deeply, you uncover the profound purpose that each element serves.

The tree, in its silent stillness, is a hub of vital activity. It provides shelter and comfort with its shade, becomes a sanctuary for countless birds and insects, and acts as a purifier, inhaling carbon dioxide and exhaling the oxygen that all creatures need to live. As the seasons change, the tree blossoms and bears fruits, offering sustenance to various forms of life. Unbeknownst to the tree, its very existence, its every leaf, branch, and fruit are nurturing life, contributing to the ecological balance in ways it may never comprehend.

Each leaf on the tree, although seemingly purposeless when viewed individually, contributes to the tree’s overall health, participating in the crucial process of photosynthesis. The leaves capture sunlight and, in a magical transformation, convert it into energy, sustaining the tree and indirectly countless forms of life.

The twisting and turning branches, on the surface, seem to grow in random, purposeless directions. Yet, each twist, each turn, each extension serves a particular purpose. They reach out to the sun, maximizing the exposure to sunlight for the leaves. They offer shelter to birds, insects, and sometimes even small mammals. The seemingly chaotic patterns of growth form a unique network of life, each branch a lifeline to numerous creatures.

So, a closer look at the tree reveals that every leaf, every twist and turn of its branches, indeed, the tree’s very existence, serves a purpose. What seemed like a simple, perhaps even purposeless, existence at first glance, is, in fact, a microcosm teeming with purpose. The tree, standing alone in the forest, is a testament to the profound truth that purpose can often be found in what may initially seem purposeless. It serves as a reminder that even in stillness and solitude, there exists a vibrant interplay of life and purpose.

Next, imagine a grain of sand. On its own, it looks insignificant and purposeless. But take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Millions, billions of these tiny grains come together to form something as beautiful and as vast as a beach. The beach becomes a place where children play, where families come together, where lovers walk hand in hand, watching the sun go down. It also becomes home to countless creatures, both on its surface and within its depths. This tiny grain of sand, which seemed to have no purpose, is a fundamental part of creating a beach, which serves many purposes.

Our lives, as human beings, are much the same. We all have moments where we feel lost, where we question our purpose in life. But just as with the tree and the grain of sand, our existence has a purpose. Each one of us, with our unique stories and actions, serves a purpose in life. We all play a role in the bigger picture, contributing to the ebb and flow of life.

Even the character of a villain in a story serves a purpose. They may seem to be there only to cause chaos and disrupt peace. However, they provide the necessary contrast in the narrative. They bring out the virtues of the hero and allow us to distinguish between right and wrong. The existence of the villain in a story allows us to appreciate the hero even more.

Pain and discomfort are also aspects of life that we wish we could do without. But think about it – without pain, would we truly understand and appreciate comfort? Without sadness, could we genuinely value happiness? It’s often through experiencing these difficult emotions and situations that we grow stronger and develop a deeper appreciation for the good in our lives.

Now, let’s consider a person who is often labeled as lazy. This person may seem to do nothing, spend their days idling away, and therefore, might be viewed as purposeless. But from a different perspective, this person could be offering us a spiritual lesson.

Amidst their leisurely non-action, they reflect the profound essence of just existing. They become a reminder of the importance of slowing down, of finding peace in stillness, and of the joy in doing nothing. In a society that is always rushing, always doing, this lazy person serves as a quiet beacon of tranquility.

This brings to mind the philosophy of ‘Wu Wei’, which comes from ancient Chinese wisdom. It translates to ‘non-doing’ or ‘non-action’, but it doesn’t mean being lazy or idle. Instead, it suggests being in harmony with the flow of life – knowing when to act and when to let things be. The person who seems to be doing nothing could be living in accordance with this philosophy.

So, remember, every single thing in the universe serves a purpose. The tree, the grain of sand, the villain, the lazy person, they all have their roles in this grand drama of life. Even the seemingly negative or purposeless aspects of life have a significant part to play. They help shape the world and our lives in ways we may not immediately understand or appreciate.

When we feel lost, when we question the purpose of our existence, let’s remember this. Just as the tree and the grain of sand, we too serve a purpose, even if we don’t always see it. Each one of us, with our distinct virtues and flaws, our actions and pauses, forms an essential piece in the intricate puzzle of life.

This doesn’t mean we should stop seeking a purpose. It means that the purpose we seek may not always be glaringly obvious. It may require a change of perspective, a broader view. We might find that the seeming purposelessness of life itself serves a purpose. It is the playground where we explore, experience, and create meaning.

In the grand spectacle of life, every role has a purpose. What seems purposeless could actually be serving a significant purpose. The lazy person, the tree, the grain of sand – all have a role in the grand design of the universe. The next time you question your purpose, remember that your existence, your story, your actions, and even your inactions, all serve a purpose. Just as the tree provides shade and fruit, as the grain of sand forms the beach, and as the lazy person shows us the power of stillness, you too serve a purpose. So, cherish the flow of life, for all things and all individuals have a meaningful role in this vast and magnificent panorama of existence.

Patana Org
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