If you would have told me that my ultimate purpose in life was to love and then return to God, I would have had a difficult time accepting that premise.

I worked hard throughout my life, always pursuing my professional goals with vigor and determination. Gotta say, I’ve accomplished quite a bit since my first job (waitressing) in 1975. I’m sure you’ve done and feel the same or close to it. That started to change, however, last summer and since then I’m now clear that my purpose is to love – the reason why I resonate so much with this Australian Aboriginal proverb (Click on the link to read more about Dream Beliefs and Dream time.)

“We are all just visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love…and then return home.”  

This is where I am and this is what I am now called to do. I can use my skills and talents along with my education and experience to do it, but accolades and fat paychecks will not mean much if I lose sight of my ultimate purpose. What a journey and transformation it has been over the last 12 months.

Since my spiritual awakening last June (of 2014), I have been drawn to the beliefs and customs of cultures across the universe and what I’ve found is various forms of worship and devotion and practice centered around love and growth as well as strict doctrine for salvation. I’m not choosing sides, being that I grew up as a devoted and faith-driven Episcopalian – thank you, Fr. Ron, Fr. Tim, Mother Ruth and Fr. John, for all your preaching and wisdom. You all had an impact on my Christian journey and in my sustained faith in God. I’m so truly appreciative, but I now look to the ultimate goal in my life  – having love for everyone – the easy loving and the very difficult loving and learning as much as I can in this lifetime so I don’t have to repeat the crappy stuff again. That’s quite different than focusing on what I’ve done wrong and asking for forgiveness so I can receive love.

I believe that we are all going to the Divine when we pass on from earth. I also believe that we will all deal with our shit when we do. I just don’t believe that my Jewish friends or my Buddhist friends or my clients from other countries, etc., etc., including those who are agnostic or non-believers in a higher power are going to a place that resembles a fire pit while the rest of us float above the ocean in heavenly waves of love and mercy. Sorry. Don’t buy it. Don’t want to convince you, either. Not my job. But, sharing my spiritual transformation is now a normal part of my relationships – because, it’s who I am. And, I’ll admit that I am hoping to share this new state of calm.

Why more calm and more zen? Why do cars that tailgate or cut me off no longer bother me? How can I look at someone who committed an atrocious act of betrayal or a hideous crime with less disgust and hatred? How can I watch someone with less experience, education or both get a better job or position when I or someone else is absolutely more qualified and deserving? How can I stomach the fact that a teenager’s life was cut short by a drunk driver who is undocumented and driving without a license or insurance? I can do this because I believe we are all on individual journeys to learn and grow before we return to the Divine, to God, to Jesus, to Buddha, etc., to review our choices and consequences and evaluate our ultimate goal of unconditional love. Because, I believe we return and attempt to do it better each time until we move closer to expressing Divine Love in the way that Jesus did and in a way that God wants us to so we can help others struggling with the same journey.

Our purpose is to love. Because, we have no idea why God and the Divine would allow the things to happen that happen other than that we are all learning and growing and that means some of us face extreme loss and grief; sadness and atrocities while others experience lives of guilt, anger and frustration, while others sail through their years with a boat load of contentment, joy, bliss, fun and success in all aspects of their lives. I believe we live many, many lives until we get it right. The person next to you who is enjoying what appears to be financial and personal success might have lived as a homeless person in a previous life. I believe we are just passing through this very small part of our Godly existence. Our souls are living here and there and everywhere and we are using our physical bodies, different ones each time.

That’s how I find zen in the complete unfairness of earthly living.

And, it’s okay if you don’t believe the same. The zenNess for me comes from a peaceful state of awareness and that is the incredible gift of my awakening and that of thousands of others. It also comes from my understanding that career, wealth, beauty and material goods are only valuable when they support the ultimate purpose of love, typically seeing that progress in our relationships first. Abundance in all ways, including money, is necessary and still a good thing, if we are on purpose. Often times, we need power and capital to do more-good-things. However, positively impacting lives even if you are terribly misunderstood and ridiculed during the process is by far much more valuable and worthy in the big picture. We can figure out the right path for ourselves through prayer and meditation…or, we just might have to return for another go at it. That concept and that kind of philosophy provides enormous peace and sustainable calm throughout the normal tumultuous earthly ways. Jesus, Buddha, The Dalai Lama and so many others have done so before us so we can observe and pattern our lives from theirs. Their suffering. Their learning.

Join my tribe of tolerance and acceptance. It doesn’t mean crime shouldn’t be punished or that we can make our own rules despite hurting those around us. It’s not a license to be narcissistic and uncaring or a reason to allow others to walk on you with disrespect. No, none of that. You’re not allowed to smoke a bong all day and listen to Pink Floyd while your family works two jobs because you are “enlightened” and need to meditate on your journey. (Sign me up for that purpose, yo!) We still need organizations like MADD and the American Cancer Society and we still need defense and criminal attorneys, etc.

Living in zen is not living in sin.

It’s simply an understanding that we are all on separate journeys yet we are all connected and all striving to learn unconditional love. We can’t begin to comprehend why and how and when and where and with whom and how-could-that-have-happened in our lives and in the lives of others, especially those we deeply care about. We are walking. We are learning. We are growing. It’s the school of life and there are millions of classrooms with bazillions of chapters and tests. Not one of them the same but all for the same lesson, to graduate to the Divine Love of God and the Universe. Let’s walk and learn and grow together.