Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Spiritual Intelligence Skill Two - Awareness of Life Purpose

Paul Pearsall, the neuropsychologist, said that the three big existential questions that every person has to deal with are: Why was I born? What is the purpose of my life? What happens when I die?

The ability to understand and appreciate one’s purpose in life is to provide direction and meaning. This ability to set goals for oneself and pursue them even in the face of obstacles, barriers, and frustration is considered one of the important skills of emotional intelligence. The psychologist Angela Duckworth calls this tolerance of frustration, and persistence in spite of it in pursuing one’s goals, “grit.”

In Christian Pastoral counseling this desire to clarify one’s purpose in life is called “discernment.” The idea is attempting to discern one’s calling from God to become the person God created us to become and to do with our life what God is calling us to do.

The word, “vocation,” comes from the Latin word “vocare” which means to call. Our life’s purpose is a calling from God. To never apprehend this purpose or seek it or to ignore one’s calling is to never have lived one’s authentic life. Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living,” and the bumper sticker reads “An unlived life is not worth examining.”

So two questions for consideration in developing this skill are: “To what extent (low, medium, high) do you think you can explain your life purpose to others? Do you stay focused on it consistently?”

Back in the 60s we would ask whether people have their shit together. Some do, some don’t, most are struggling. Having your shit together in more professional language is what psychologists call a “well integrated personality.”

In Unitarian Universalism some people join together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. This search includes the desire to discern God’s will for who I am to become and what it is I am to do with my life.

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