Looking back over our lives, it seems to me that this question — although only rarely brought to the forefront of our consciousness — determines most decisions and choices we make after entering our early twenties: By that time we will have adopted a major self-image that is supposed to be the answer to our life’s purpose: it may be the self-image of “the avid learner,” “the dedicated wife” or “the good husband,” “the researcher,” “the explorer,” "the doctor," etc..
The fact that we generally attempt to define our life's purpose in terms of a positive self-image gives us reason to question whether such an attempt has any Cosmic validity; or, whether it is one of those illusory goals that come from the collective ego that trap us in an endless pursuit to find a place in society.
When we realize that the attainment of every much-admired self-image requires enormous energy in striving to perfect it, often leading us to the point of exhaustion and to alienation from Cosmic protection and help, we don't need to look further for the answer as to where the idea of “seeking for the purpose of our lives” originates. It is a mistaken idea that causes us to doubt our true place in the Cosmos.
How then does the Sage define that true place that each of us has in the Cosmos?
The Sage has explained to us that the overarching Cosmic purpose is to increase the Cosmic Consciousness and its expression in form. “Its expression in form” refers to its expression in the multitudinous forms of Nature and in a Culture that is created in accord with the Cosmic Principles of Harmony. Every human being is born with a unique combination of gifts and talents. Our contribution to the overarching Cosmic purpose consists in bringing that unique combination of gifts and talents to expression. This is the definition of true creativity. There is a danger in viewing creativity as something that needs to fit either into the frames of “usefulness” or “good for nothing,” when those ideas of what is useful are mainly defined by the collective ego. Only by giving our gifts and talents free play — without censorship — can true creativity unfold.
A little note on the side: When Carol and I learned from the Sage that every aspect of Nature has a unique function in the Cosmos as a Whole, we asked ourselves, “What is the unique function of a squirrel?” We came up with several hypotheses, such as, “its function is to contribute to the spreading of oak trees by burying acorns.” However, the Sage kept saying “No.” We paused for a while to give the Sage space to give us an insight. Then the answer came: the function of the squirrel is to contribute to the diversity and beauty of Nature. The Sage had flung open a window to a Cosmic view that exploded our idea of “usefulness!”
There is one hexagram in the I Ching that indirectly addresses the conditions under which we are able to express our human creativity in accord with the Cosmic Principles of Harmony. It is Hexagram 11, Harmony, Peace, Prosperity. That hexagram makes us aware of the main mistaken ideas that have slandered and blocked our developing a healthy relationship with the Cosmos. In that process we have also imprisoned the Helper of our Creativity. When this Helper is imprisoned, we either pursue perfecting a positive self-image that is admired by our culture, or we constantly seek to suppress a negative one. Because either of these preoccupations is based on being recognized by the outer world, they leave the basic need to know and respect our true selves unattended. As a consequence, we end up feeling bored and lacking in inspiration and purpose. Through freeing ourselves from those mistaken ideas and from all negative and positive self-images, we free the Helper of our Creativity. By doing that we free the source of creative inspiration that lies within each of us.
The questions that lead us to fulfillment in our lives are those that enable us to know our true place in the Cosmos: How can we express our unique combination of gifts and talents that are by nature in accord with the Cosmic Principles of Harmony? The answer to this question is stored in our Treasure Chest of Inner Truth. Getting to know our true nature is what happens when we regularly consult the I Ching.