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Episode 42

Discovering Your Purpose

August 1, 2019
70 minutes

There’s a lot of talk about “purpose” but what do we actually mean by it? In this conversation with purpose guide Jonathan Gustin, we explore the three levels of purpose, the capacities we need to cultivate in order to reach the deepest level of purpose, the roadblocks along the way and the tools for facilitating this exploration in others.

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What is purpose

Jonathan believes there is a triple purpose of life; to wake up, grow up and show up. To wake up spiritually, to mature into an emotionally competent adult, and to show up with our gifts.

Jonathan points to two types of spiritual journeys we can make: the first is transcending of the separate-self and experiencing unitive intimacy or oneness, and the second is when we go deeply into ourselves and discover what is ours at the level of soul.

The latter is our unique transformational proposition, sometimes called “the mythopoetic image”. This is not the level of the personality but rather an image at the centre of our being. By recognising and living as this image we can enact our purpose in the world.

Three kinds of purpose

There are three kinds of purpose:

  • Default purpose (often inherited, often unquestioned; socially-authored) 
  • Created purpose (becoming empowered and determining our own path; self-authored)
  • Soul purpose (discovering something that you were born to; soul-authored)

In the third there’s a sense of destiny or unfolding. The destiny of a maple is to become a maple, not an oak. It is an evolutionary impulse that we have to allow; it’s not so much about choice.

A human being is mostly unused potential. The vast territory of our being remains to be discovered, and this is what inquiring into soul purpose is about.

Soul purpose discovery

It often comes to us through mystical experiences. What we tend to give attention to is tangible material reality and the cognitive mind. But there’s a whole realm of possibility that we can perceive with the imaginative mind – with deep imagination, which differs from fantasy.

Deep imagination is a capacity of soul. When we learn to drop into this realm and allow ourselves to be taken with it, we can begin to have encounters with our soul truths and desires.

There are two forces at play; the soul’s impulse to move and the mind’s resistance. In order to evolve to the next stage, we have to be willing to release the resistance and face up to the risk of our lives potentially changing radically.

How do we help people go there?

Helping people experience soul encounters – a meeting where everyday you steps out of regular time and space and into the imaginal dimension – is akin to being a midwife. We have to help people come out of linear, localized self-sense and into their own wholeness. Two core features of this are:

  1. Getting quiet – resting in silence and stillness, to quiet the mind
  2. Being in wild nature – feeling part of a bigger whole

They can then ask the questions, What is the vision of my life?, and What is my soul’s core power?, and be open to any response that arises.

Resources mentioned:
Maslow’s hierarchy
Bill Plotkin
James Hillman
Discovering Your Purpose Movie

About Jonathan

Jonathan Gustin

Jonathan is a purpose guide, psychotherapist, meditation teacher, and integral mentor in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 25 years. He is the founder and lead teacher of the Purpose Guides Institute and Green Sangha. He also serves as adjunct faculty at John F. Kennedy University in the Consciousness and Transformation Studies program.

Non-duality roundtable:

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