The question “What do I really want?” arises as long as one hasn’t found one’s real purpose. Unfortunately the majority of human kind are ignorant of their purpose and suffer the consequences, like boredom, lack of passion, mediocrity, resistance, lack of meaning, burn out; the list is endless.
One can have passion for something for a while but it doesn’t necessarily mean that one has found one’s purpose. If one aspires to reach a goal because one is motivated by the rewards like wealth, fame, freedom, etc., one certainly will feel energy and passion, even for decades. However the countless people hitting what is known as “midlife crises” in their 40s and 50s should make us think. Midlife crises is a kind of forced sabbatical, an unavoidable review of what one has used one’s life for up to now. What motivated still a year ago and maybe even for the last two decades suddenly has lost all its energy and glamour. This is terrifying, because it feels like someone has pulled the plug. Depression, anxiety and panic are only few of the symptoms people experience as a reaction to this forced recess.
Therefore the question “What do I really want?” cannot be asked early enough. It should be already part of the primary school curriculum. When you ask yourself this question, what you experience is your mind going into all kinds of options and projected possibilities; which can be quite fun and interesting, even highly stimulating. However that last bit of ultimate clarity keeps missing. This ultimate clarity one seeks consciously or unconsciously; this clarity is liberating, because it doesn’t have choice anymore; it is simply clear. This clarity cannot be found in the many options the mind is able to consider or fantasize about. A different strategy is needed if one wants to arrive at the clarity that doesn’t have choice anymore.
The strategy is to not use the mind for trying to find what one really wants but to use the mind for identifying what one doesn’t want. That the mind can do, and the heart is happy to help too. Once you have identified the long list of what you don’t want, you need to fully accept your findings. Meaning you need to stop engaging in what you don’t want. Remove yourself from everything you don’t want. Be bright in this exercise. For example, if you say that you don’t want to work, you are probably meaning that you don’t want to do this particular work you do; because work itself can be ecstatic and immensely fulfilling - if you do something you love doing. And as a neat side effect you are bound to be successful, because everyone who does what they love, is successful.
The reason why so few people are arriving at the promised land of their purpose is fear; fear prevents them to stop engaging with what they don’t want. It would be much easier if life would present us with clarity of what we really want prior needing to disengage from what we don’t want. Then everyone would easily jump into their purpose. Unfortunately life isn’t set up this way. It only opens the path once we stopped running in all the wrong directions. In this scary, vulnerable and open space of not moving any longer along the lines of what we don’t want, we are the open hand that is ready to receive. If you dare to enter this space, be prepared to pass the test of patience; life may challenge you to see if you are really serious. You may receive nothing for a while. Can you remain true and not slip back into the familiar past untrueness? Those who passed this test will be shown their purpose. Life will transform you into the answer to the your question “What is it I really want?”.
You become the answer. You have become the purpose.