A short prayer from the Baha’i Faith Writings says: I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. According to my limited understanding of this prayer, it’s saying that the purpose of our lives is to know and worship God. That is, to understand and connect to Divine Truth, and to show the understanding of this knowledge through actions and service. I’ve also found similar versions of this prayer in other spiritual paths, which led me to a deeper search into this concept of “the purpose of life” and what it means to know and worship God.
In my continual quest to find practicality in spirituality, I strive to connect the mystical with the earthly in hopes to make sense of both. In reflection on the various relationships throughout my life, I noticed that knowledge and understanding is how we build connection with each other. When we meet a new person, we are immediately intrigued by the unknown, in one way or another. We want to know more about who they are, where they come from, and their story. This desire for knowledge seems natural and universal within us all, so it would make sense that the best way to connect with the Divine Source is through a deeper understanding of this Divine Truth. As the major religions state, the best way to know God is through the holy scriptures and teachings. Reading these and reflecting on their meaning help us gain more clarity on what this Truth is, and also strengthen our connection to it. Dedicating time daily to meditate on the sacred writings and getting to know this Essence then becomes a crucial element to the growth of the connection and relationship.
Of course, our lives are busy and complicated and it can be difficult to find time every day for all this reading and reflecting. However, we always seem to make time for the things we like and find interesting. So why not just follow these interests? I truly believe that our interests and the things we are attracted to, when genuine and pure, will always align with our talents and gifts. This is not by coincidence. These interests were planted in us so that we can use them as a way to connect with the Divine Essence. It recently became clear to me that one of the interests I’m most strongly attracted to is the same thing that led me closer to this Truth. As I continued to investigate this interest, my curiosity took me to the sacred writings, aiding me in the pursuit of a deeper understanding of my interest in both the physical and spiritual dimensions. Reading and meditating on this interest in spiritual literature soon started to feel like an organic process.
Shortly thereafter I realized that my point of connection to God, and way to gain knowledge of God, was through the exploration of this interest. If this interest allows me to understand the world around me better and naturally assists me in my quest of knowing Divine Truth more deeply, in ways that nothing else has, then it would be reasonable to conclude that this interest is one of the purpose of my life. I strongly believe this is also true for all of us. We are all seekers of Truth, in whatever context we see that. The best roadmap to Truth that I’ve found is to follow the lead of my interests and explore them through Divine Wisdom.
After understanding this life’s purpose, we then have to do something about it. This takes us to the “worship” component of the prayer. In another part of the Baha’i Writings it is mentioned that: it is first “to know,” and then “to do.” I have learned to understand worship as service and a call for action. Although my comprehension of service is limited, I see it as the way one expresses knowledge and connection through action. Of course, as we continue to reflect and meditate, our understanding of this knowledge will continue to develop, as so should our actions. I also see this service, this work that we decide to do, the way we choose to contribute to the world based on our interests and understanding of Divine Truth, as the best way to show gratitude for the gifts we’ve been given. The good thing about viewing the concept of “the purpose of life” in this manner is having the freedom to treat this process as an adventure that’s ever-evolving, which unfolds before our eyes as we continue to explore, learn, act, and reflect.