What on earth am I supposed to be doing?

Path of studiesThere’s a little phrase that’s become so popular recently that few people stop to question it.

“What I’m supposed to be doing.”

For example, “I want to find out what I’m supposed to be doing.” Or, “At last I know what I’m supposed to be doing.” Behind the word ‘supposed’ is a sense of some grand plan or higher purpose that we’re all looking for.

My instantaneous response every time I hear it is to wonder who is doing the supposing?

Who’s setting up this plan that we’re supposed to figure out, with remarkably little help? Because if we fail we can feel truly miserable. And some people spend many years of their lives and many thousands of dollars trying to work it out.

As humans we often have the feeling that we’re missing out on something, or that we don’t really understand what’s going on in life – and if only we did understand we’d get it right, rather than messing it up so much.

But after some years puzzling over this and observing friends and clients in many different stages of discovering what they’re ‘supposed to be doing’ I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no such thing.

It started because I couldn’t understand why a world would be created where there’s some pre-ordained plan we’re supposed to figure out from clues that are so badly organised that most humans never find any of them. That seemed like a rather sick joke to me, and not at all what a powerful, loving creator would put together.

Please excuse my slightly irreverent tone, but it’s easier to put these things in language we can easily relate to. Spiritual or philosophical language can put so much distance between us and what I’m talking about here.

I’ve also observed in many people that the belief there is something you’re supposed to be doing is associated with a lot of depression. The underlying feeling seems to be something like this: I’m supposed to be doing something or being somebody different from who I am and I have no clue what it is – and if I did know what it was, I would probably not be up to it anyway. It’s a hopeless feeling that I have seen cause a lot of suffering.

And so I started to wonder about the experience of free will, or choice. It’s a very powerful aspect of the human experience. Why would we have free will if the plan is already made and we’ve just got to find it?

My own personal experience is that we make choices about who we want to be or become. Sometimes these choices are formed deep inside of us. Sometimes we’re more conscious of them. Some are very old choices – maybe even before we started this lifetime. And we are also forming new choices all the time.

It appears we can change our choices whenever we want to – and we do that a lot, which tends to cause confusion. It appears to me that more effective people are more consistent in their choices and less effective people tend to be more or less unconscious of what they are choosing and often change before they even get to experience their previous choice.

I have found that I feel on track (like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing) when my actions are aligned with my choices. And I feel uncomfortably off track when my actions are taking me off in a totally different direction.

I do not believe this is the ultimate truth. People of very high consciousness often describe how everything is one flow of energy and that human life is an illusion. But I suspect that we are here to experience that illusion. To experience what it’s like to have a body on this planet at this time and be free to make choices about what we do with all of that.

And if that is the case we don’t need to wait any more to figure out what we are supposed to do. There’s no room for depression any more because we are no longer victims of a system we can’t understand.

We would be better to get more conscious of who we really are and what we want to experience while we’re here.

Sarah McCrum


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