As humans, we always want something more or better. This is the engine of evolution and progress. Whether we want to find a partner, stay alone, be loved, or be rejected these are all wants or purposes. A purpose is a change we want to achieve, because we think it will make us happy.
However, often, we are unaware of our purposes. Ever notice trying to change something in your life, but noticing how you keep getting the same results? This is something that happened to me all my life. I could never understand why my efforts to change achieved so little, until I learned about the following metaphor about how our mind works, from an acting school called Kogan Academy of Dramatic Arts:
Picture a man who is walking across a field. The more he walks the same way, the easier it becomes, as a path is being formed which is comfortable to walk on. In this metaphor, we are the man, the field is our consciousness, and the path is a purpose. The more we walk the same path, the deeper it gets, until it becomes a ditch from which we can no longer climb out. In life, we call this land erosion. However, we are now in what the school calls a “mind erosion.”
Figure 1: Man walking on a field.
Figure 2: The man is so deep in his ditch he can’t see out. This is the equivalent of a “mind erosion.”
Mind erosions are formed in our heads by thinking the same thoughts over and over again. We do this regardless of whether we’re aware of it or not, by creating patterns of thinking which we follow irrespective of visible circumstances. Eventually, they become like deep ditches in a field, which we are unable to climb out of or see any alternative. The more we get used to our purpose, the more normal it feels, so it becomes very hard to choose a different one. This is an unaware mental process; the purposes that run our lives are invisible to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the individual, that is unless we learn or are taught to see them.
This is for example how people like me formed a purpose of wanting to stay single. The only way out is to find a rope through which we can climb out, and then see alternative paths. I speak more about how to do this in my book, but regardless of the way, the key to being happy in my view is to work on developing an agile consciousness that allows us to choose our purposes at will, including the purpose of being fulfilled in an intimate relationship.
Illustrations are from the book Science of Acting, by Sam Kogan.