I mentioned in my previous post that I’m beginning to have a renewed sense of purpose after three-and-a-half years of not really having one. At that time, I had an momentary experience of nothingness, which I’ve called “the suck” or “the empty ​​​​holodeck.” It not only shattered my concepts of God, but also left me without a sense of purpose.

The experience was freeing in some ways: I felt free from being watched by an omnipresent eye in the sky, and it completely blew away what I call “the personal metaphor”—thinking of God as a “person” in some way, however abstract, with desires and feelings similar at some level to ours. Also gone was the assumption that the world was “real,” in the ultimate sense. The only thing left was that I still seem to be “here” (whatever that means), and that I still experience the appearance of a world around me. What I had in place of “God” and “the world” was a mystery: what causes the experience of there being a world? What does all this come from?

And though that was a bit disorienting, it was definitely freeing. It cleared my head by rendering almost every religious and philosophical debate moot, except for the few things that really matter, but which can’t be answered by the mind, anyway.

Religion was cleared away in a instant, with certainty, such that whenever I hear any traditional appeal to higher authority; “the Bible says…”, “the Church teaches…”, “God wants…”, I have to smile (or I have to remind myself to smile!) and remember that almost everyone naturally bases their fundamental assumptions on memes they’re taught, rather than the undeniable aspects of their own experience.

(On the other hand, don’t think I became an atheist. To me, the popular atheists of today have a pathological lack of curiosity and might as well be dead when it comes to investigating reality. Dismissing literalistic interpretations of sacred texts is child’s play, but where is the interest in the big questions? What causes the universe to appear? What caused the Big Bang?)

So how does this all relate to me losing my sense of purpose? Simple. I had found my purpose in my beliefs, and when my beliefs were gone, my purpose went, too. Hence, “the suck.” So for more than three years, I’ve been drifting in a sense. Now, that isn’t as bad as it might sound. I’ve generally been happy, only rarely depressed. But something has been missing; I’ve felt a lack of motivation, certainty, purpose. It felt a little bit like I was in a fog, because I couldn’t find my “purpose” or “destiny,” and had a feeling that I needed that to be really happy.

I’ve recently started seeing things a bit differently: that not having a predetermined purpose means freedom! There is nothing written anywhere in the cosmos that declares “Jon Zuck is to be such-and-such and do this or that.”

I am free to create and choose a purpose, follow it, change it, resist it, not have one, whatever, but I definitely feel more rooted and alive with purpose than without.

One thing that’s coming into focus as a part of my purpose now, is a desire to help improve the world where people are suffering. Years ago, I was active in Amnesty International as a “Freedom Writer,” petitioning dictators around the world for the release of prisoners of conscience. Then, for several years while I concentrated on the inner quest, I only supported Amnesty financially. Now, I’m wanting to be more active again in influencing this world I’m experiencing, and I’m getting a bit more active with Amnesty again.

A few updates

Sorry for my long absence. Really, I am.  A lot has been going on:

  • I lost Talbot in late April.  He was hit by a car, and I felt so bad about his death, that I really couldn’t write about it then.
  • I went to the US Esperanto Congress in St. Louis and had a wonderful time, and made some new friends.
  • I visited my Dad, and helped initiate him into the world of the Internet, the Mac and the iPhone.  In turn, he gave me an iPhone, and taught me a bit about riding motorcycles.
  • I’ve begun a new approach, (yes, again!) to my weight-loss goals.  I’m using The Gabriel Method and I Can Make You Thin together, listening to both CDs daily. This is quite a bit different from any other approach I’ve tried, as the focus is on re-training appetite itself and getting the body to want to be thin, shifting the burden from the conscious mind to the subconscious. If you like, you can follow my progress on my reviews at Amazon.com.
  • I haven’t actually been completely silent on the interWebs. I twitter.  If you’d like to follow me, I’m frimmin on Twitter. (Big surprise, huh?) However, don’t expect very exciting tweets from me.  I mostly use it as a public IM with friends.
  • I’ve taken up geocaching.  It’s cool that the information age is giving birth to some new hobbies that take you outdoors.
  • After 3½ years of spiritually floundering, I’m discovering a renewed sense of purpose. More about that in my next post.