Dr. Romance writes:

A seeker goes to Nepal and climbs into the Himalayas to find a teacher, a guru he’s heard about. After months of searching and struggle, he finds the famous man, and asks his burning question: "What is the meaning of life?"

"The meaning of life is a bridge," replies the wise man.

The seeker is incensed. "Wait a minute, what kind of dumb answer is that? I struggled and fought to get here, and that’s all you have to say? A bridge? That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard!"

The guru blinked, looked at him and said, "You mean......it’s not a bridge?"

Most of my clients come to me, not searching for the meaning of life, but focused on some crisis in their lives: a relationship disaster, marriage or family problems, lack of direction and motivation, some huge loss for which they’re grieving, an emotional problem such as anxiety or depression, or perhaps even for help in recovering from an addiction. The first thing we do is sort through the crisis, handle immediate problems, and get everything settled down, then we embark on an extended process of figuring out how the problem happened and what must change to keep it from happening again. Once those things are handled, there's a period of bliss or euphoria, when life is working for the first time, they feel successful, calmer, more in charge. Most clients leave at this time.

Then, frequently, they come back asking "Now that I'm in charge of myself, and have a lot of extra energy, because life is a lot easier and my relationships are working, it feels like I'm missing something: what am I doing here?"

This begins a spiritual search for meaning, a transformation I've written about in The Real 13th Step:Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs,

13th Step ebook

People for whom the basics of life are already established need more: they need a sense of meaning and a higher purpose than just survival. Once self-confidence and self-esteem are established, you’ll need a challenge to feel satisfied, a way to express your uniqueness and individuality to yourself, to friends, and to the world.

But if your life's purpose is not evident to you already, how do you find out what it is? Where does a sense of purpose come from? It comes from within you, and is not imposed or chosen from outside. Your purpose may be your livelihood, or it may have nothing to do with how you make a living. Your purpose may be a simple one, like making a good, healthy life for yourself and your children, or it may be more dramatic, and based on what you learned by healing your own childhood experience. Focusing on inner purpose can help you transform anxiety, anger, fear and rage into powerful, life-affirming action.

A life purpose gives you the means to control your destiny, no matter what the force of the hardships you have incurred. Most of the world’s spiritual thinkers have said that the wisdom guiding each of us is available if we just listen and trust what we hear. You may already be having many ideas but not be trusting them or taking them seriously. Perhaps when you get a sense of what what your life's purpose is, you are too distrustful of yourself, (I can’t do that) or too hopeless and helpless to believe it or act on it. Your purpose may make itself clear to you in one instant flash, or gradually, as if you are following clues, one at a time. Whether you get it all at once or a piece at a time, it will still take work and experience to bring it about. Inner wisdom is not rational or practical in nature, but more intuitive and spiritual. It can provide a way to see the big picture, or a more detached and objective viewpoint of the issues and problems of life. Each new idea must be tested through practical use, to see how it works. Step by step, using both intuitive wisdom and clear thinking, you can bring your inner motivation to the surface and use it to create what you want. Your combination of inspiration expressed through action becomes the bridge to the meaning of your own life. 

From:  It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction.

It Ends With You

For low-cost counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.