Aligning With Our Purpose

If our reason for doing something is strong enough, it makes the how seem a lot less difficult.

When the why in our hearts and minds is in opposition with the why of our actions, we experience internal dissonance. This dissonance causes feelings of confusion or conflict about the path we are on, whether chosen for us or by us, because the reason we are on it does not align with our personal values or goals. If we continue too far and for too long in this direction away from who we want to be, this internal confusion and conflict begins to manifest itself outwardly as frustration, resentment, and worst of all, anger.

When our inner turmoil begins to express itself outwardly, we have to step back and ask ourselves if the path we are on is worth the price we are paying with our happiness and in our relationships. We have to ask ourselves if the why we are following will ever lead us to our true and actual purpose, whether it is a necessary detour, or whether it is a dead end leading us only to dissatisfaction and misery. Sometimes, necessity dictates our path, regardless of where it leads, so we must also be willing to ask ourselves if it is our path or our why that is truly causing our pain.

Regardless of the conclusions we arrive at, we have no right to burden others with the weight of them. While we are truly fortunate if we have others who share in our vision and our reason for pursuing it, quite often our path and our purpose is a weight we must carry alone, at least until its fruits begin to bear out. This process is much easier if we are clear about our why and if our actions align with our reason for taking them.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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