Cindy Griffith-Bennett’s blog article, Using Ideals to Find Your Purpose, changed my understanding of what leading a purposeful life means. Griffith-Bennett suggests we identify our highest ideals, then use them as guides to a purposeful life. The concept was a revelation! My purpose is not something meaningful I do, I thought, it is the intention by which I do everything. I asked the Divine to show me which ideals should guide my life, then paid close attention to what the universe presented.

Answers came in unexpected ways. First, I read an article about an anthropologist who learned a valuable cultural lesson when he taught children in the Xhosa tribe a simple game. He told the children to race to a tree as fast as they could, explaining he would reward the first child to reach it with a prize of sweet fruits. When the race began, the kids joined hands, ran to the tree together, and together they claimed the prize. Then they sat down in a circle and shared the fruit they had won. When the anthropologist asked why they didn’t try winning the prize for themselves alone, one child answered, “How can anyone be happy when others are sad?” The word the Xhosa people gave him to describe their worldview was  “Ubuntu.” It means: “I am because we are.”

Let His love, as He gave, be the impelling influence in thine associations one with another…

-- Edgar Cayce reading 254-76

By applying this selfless principle, everyone benefited. It reminded me of John Nash’s theory of governing dynamics for which he won the Nobel Prize in Economics. In the movie, A Beautiful Mind, we see Nash discover the best result in competition comes from each member of a group doing what is best for themselves and what is best for the group, not doing what is best for themselves alone.

Unlike the Xhosa who are united by love, we are divided by competition and fear. We’re afraid we won’t get the life-sustaining things we need because there isn’t enough for everyone. We’re afraid we won’t get the things we work for, or think we deserve, because less deserving people take them unfairly.

…there is seen that through fear there is brought on destructive forces within the body, while perfect love casteth out fear. And the understanding comes through love. 

-- Edgar Cayce reading 136-73

What spirit do ye entertain? Truth, justice, mercy, love, patience, brotherly kindness? Or self, self-praise, self-glory that ye may be well spoken of materially?

-- Edgar Cayce reading 257-238

Then I saw Cloud Atlas for the second time. The movie shows a soul group that reincarnates together, time after time. In each life they form different relationships. In some lives, they love and support one another; in other lives, they harm one another. A character at the end of the movie explained why: “Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound together; and with each kindness, with each crime, we birth our future.” The movie shows interconnectedness is one of the most essential yet unrecognized truths of our lives.

Then, Cayce’s readings brought it all together:

Remembering, then, that it is unity of purpose, unity of application, that will bring the desired efforts to those that seek as those that would obtain.

-- Edgar Cayce reading 254-44

Universal love (is) necessary that there be unity of purpose, or desire, upon the parts of groups OR individuals in their PRESENTING themselves for a oneness of purpose, or to be of aid to others in FINDING themselves; losing self in the love of that as is made the ideal of those seeking.

-- Edgar Cayce reading 262-2

I had asked for help to identify ideals to live by; a magazine article, two popular movies, and Edgar Cayce all pointed toward unity and a loving connection to others. The universe showed me if we value cooperation over competition and consider our desires in concert with those of  others, we all can win. By choosing kindness, empathy, and forgiveness, we can unite with each other and transform our world.

Apply self in that direction in which the most aid to the fellow man,… in applying understanding of Creative Energy's purpose with man, to make man ONE with and equal to that Creative Energy that will bring to self the satisfaction of the experience well spent…

-- Edgar Cayce reading 101-1