by Dan Millman
Origins of the Life-Purpose System
For centuries, observers of human nature have sought common denominators to better understand the forces that shape human personality and destiny. Numerous tools of insight from both psychological and mystical traditions have emerged at different times and in different cultures. All of these methods and maps of consciousness represent our attempts to demonstrate that our universe and our individual psyche aren’t random or chaotic, but have a certain structure and order.
The Life-Purpose System provides a clear, objective method for understanding any individual’s life path and purpose — providing that individual has a known and accurate date of birth and was born after 1750, when the modern calendar was widely adopted. This system’s ultimate source is veiled in mystery, but its origins most likely date back to the Pythagorean school of ancient Greece.
Like other holistic thinkers, Pythagoras embraced many facets of human consciousness in the same way modern physicists now enter realms once relegated to mystics, philosophers, and theologians. He spoke of cycles, patterns, and waves that existed long before the dawn of humanity, and of how our life paths reflect great and eternal laws, whose origins and purpose remain hidden within the mystery and mechanics of existence. In exploring the fundamentals of form and frequency, he discovered relationships between mind and matter where before no such order had appeared to exist, and he pointed to hidden numerical patterns that served as keys for unlocking secrets of the psyche.
Although the Life-Purpose System resembles some other numerology systems — in the sense that it works with numbers to derive meaningful information — you may find the material in this book especially clear, specific, and applicable to everyday life.
Despite many decades devoted to exploring the human psyche, insight traditions, and metaphysical models of reality, I remain an empiricist at heart. The scientific method — using controlled experiments to test theories — helped pull humanity out of the dark ages of superstition. I apply critical thinking and skepticism to magical thinking and untested notions. Still, the mind is like a parachute; it works best when open.
I hadn’t even considered the existence of a higher calling or life path until 1984, when I met a man — the warrior-priest I mentioned in the Acknowledgments — who became my mentor, colleague, and friend. He had read my first book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, and we shared our experiences and compared perspectives, while he offered his own unique guidance. Not long after our initial encounter, this warrior-priest offered me an hour-long life-purpose reading. He revealed in-depth information that clarified my past, present, and potential future, including details that rang true and proved amazingly accurate. It was as if his words removed a veil that had previously obscured my vision, and revealed to me the life I was born to live. I was astonished that he could have such insight into my life but had no idea how he gained access to such information. I was well versed in the cold read techniques used by so-called psychics. But the warrior-priest claimed no psychic abilities, stating only that he’d been trained to know “where to look” for such information.
At an advanced training, this mentor gave a series of lectures on this mysterious system— an objective method of adding up the digits of anyone’s date of birth, and then deriving meanings that provided insight into that individual’s life. I was initially disappointed by this revelation, the way we sometimes are when a magician shows how a wondrous illusion is accomplished with mirrors or sleight of hand. Besides, using people’s birth dates seemed like numerology, an occult art that had never attracted me. It made no sense that adding the digits of someone’s date of birth could yield accurate information about central qualities of that person’s life.
The warrior-priest explained that such methods had been passed down in various cultures over the centuries, but that they differed in their focus and degree of accuracy. He added, “Once you learn more about this approach, you can determine for yourself the validity of the method.” He then spent several evenings presenting basic information that pinpointed key issues for each life path, highlighting innate drives, challenges, and gifts, which for most people remain unseen or obscure.
I took careful notes of these lectures, outlining in about twenty typewritten pages the fundamental elements of the system. As soon as I returned home, I offered free life-purpose readings to family and friends, using the basic information from my notes. Within a few weeks I had internalized the information and no longer needed my notes. Eventually, after working with many hundreds of people and providing recorded readings (which I called Spiritual Law Alignments), my insight deepened and expanded. Eight years later, I trained a small number of therapists, health professionals, and life coaches in the fundamentals of what I came to call the Life-Purpose System, and eventually I went on to write the original edition of The Life You Were Born to Live.
Perhaps the validity of the Life-Purpose System stems from the holographic nature of the universe, in which each part mirrors and contains the whole, and in which the individual psyche fits within a larger pattern of order. By distilling complex variables into essential patterns, this system reveals the hidden forces behind our personality, furnishing a clear lens from which to view the bigger picture of our life. Trying to explain it in logical terms is like attempting to derive the square root of a sonnet. I can only feel a sense of awe and wonder at laws yet undiscovered.
Spiritual Laws and the Life Purpose System
A key element of the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Life You Were Born to Live — as in the earlier edition — are the spiritual laws that can guide us to live wisely and well. Specific laws in Part Four of the book are especially useful in overcoming the hurdles on each of forty-five individual life paths as described in the book. Here is some background on these laws of spirit:
Human laws form a basis of social agreement and social order, but human laws are only pale reflections of a higher order of laws sewn into the fabric of existence. These laws govern the movement of the Earth, the cycle of seasons, the forces of nature, and the structure of the atom itself. The great laws existed before humanity, before nature. Even the cyclone, the tidal wave, the hurricane, and the raging fire — forces that can lay waste to the highest human enterprise — work under the dominion of these laws. Whether we call them spiritual laws, universal laws, natural laws, or simply higher laws, we can’t alter or deny them. They humble and inspire those who search for order within chaos, and point to a greater power and mystery at the source of existence. Even galaxies dance to their music.
Scientists and mystics both strive to understand these universal laws, but use different methods of exploration. The laws in this book aren’t distilled to mathematical formulas (such as E = mc2), but rather are presented as axiomatic statements that express a higher order of reality. Their validity doesn’t require or depend on any kind of belief. Like the law of gravity, they apply whether or not we believe in them. The natural world reveals these universal laws to us. The cycles of the seasons, clouds riding the wind, the currents of the river, and the powers of wind and sea — all teach us how to live by revealing the natural way of life. When adapted and applied these laws to everyday life, they become guiding principles that guide us through the shallows and reefs of life the way the stars and compass guided ancient mariners on their course. Constant as the movement of the planets, they apply not only to the mechanics of nature, but to the human psyche as well. For example, by observing a tree bending in a high wind and observing that only the rigid branches break, we learn from the tree and wind the secret of yielding and the power of flexibility, or nonresistance.
Ultimately, all spiritual laws reveal themselves as needed — not necessarily in words, but rather through our deepest feelings, through the intuitive wisdom of our heart. Our body, when free of external programming and interference, abides naturally within these laws, which are communicated through our instincts and subtle intuitive feelings. All we have to do is to pay attention to and trust our inner knower. The mind or ego, our isolated sense of separate self, resists the flow of the current of life. When we align our lives — our habits of diet, exercise, work, and sexuality— with spiritual laws, challenges remain, but we can approach them without struggle, with arms open wide, like peaceful warriors embracing the moment, ready to dance.
Spiritual laws have very little to do with cultural concepts of right or wrong, or good or bad; rather they teach us about actions and consequences. For example, if I climb a mountain but ignore the law of gravity, this doesn’t make me a bad person; it just makes me ignorant, injured, or dead. We can declare gravity illegal or even immoral, but the law of gravity still applies. Despite moral precepts, which differ among cultures, people still commit crimes. Only seeing the consequences of our actions engenders wiser behaviors. Morality comes from social ideas. Wisdom comes from aligning our life with higher (spiritual or universal) laws of reality. Sooner or later, one way or the other, the challenges and consequences of daily life teach us about cause and effect, action and reaction; we come to respect the powers of nature and to appreciate the inherent justice of spiritual law.
Archimedes said, “Give me a long enough lever, and I can move the Earth.” The laws and principles presented here act as levers to help us move toward the most positive expression of our life path. Their transformative power applies directly to fulfilling our individual destiny. The degree to which we apply the laws central to our individual birth number can make a day-or-night difference in the quality of our experience and the course of our life. These laws will remain relevant five, ten, or twenty years from now, and for the remainder of any individual’s life.
As we align ourselves with the laws most relevant to our life path, we can, over time, work through our core issues with greater refinement, grace, and ease. These laws can help transform any issue in our life, because they dig beneath the surface to the roots, helping us transform ourselves at the source rather than merely struggling with the symptoms.
The key to the power of a law lies not just in knowing it, but in applying it. And we can do so in the moments when the laws are most timely and needed. These laws are not magic wands, but needles on a cosmic compass, pointing our way. We apply them by aligning our actions with our heart’s wisdom. A change in our actions, feelings, or perspectives indicates this alignment with the laws of Spirit.
An excerpt from the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Life You Were Born to Live by Dan Millman (HJ Kramer, 2018).
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