Common Ground: You speak about the importance of mission and purpose, particularly for a man. That’s a tricky subject because it seems that most people are constantly searching for that.
David Deida: You are your mission, and if you don’t know it, you are not relaxed in the moment. So you don’t have to find your mission, you need to relax in the moment to discover it. It is being shown to you right now. You are being lived by a force deeper than you. Masculine practice is intuitively feeling and identifying with that force so that when you wake up in the morning, you are lived by your mission. If you don’t know what that is, it is because you are thinking. Your mind will never know your mission. You will never feel your mission if you are attending to your thoughts hoping to see what your mission is in the future.
A classic exercise in The Way of the Superior Man is for you to set up a place in the living room or a tent in your backyard to just go and sit and not move. At some point you have to pee, so your mission, in that moment, is to stand up and pee. It is very clear. After you pee, if you don’t know what your mission is, you just sit down. Maybe it will be a week or two weeks, maybe it will be a month. At some point if you stop watching TV and talking to people and attending to your thoughts all day, if you relax from attending to your mind forms and all the forms of the feminine–which is everything that changes–if you allow your attention to stop seeking feminine fulfillment momentarily and allow your attention to resolve into its heart-source, you will be living your mission, in that moment.
You then allow your body to be animated by that mission. It is very specific. So if you sit there for a week or two, suddenly you might feel, “Before I die, I have to form a business to sell this product that I am interested in. I just keep thinking about it.” So you get off the cushion and form the business. It might take 10 years, 5 years, one year, but you form the business. You sell the thing you feel you have to. When that no longer moves you, that mission dissolves. That sense of purpose dissolves. A man living his mission has some years of highly focused purpose followed by a resolution of their mission, the accomplishment of their mission or the evaporation of their mission, and then they are back to no mission, to no purpose, to being.
There are concentric circles of purpose, so the first mission that most men come upon is the most superficial, such as the notions of success and failure inherited from their father or what society tells them to do–or how their fear directs them. Most people are looking for their mission out of fear, for money, to make their parents happy, or for their spouses–whatever it is to convince themselves they’re worth something. This has nothing to do with your deep mission. These are childhood issues that you deal with in therapy.
Once you no longer pay attention to your thoughts, once you realize that 99% of your thoughts are essentially random motions (there are useful thoughts, of course, but not for finding your sense of purpose), then you just allow your attention to rest in this present moment and it will be empty. When you rest in this present moment, it is wide open. In your masculine, there is nothing happening. Now, if you allow your body to be okay with that feeling of “I don’t know,” for eternity, that is about as close to enlightened being as you can speak in words.
Be wide open to the manifestation of existence through your being, living in a state of “beginner’s mind” as some people call it, acting with precision. You don’t say, “I don’t know, so I will go to Bali and play.” You say, “I don’t know, so I will sit upright as open awareness until I know.” You don’t distract yourself with beaches, playmates, and oceans, searching for things that are merely delicious. All of those things are why most men don’t know their mission. They are basically chasing the attractive possibilities of mind, of sensuality, of adventure, seeking the feminine as a form of entertainment, rather than relaxing open as deep consciousness, choicelessly gifting, just as they are.
I think people misunderstand what mission is and what purpose is. It is not something you have or don’t have; it is something you are ignoring or not ignoring in the present moment. Finding your purpose is fully sinking into the present moment and letting reality manifest through you as a gift to all.