Center for Creative Inquiry

The Hook of Purpose


When we are mindful of our goal and aware of the present moment, our concentration links our energy to the momentum of time, effortlessly sustaining us. Instead of interacting with surface appearances and superficial roles, we touch deeper dimensions of experience that return to us a rich and satisfying energy. Acting upon a personal commitment to offer something of value to the world, all we do emanates from a deep inner integrity and brings our whole being into a direct interaction with life.

—Tarthang Tulku, Knowledge of Freedom

If there is no intentionality behind our actions, and we just “go with the flow,” we scatter and spray like water tumbling over rocks. If we choose a goal, make it our own, and take responsibility for reaching it, then we are in a position of power—because we have a purpose. 

Purposefulness seems to be like the energy of desire, but it is informed by vision and connected up to the gut level of action. Just as one desire can overcome another, a meaningful purpose can become stronger than distractions, stronger than laziness and confusion that waste our time. 

Purpose is like the hook the mountain climber throws forward and upward toward his goal. When it “catches”, he can rely upon it completely to give him the leverage (power) to progress across any terrain that happens to appear. 

The climber also needs to be grounded firmly and steadily balanced on the current rock. Focusing strongly into the present and letting intention arch forward toward a goal opens a new connection with time. Time might be the rope stretched at the proper tension for skilled climbing, the line that connects the present rock to the future mountain top.

Once this new set of relations is established, things begin to shift. Knowledge deepens and frees itself up, like a climber now at ease surrounded by a vision of gorgeous scenery, simultaneously aware of each twist and turn beneath his feet. There is plenty of room to move, even to dance, because the climber is securely connected to the rope of time. We can realize the goal by “pulling it” into the present, reaching the peak where we can enjoy both the beauty of nature and the joy of accomplishment.

This piece was originally published in Gesar, Vol. X, No 2 (1990). It appeared along with other TSK student submissions featured in that issue. The author is unknown.

Image credit: Ignacio Ercole