I'll tell you a story, the night I discovered the first Hidden Purpose of my irresponsible self (my Gremlin). It may not seem like a highpoint in the telling, but it was a step that needed to be taken if I was to provide people with anything of value. And it was an integral part of my personal initiation into authenticadulthood.
I was living in France, co-managing a spiritual retreat center with my wife at the time. It was Sunday night, about nine-thirty, early winter, December, 1998, a chilly drizzly night. Ordinarily it was time for bed, but I received some feedback just then about an aspect of my behavior that had not changed even after repeated revelations. It struck me suddenly that change was absolutely hopeless so long as I remained ignorant of the root cause of my behavior.
My ignorance was driving me crazy. I was so frustrated I could not stay inside the old French farmhouse. I grabbed my jacket and a sleeping bag and thought I would sleep out in the barn, but even there I could not stop moving. I dropped the sleeping bag and kept walking, out the long stony driveway in the moonless night, then up the winding paved road past little farmhouses, cold drizzle dripping from the leafless trees and hitting my face.
Some invisible purpose had been at work all my life producing results from behind a curtain I could not open, and I needed it open. Until I could make that purpose conscious I could not be accountable for my actions. The conflict was that opening that curtain would destroy a part of my life, a part that was heretofore functioning unconsciously. I could never return to my ordinary life if I gained that knowledge, but I vowed not to end this hike without it. I would rather spend the rest of my days begging in some far away French village, nameless and penniless, than to continue being a marionette buffoon.
A furnace churned inside me, pumping my legs onward. Most of the night passed while I trudged furiously, wet, cold and thirsty, with huge blisters on my heels. My hips ached and each step became torturous. Village after village passed by, until I finally sat down on the guard rail at a fork in the road unable to decide which way to continue, completely drained. I lapsed into utter futility. Then the curtain parted. I saw in this moment, exhausted, alone in the dark night, that I was fulfilling the very purpose that I had been searching for. The unconscious machinations of this purpose had been relentlessly twisting my every action into fulfilling its specifications, because this was the one purpose that was normal for me, ever since I was one year old, and left alone in my crib, I thought, to die.
I had screamed and screamed in that crib and nobody came, nobody cared. If I was to survive past that moment in the crib, then many subtle systems had to shut down. I had to abandon softer wishes, needs for abundance of heart and nearness of soul. If I was to survive that moment in the crib, then it would only be by exerting my own efforts alone. Surviving became the underlying purpose of my life, the thing that I could do, the thing that secretly defined my standard of normal, the outcome of my every effort. I intended to stay forever in a mode of survival. I became a survival hero. This was my Hidden Purpose. My life was about surviving. Anything different from mere survival could not be my life.
I slowly rose back onto my aching, blistered feet and hobbled towards the nearest village, a few kilometers further on. Behind a monastery I found a small brick building that housed their central heating furnace. Mercifully the door was unlocked. I let myself in and by the light of the furnace collapsed onto the dusty cement floor. An hour or so later the sun lightened the grey sky enough that I could call my friend Thomas Bormann to come pick me up.
It took months to digest this experience. I could not explain to anyone what had happened. I could not figure it out in any linear fashion. But through this fierce internal underworld struggle I was able to distinguish between Low Drama and High Drama, to define Gremlin and its Hidden Purpose, to reveal the entire Thoughtmap of Possibility - the central map of Possibility Management, and to experientially and intellectually distinguish ordinary, extraordinary and archetypal relationship, the basis of the book: Building Love That Lasts.
Map of the Underworld Journey
Actual Distilled Hidden Purposes
When you consciously make the Hidden Purpose Process journey into your Underworld as an authentic adulthood initiatory process, you can extract your Shadow Principles and formulate them into a concise statement of your Hidden Purpose.
Irresponsibility is Unconsciousness in action... applied Unconsciousness.
Actual Hidden Purposes are shared below by participants of Possibility Labs where we did the Hidden Purpose Process.
I am a dark cunning genius destroyer, manipulating you as a sexual toy to take complete control over your life, sucking out your energy until you are confused and empty, then leaving you in the trash to go find another slave.
I am a threatening dominant tyrant, possessing you through my insatiable greed for power, degrading you with my sexual perversions, thereby killing your dignity for never ending slave manipulation.
I am a hubristic, pathologically lying miracle-cure adventure salesman, selling you survival-hero thoughtware-upgrades, but if you believe me I feel betrayed by your neediness and get revenge by sucking out every last drop of your life energy for my egotistical projects, then drop you in the dust, walk away, and never look back.
I'm an alluring, two-faced witchy beast that plays innocent and harmless pretending that you can use and abuse me so that I can take revenge by burning you and cutting you into pieces.