What is the purpose of your life? Have you ever wondered? Have you ever attended a funeral, touched the lifeless body, listened to the eulogies, and asked yourself, “Why am I alive?” or “What am I doing with myself?” Maybe the questions arrest you when you encounter the limitless expanse of an ocean or the lumbering enormity of a mountain. Nature has that mystical power to lift our inner gaze and cause us to ask big and important questions. Just a brief walk in the woods under a canopy of trees, surrounded by a million unseen organisms has the power to re-focus our attention away from the distractions of daily life ! and back to those haunting, often perplexing, questions of purpose. Best-selling author Dr. Wayne W. Dyer has suggested that the purpose of life is to know God. Similarly, another best-selling author and pastor, Rick Warren, notes in The Purpose Driven Life that the search for life’s purpose begins with God. Both Dyer and Warren are correct, we think, but by pointing us to God they place a bigger – maybe the biggest – question squarely before us: What do we mean by “God”? Multiple religious traditions across millennia have reflected on the divine. Taking just one notion, albeit a persistently popular one, let’s turn to Michelangelo’s sixteenth century depiction at the Sistine Chapel. Here one encounters the classic white beard and muscles image. Does the purpose of life really begin with this attractive, sixty-something grandfather with a piercing gaze and bulging biceps? Is this the guy who we are supposed to get to know in order to fully understand ourselves? Does he—the Man Upstairs—hold the key to discovering our life’s purpose? We do not think so. While some might find inner inspiration with this notion of God, it does not work for us. As we struggle with questions of purpose and meaning, we are only frustrated by the literal and mental images and energy conjured by this classic portrait of the divine. While a host of religious traditions point to a God who is “out-there” somewhere, waiting for our prayers and perhaps willing to help us (at least to the extent we are aligning our lives with “His purposes”), we wonder whether our search for the divine, meaning, and purpose in our lives ought to start “in-here” somewhere. Perhaps the first step to discovering God and ultimate meaning in our lives is through discovering and exploring the divinity that inhabits each one of us. We are suggesting that traditional notions of a God who has wisdom, power, and goodness wholly external to us is possibly a distraction that keeps us from recognizing the divine potential for flourishing that each person already contains within his or her Authentic Self. What would happen if we broke-free of ancient ideas regarding humanity’s limitations, sinfulness, and powerlessness? What if we consciously rejected the language of divine parent residing outside and apart from us – this Father God “upstairs” or “out there” – to whom we as subservient children must look to and rely upon? What if we instead embraced a more universal concept of the divine as the animating and empowering Source of everything that has been, is, and might be created? What if our life’s purpose was understood as harmonizing with the Uni-Verse, the One Song that sustains and connects all of us? What if we viewed our ultimate life’s purpose and destiny as knowing our Authentic Self, learnin! g to sing our own song in harmony with others, and playing our own music in concert with this Animating Energy that connects everything? Perhaps it is in discovering our own divine attributes and then living a life with the intent of collaborating with God that we might fully realize our life’s greatest purpose and meaning. These insights are ancient and their inspiration rooted in our earliest texts. Consider the exchange between Eve and the Serpent in the mythical Garden of Eden. God had commanded Adam not to eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because doing so, God warned, would result in death. But we are told that the Serpent was crafty, and the snake suggested to Eve that far from death, taking and eating the tree’s fruit would open Eve’s eyes, animate her awareness, and make her like God. And the Serpent was right. Eve took a bite of the luscious fruit, and she did not die. She then shared the fruit with Adam, and he did not die either. Rather, the eyes of both Eve and Adam were opened, and, as the Serpent had predicted, the holy scripture tells us that they became like Gods. In this story, which circulated as an oral tradition throughout the wandering tribes of the ancient Near East, we are confronted with two important concepts. First, the concept of a God up in Heaven answering prayers and demanding our allegiance – the parental God that many of us were raised to believe in – provides an inadequate conceptual framework for realizing our divine potential. If you continue reading beyond these opening verses of Genesis’s third chapter, you will find these first two human beings making clothes and making offspring. Neither of them died on the day they touched and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Rather, and this brings us to the second point, Eve and Adam demonstrated an admirable boldness as they challenged the received wisdom. Rather then accepting the limits imposed by the social forces of her environment, Eve challenged the constraints of both Adam and God, and she modeled an unbridled courage that refused to settle for less than life’s best fruit. And in the process of recklessly and passionately pursuing where her instincts guided her, Eve had her eyes opened. She was enlightened and empowered. She discovered something about herself that living a safe, uninspired life would have always kept hidden. And in this act of challenging the status quo and rejecting the conventional wisdom – the commands from those in authority – Eve models the type of behavior that always enlightens and empowers us to discover the Authentic Self – our unique voice in the song of the Uni-Verse. Eve gives us an example to follow. Eve points us down the path to discovery of our Authentic Self. The danger lies not in eating of life’s fruits, rather it lies in the limitation we place on our ability to be open and aware. As quantum theory demonstrates, every thing emanates from Source energy and every thing is, ultimately, connected. We should not be surprised, therefore, when our departure from the collective whole leaves us feeling inadequate and incomplete. What we must do to reclaim our Authentic Self is to reclaim that we are entirely Source, wholly god- vibrations. And when we are operating like Eve with our eyes wide open and our spiritual frequency tuned to the unity vibrations of! the divine One Song, such a state resonates with our soul. When we live a life of divine resonance we are living a life of authenticity. Thus, the first step in our exploration of the Authentic Self is the realization that a divine Spirit vibrates within each one of us. And what do we mean by “divine”? Originally from the Latin, divinus literally translates as “of a god.” So, the first step in recognizing and realizing your Authentic Self is the acknowledgment that you are “of a god.” You are divine. You are eternal. Embrace the possibilities. Feel the resonance. Take the first step.