by Brandon Peele, Founder of Ensouled Life, Author of Planet on Purpose
You might be thinking that the words "purpose" and "Donald Trump" should not be used in the same sentence. You might be thinking that purpose and politics are entirely separate domains. It is my intention to demonstrate that purpose and politics are exactly the same domain. It is my intention to illuminate the gift that Donald Trump is, in showing us what purpose is, and how we as a nation may discover, cultivate and express our national purpose.
First, let me just say that this isn't a partisan tear down of President Trump. Although there is a great difference in my values and understanding of the world and that of President Trump, this article is an exploration into what his purpose is and what he is illuminating about the purpose of the United States.
Perspective #1: The Four Stages of Purpose
Donald J. Trump is the poster boy of Stage 2: Declared Purpose (the same could be said of most politicians from every party on the planet, as well as most high achievers). Stage 1 is having no purpose and existing on the pleasure / pain spectrum, work / consume frequency. Stage 2 is having a Declared Purpose, which is a purpose based on your own internal filters (put there by unmet childhood needs, parental wounding, and parental, societal and economic mores), wherein you simply declare that your life is going to be about something other than survival. This purpose could be rooted in traditional values, e.g. be the world's best dad, a lay minister or the hosting a family reunion. It could be rooted in modern values, e.g. be the best in your field, have the most car dealerships, be considered the prettiest, wittiest, funniest, wealthiest or most accomplished in your peer group. It could also be rooted in post-modern values, e.g. be the most altruistic, most humble, most introverted or hardest working activist in your peer group.
Stage 3 is having access to your unique soul's purpose and some or all ten aspects of it (call, vision, craft, mission, powers, flow, virtues, core, story and worldview). Stage 3 is where you seek to serve and self-express from soul.
Stage 4 is the progressive realization that your soul's purpose is one and the same as the purpose of humanity, the Earth and the Cosmos, wherein you move effortlessly through the Cosmos, as, by and for the greatest expression of the Cosmos. While definitely breaching mystical or Enlightened awareness, Stage 4 also includes Stages 3, 2 and 1, meaning there is an acceptance of one's own desires for pleasure, for esteem and authenticity, as well as those desires in every human, while serving the whole in every situation and context.
I believe President Trump is firmly rooted in his Stage 2 declared purpose of personal fame, and uses virtually every opportunity to edify his image (with greatly mixed results) and tear down those who diminish his fame and popularity. It's what drives his relentless self-promotion and headline grabbing ventures (casinos, steaks, ghost-written books, truthing, university, fashion shows, beauty pageants, media coverage, resorts, etc.), statements (mysogyny, racism, tragic ignorance), actions (fraud, bankruptcies, admitted sexual assault and alleged rape and pedophilia), and impulsive and tragically transparent tweets. He is not solely responsible for operating from his declared purpose (which is not to excuse the spiritual, moral and legal consequences of his actions), however his declared purpose tragically [Have I used the word "tragically" yet?] illuminates the perils of being stuck in a declared purpose for decades.
Were it not for a great portion of society whose values he represents (wealth, fame, full self-expression), and were it not for his childhood wounding that drove him to seek publicity at every turn, and for our culture that has steered him away from deep learning, personal growth, reflection or personal responsibility, Trump might very well have had a different declared purpose. Perhaps he would have even heard the call to awaken his soul's purpose (Stage 3) and dedicate his life to creative self-expression and generative service. Perhaps, after many years of soulful leadership, he would embody Stage 4 purpose and collaborate with other Stage 4 purpose beacons like the Pope, Lynn Twist, Jimmy Carter, Joanna Macy, H.H. Dalai Lama and Oprah, to create a more just, sustainable, abundant and peaceful world.
Perspective #2: What Trump is Revealing About the Default Purpose of the United States
While we are far from having enough time and distance from the Trump era to concisely express the historical, cultural and spiritual significance of his influence, within only 2 years of him declaring his candidacy and winning the Presidency, we can say that he has already served a powerful and catalytic purpose in illuminating the default purpose of America, and to some extent, humanity. A default purpose is comprised of the effects of any individual's or group's actions, versus an explicit purpose, which is the stated and intended purpose, e.g. Stages 2, 3 and 4. Through his way of being, words and policies, Americans have had to confront some unsettling truths about our nation's default purpose. Never before in American history has one man embodied so many aspects of our default purpose - some very unsettling truths that heretofor were much easier to ignore.
Although our founding documents largely speak to our better angels, articulating an intent to be truthful, equal, just and happy (with notable exceptions around the value and rights of indigenous peoples, women, GLBTQ, children, the elderly, minorities and future generations), our institutions and cultural values reveal a different national purpose, our default purpose.
Now this is not to say that any of these reflect America's true soul purpose (Stage 3), which likely includes many other aspirations and potentials, like mysticism (Transcendentalism, John Muir, Tom Robbins), creativity (Jazz, Blues, Burning Man), innovation (Silicon Valley, B Corps, teal / tribal / deliberately developmental management and leadership), reform (labor riots, Monkey Wrench Gang, Suffrage, Civil Rights) and democracy (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, United Nations). However, never before in American history has one person (and to a great extent, his Administration) embodied and personified the shadowy end of the spectrum, America's default purpose. All these things were true before the Trump era, and many will still be true after it.
From these two perspectives, I believe we can begin to heal as a nation, and reveal our deepest values and soul identity, and to even express gratitude for the pain wrought by Trump's ascent to the Presidency. This man has given our country and species a great gift by living his declared purpose with such pride and wild abandon. He has shown us the tragic consequence of an individual being developmentally stagnated at a Stage 2 Declared Purpose, as a nation whose default purpose is quite different that our founding documents. He has shown us the great work that lies ahead for us as a nation to heal our wounds and remedy injustice, as well as explore, reveal and express our true national Stage 3 Soul Purpose.
He has made it powerfully clear that America can no longer assume that we are the leader of the free world. He has, with great fanfare and drama, alerted us to the existential, economic, ecological, political and cultural peril our country and species face. Before the Trump Era, the fullness of America's default purpose was largely obscured and unattended to in mainstream culture and media (although felt deeply and painfully by numerous marginalized communities). Previously, the consequences were too subtle, too complex and/or too far removed from mainstream culture. Now we have one man, who's path it is to embody this reality, to force us to do our own work to cultivate our individual and national purpose.
He is a gift. He has given us this powerful choice. It is now abundantly clear that each American and the American public must now choose to awaken soul purpose, and deal with the ways in which our lives, careers, political economy and culture are unaligned with it. Or we will continue to live out our fate as the global example of how not to run a country and exist as a society.
Thank you, President Trump. May your path be less painful. May your soul quickly come online and show us what is possible through your awakening, healing, humility and atonement. May you one day serve as an example of true purpose, reconciliation and soulful leadership. May your transformation inspire billions. May the discussion you empowered ignite a revolution of national purpose in America and throughout the world.
What We Can do
Yes, we must continue to do the good work we have already begun, work I believe is more aligned with our soul-level purpose. We must continue to #RESIST and speak truth to power, embodying and expressing our sacred activism via #OCCUPY, #BLACKLIVESMATTER, #NODAPL, #METOO / #IHAVE / #IAMRESPONSIBLE. However, there is a greater opportunity than merely resisting. There is the opportunity to awaken and unleash your soul's purpose and participate in the awakening of America's true purpose. Here's how you can start:
A Note to Politicians
If you are Donald Trump or another politician governing at the state or federal level and are intrigued by this conversation, I am here for you. If you are curious about what the power of your soul's purpose could unleash in your career and for your constituents, I have one opening in Q1 for a pro bono client, and would gladly offer you my services as a Certified Purpose GuideTM for free. If you are already functioning at Stage 3 Soul Purpose, I'd be happy to empower you to realize the collective purpose of your town, county, state or administration and connect you with my colleagues at Amoveo Mundi who specialize in group purpose. They are currently engaged with the States of Israel and Colombia to find their national purpose.
About the Author