Searching for—and finding—meaning is a deeply human drive. There is a frequent deep desire to believe that all of existence is working together in a purposeful way to some end or according to some design. It is not at all uncommon to find ourselves in a crisis of meaning at some point in our lives, brought on by significant losses or transitions, or by changes in our work and relationships. Though some find great freedom and joy in concluding that life has no meaning at all, many find this perspective to be depressing or terrifying. Different religious and secular worldviews around the world are centered on providing an answer for this search for meaning, and these answers frequently instill a sense of purpose and satisfaction in those that adopt them.
Author Dan Millman writes that just as we can divide the points on a compass into four directions and the days of the year into four seasons, we can give order and structure to our life experience by looking at it through a filter of four purposes.