There are four different methods that have been identified by purpose guides to discovering our natural talents and resulting Transcendental Purpose.
Method Type 1: Autobiographical Methods
Autobiographical methods work well for people who have had a multitude of life experiences such as jobs, relationships, lifestyles, or living in different places, with their natural ups and downs to draw from. Autobiographical methods are just what they sound like: creating your own autobiography as a means to examine your life and extract purpose.
Method Type 2: Absent Methods
This second group of methods allows us to discover latent natural talents that were once potentials but the skills that would have allowed us to identify and express them are absent. These methods go deeper than autobiographical methods by attempting to tap into the unconscious mind through psycho-spiritual practices.
Absent methods attempt to uncover unrealized potentials by reaching into our unconscious mind to connect with what deeply resonated with us and gave us joy as young children before a strong sense of a separate self and defense mechanism developed. In our tree metaphor, this means going back to a time when the first branches began to sprout from the stem based on our genetic predispositions but then were stunted or even cut off completely. For example, you may have had a talent for writing but are dyslexic and so were discouraged from expressing this talent.
Method Type 3: Ego-Transcending Methods
Ego-transcending methods work best for people who have never felt a deep sense of purpose or meaning in their lives or don’t trust any methods that rely on the self/ego, psychology, rationality, or the unconscious mind to identify their purpose. They also work well for those who feel deeply resonant with and connected with the natural world and therefore can’t relate to the autobiographical and absent methods that we covered above.
As the name implies, ego-transcending methods aim at going beyond our culturally conditioned separate sense of self so that our Transcendental Purpose arises naturally moment-to-moment without being filtered or judged by the self.
Method Type 4: Ego-Affirming Methods
Contrary to ego-transcending methods, ego-affirming methods suggest that we are already radiant and powerful beings and simply need to remove the veils that prevent us from shining our light into the world.
Proponents of ego-affirming methods state in one way or another that we are all “great talented human beings” who are “powerful beyond measure and can attract anything we want into our lives” but don’t know it, repress it, or are afraid of it, and thus are not living our “limitless potentials” or “higher purpose.”
The upshot of these approaches is that they don’t require much psychological healing, personal growth, spiritual awakening, or additional skill development. They simply require that we bolster our ego or self-confidence and shine our light into the world unhindered. These methods can therefore work well for people who have indeed developed their natural talents through the practicing of skills to a professional level, but who feel uncertain, insecure, ashamed, afraid, or undeserving to fully express them.