I work with many clients, some with crisis issues, and others working on personal growth. Inevitably, a question arises as to the meaning of our experiences, and, ultimately, the meaning of life.
Members of the human species have probably always speculated about these things, as though there might be a mysterious answer just outside of our grasp. Actually, it may only be with the evolutionary development of the logical left-brain that we began looking for “answers” and logical explanations. Prior to that, there was more likely a simple acceptance of the earth and the sky, and the cycles of life.
A person with an untrained ear may be brought to tears by a beautiful symphony. The mind does not even enter into the analysis of the technical merits of the piece. I have a deep appreciation for the philosophical nature of the human mind, and my bookshelves have more books on philosophy than any other subject. However, sometimes I find more meaning, more richness, in a shaft of light breaking through a few clouds. The song of the wren singing happily in my willow tree touches my heart directly, and tells me more about the meaning of life than all the reading in the world.
When we look to other sources to find the meaning of life, we deprive ourselves of the essence of our journey here. People who choose partners or careers based on what parents or peers expect, wake up in mid-life feeling like strangers in their own bodies. If we adopt what someone else decides is the meaning of life, then we might miss the point of being here.
It is for each one of us to create or develop meaning in our own lives and experiences. There is no one all-encompassing meaning to life. Meaning is not somewhere “out there,” or an answer at the back of some cosmic workbook. Meaning is something we create within our own minds.
Those who feel there is nothing to live for, no purpose to their lives – are the ones who have not created a higher purpose. They have not stepped outside themselves enough to have meaningful interactions with the world, other living things, and their own psyches. If no apples fall into my basket, then there is no point sitting under this apple tree. If the blessings of life are not coming to me, then why stay?
The focus becomes so narrow, that it is impossible to be happy. If our goal is to be happy, then we are bound to be disappointed. Happiness is what comes when we accept that our soul has its own journey, independent of the demands of our ego. Even if we have a life filled with suffering, we can find a noble path through the pain. It is not easy to do this, but the difficulty of the endeavor makes its accomplishment that much more precious.
We experience our own souls whenever we are deeply touched, whether it is with joy or with sorrow. This is what the experiences of life facilitate, and why sometimes it is best not to analyze, but simply to be.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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