Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Meaning of Life

A good friend of mine keeps urging me to write a post on the meaning of life. Let me go back and rephrase that, or at least part of it...MEANING OF LIFE. Doesn't it just feel like those words should be in capital letters? I mean, when I encounter them, I immediately sense their weight and implied significance. Do we ever really feel like we have the meaning of life figured out? Are we even supposed to have it figured out?

If we are, then I suspect I'm totally behind the eight ball on that one. I am simply nowhere close to being able to profess that I know the meaning of life. I do, however, have some thoughts on the subject, as you might expect.

There is meaning to life; of that, I am certain. There is a point and purpose to human existence on this planet. Because of the sheer number of us and our social nature, I'm inclined to believe that meaning is found somewhere in the intricate web of human interaction. Aristotle said, "What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good." Pablo Casals put a further point on it when he stated, "I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance." I think they were on to something.

We were created for meaning and purpose. Another point of which I am certain, and which is slightly different than the first. I believe in God. Higher power, supreme being, the universe; however you wish to state it is OK by me. I'm not here to force feed anyone my spiritual beliefs. But I believe in God. Inherent in that belief is the notion that we were created to be something other than robots or puppets, and that worship of the Creator is part of my meaning and purpose. We were created for meaning and purpose. There is a point to our existence. The craving for "something more" that we each recognize along the way is evidence of it.

At some point or the other, we all contemplate meaning. Some consider it for fleeting moments and then hastily work to bury it beneath the stuff of everyday living in an attempt to ease the vague feeling of uncertainty the pondering can cause. Others spend their whole lives chasing its promise of fulfillment, and in doing so, miss key moments along the way which might contribute to its understanding. There is, surely, a balance to be found.

I think contemplation on the meaning of life, the meaning of our life, can be exceptionally elucidating by spurring us on towards conscious living. That is to say, moving us toward a life lived with purpose, awake, and within the framework of a belief system. When we seek to peek below the surface of the mechanics of daily living, we open ourselves up to fulfillment and peace. We open ourselves to possibility.

I don't have it all wrapped up and I'm still seeking to understand the meaning of life. But I do know, that for me, living consciously is a piece of it. I know, that for me, I find meaning in relationship with God. I know, that for me, I find meaning in caring for my neighbor and relationship with others. My hope is that I remain open to the ever-evolving nature of the meaning of my life. How about you?


  1. There is no right answer. The meaning of life is what you make it. You can do, be, and have anything you want. Dream big and you will have it.

  2. Opps hit post to quick :) Great post!

  3. WAS says you need to temper some of that positive thinking into the realities of circumstances often play a big role in what we realize. Not that circumstances may sometimes be changed, but sometimes not

  4. Good post!

    Personally I tend to the view that we make our own "meaning" in life - this is a function of the freedom which is at the basis of our nature.

    I also think that this view is compatable with both theistic and atheistic basic positions. If you are a believer in God - which I am not - maybe you can see it as your responsibility resulting from the freedom you were given to make the "story" of your life and bring that back to God when it is over. For the non-believer, it is a view which gives focus and direction to life.

    Or maybe the Monty Pythons were right :-)

  5. Thanks everyone!

    Good food for thought @FrancisHunt...I love the Monty Python comment! :-)