The meaning of life is a popular topic and I truly believe that many of us ask ourselves this deep question at some point or another in our life. I recall asking this question quite frequently, a few years ago. A friend of mine was victim to my endless questions back then. I clearly remember asking her:
“So Deb, what’s the meaning of life?”
Sometimes she would quote Thich Nhat Hanh and other times her answer would be:
“I don’t think there’s a meaning. But I don’t really know. Maybe the meaning of our life is the one we assign to it?”
Well let me tell you (Deb, hear this out too), I was not pleased with that answer, at all. At all!
But why did I have so much aversion to that answer?
You see, in fact, I was never truly looking for an answer; I wanted a confirmation of what I already believed. I had a pre-conceived idea in my mind. A belief that life had a higher purpose for me and that there was a meaning to it all. And to be even more honest with you, I actually wasn’t really asking the question to get an answer. It was an empty question. I would ask it because it sounded deep. My brain would shut down as soon as any answer came my way. But hey at least I still remember your answer, Deb!
Phew! That’s one hell of a confession!:)
But see, there is a point to this post. I can now say that my friend, was somewhat right after all.
Many years later, it dawned upon me that indeed there is no meaning to life. Life is absolutely beautiful, in the way it unfolds, in all it has to offer and in all we can enjoy. In fact, any pursuit in life is beautiful. Every moment, especially when contemplated in hindsight, has so much meaning.
But the meaning of life? There is none. The meaning of life is truly what we assign to it. We give our life meaning. We give ourself a purpose. I realised this through grace and by accepting that living is more important than thinking.
Although this was also a gradual realisation, I now know that questions are often distractions and blueprints limit us greatly. Often we try so hard to escape what’s right in front of us. In that ignorance, we wish to find ourselves a grand purpose, or some meaning that has been assigned to us. Unfortunately, I realised that it doesn’t work that way. I could be wrong of course (not that I will admit it).
As we live through our little meaningful moments, over the years, they accumulate and ultimately guide us towards our purpose. It’s in those little moments that we are able to discover our passion, our purpose and find meaning in everything that we do. The purpose becomes a choice and the fulfilment from the actions becomes the meaning.
When we verily decide to expand one of those ‘meaningful’ pursuits, our life gains momentum towards that purpose. But at the end of the day, it is in our hands to act and move forward. Does the meaning we assign have to be a grand one? No.
The other day I stumbled on this article on BBC news and I guess now is the moment to share it. It’s the story of Kay from Shropshire. The UK’s oldest postmistress who has now retired. She managed to make a huge impact in the lives of so many people in her little village.
She found her meaning by making the most of her circumstances. Her attitude and achievement are truly an example for a better life.
Kay White said her secret for a long career was “liking people and helping one another”.
I’ll let you read it for yourself here.
So, it doesn’t have to be grand and impact the whole world. However I found that the best and most meaningful lives are those whereby we help and serve others. It gives a great deal of fulfilment, out of the ‘me’, ‘me’, ‘me’ world. The meaning or purpose of our lives can be anything at all, except it’s rarely assigned. Even if it is, it’s quite like a video game. We must unlock it with our actions, one step at a time towards making other people’s lives better. But ultimately, a life of meaning is one of fun, laughter and lots and lots of love, spread out to others as much as we can.
The meaning of life is ultimately spreading love in one way or another.
But now that you played my little game with me and read my post. Most importantly, if you want true wisdom on finding the purpose in life, please go and hear/read about it from the source Himself, here and here . You’ll also see what it all means!;)
So, let’s go ahead and assign a meaning to our life!
If you know what I mean!