“What is the meaning of life?” is one of those large questions whose importance is obvious yet which seems to dissolve once we try to provide an explicit answer to it.
My own experiences of gaining some kind of glimmer of an answer have always been of the “Of course!” variety, when the glaring self-evidence of life’s meaning has hit me with palpable force. It is clear it is something I know instinctively but which I too often lose sight of, and which returns in moments of relief following a crisis, or in deep relaxation when the assortment of everyday worries that usually keeps me occupied relents and I can view my existence with some detachment. It comes in passages of music, in phrases of poetry, in incidental, useless, trivial things — a leaf, a stone — that somehow suggest an elusive “something else” hovering on the periphery of my consciousness.
Any attempt to answer the question of life’s meaning must begin with the recognition of its mystery and I would l say that my own answer to the question is the pursuit of that mystery, the determined and renewed attempt to understand my own existence, to actualize the possibilities that are latent within me and to push against the boundaries of my being into territories of reality that for the most part we ignore. It comes with a sense of seeing life as a risk, as an attempt, as a dangerous gamble on bringing the new and “not yet” into being, and with the unmistakable recognition that life itself needs us to ask these questions, and to confront these mysteries, not with the hope of arriving at some final, calculable answer, but with the assurance that the mystery and questions are of the essence of life itself.
~Gary Lachman, author of more than a dozen books on the meeting ground between consciousness, culture, and the western inner tradition
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