What is the meaning of life?
Many people commenting on this will use the metaphor of a journey. Certainly this is where I started my journey of attempting to answer this question.
For me a life journey is where a series of events is connected but only by the experiences of one person. Sometimes that journey is with a stated purpose or direction. More often a survival from one experience to another. The meaning we get at the time of each event or experience will cause us to dwell in one place, or force our thinking away to different things. Life is not a “satnav” but a series of way points.
The direction and decisions we make on this journey are guided by our relationships with our self and those around us. Sometimes we make decisions because of others and their journeys, sometimes in spite of them.
I know that my own reflections on ‘the meaning of life’ change after significant events in my life. Loss of a baby, loss of a sibling, loss of both parents (in that order…). What is interesting is the losses and the events are of those with which we have an emotional and social connection. Thinks like loss of jobs or no money just don’t feature.
As a species we are human beings, some may argue not human doings. When we are busy doing things, we are often focused or absorbed in the task. In the here and now. When we are not active (mentally or physically or spirituality) we have head space. It is in that space that we take time out to ask ourselves why am I here. What is my purpose. I sometimes wonder if this is really helpful to each of us in this large machine we call community or civilization. If we are not doing something for ourselves, or our community, then we need to ‘be there’ for another person. The act of wasting time on ourselves is a loss of connectives with those around us.
Where we focus on constantly doing things to please others, where those activities are not valued, I often question why I bother. What was the point? When being there for others that feeling rarely occurs.
Ultimately does there have to be a why (meaning)? I prefer an approach which is more ‘why not’ (just because)!
Footnote, by being asked this question I fear that I have not answered it, but it has generated more questions….
~Mike Morrison, author and consultant specialising in transformational change, organization and leadership development
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