Arjuna Ardagh: The Meaning of Life and the One Ticket


What is the meaning of life?

Sometimes you can go to a store and buy some kind of beautiful, amazing, technology gadget, and it says on the package, “battery is not included’. And if you pay attention to that you realize that in order for your gizmo to really give you all the joy that it could possibly offer, you need to buy the gizmo, and you need to separately buy the batteries and then put the two together. Combination of gizmo plus batteries will lead to hours and hours of technology fun. Well, actually the answer to the question ‘what is the meaning of life?’ is to be found in a little sticker on a package which says: meaning not included.

I think meaning is actually what we add to life, it’s not something intrinsic within life. When you go to a Disney Land in Southern California, the way that works — I know this because I’ve been there many times with my children when they were growing up — is you buy a ticket that gets into the whole park, and then you are through the gates, and you are in the magic world of Micky Mouse and Snow White and so on. And there are literally hundreds of rides. There are rides that go up-up-up-up-up-up, and then down-down-down-down-down-down very very very fast. There are rides when you get wet. There are rides that go very slowly where you are in a little tinkle winkle land of little fairies. There are rides that are very scary. You can sit on a steam boat for a couple of hours and go around an artificial lake, which it hardly moves at all. The beauty is you pay one ticket and you can go on any ride you want.

And I often try to remind people that really, really that is how life is. There is no rules, you know. And the fact that there are no rules is demonstrated by the vast ray of possibilities that people enjoy and call it living a human life. You can make life into anything you want it to be and it will have meaning.

Some people find their meaning in helping people who are destitute. Some people find meaning through making a lot of money. Some people find meaning through being incredibly beautiful and evoking sex and attracting others. Some people create meaning through deep silence and meditation. Some people create meaning through feeling the oneness of all things. Some people create meaning through competition, through feeling the separation between two things. You can find and create meaning in almost in anyway you choose. You could find meaning through overcoming depression. You could find meaning through improving yourself. You could find meaning though relaxing and loving yourself. There are no rules. One ticket — an infinite variety of rides.

So there is one little caveat we can add to this, which is you can enjoy this life immensely by honoring your own innate sense of meaning and honoring the sense of meaning that others have discovered for themselves.

Things get a little less comfortable when you decide that your sense of meaning is universal. If you decide that the meaning of your life is to pursue perfect enlightenment on a mountain top, and then make others wrong for pursuing money, that’s when life gets a little more sticky. If you’ve decided that the meaning of life on the other hand is to pursue money and make others wrong for sitting in meditation as a monk then also things get more sticky both for you and for the one you are judging. So the meaning of life it is whatever it is for you… with the important caveat, that it is for you. And that each person’s conclusion about that and exploration of that will be deliciously unique.


~Arjuna Ardagh is an Awakening Coach, author, writer and public speaker, founder of the Awakening Coaching Training in Nevada City, California, a training program dedicated to “the awakening of consciousness within the context of ordinary life”.

Copyright © 2015 Excellence Reporter

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