Nicolae Tanase: Howard, what is the meaning of life?
Howard Martin: I believe the meaning of life is to express love. That is a rather broad statement. Let me explain what I mean.
Love is a little word that covers a lot of territory. It can be seen as something to avoid by some, the unifying force behind all of creation by others and a lot in between. In essence it is hard to define. We experience it as a strong feeling that most often cannot be captured in words. For example, the love we have when we are in the early stages of romance has an amazing, up-lifting, regenerative quality that is hard to describe or explain. The deep love we can have for our children and family has a connection and a power that evokes the highest levels of care and self-sacrifice for the well-being of others. That kind of love is not easily described either. The love of life and our desire to preserve it even when it can seem miserable cannot be fully explained by words alone. Even though love cannot be full defined it is the one thing we all want.
Pondering the meaning of life always leads me to wanting to better understand the reality of love. My exploration has led to one thing I believe.
I believe the purpose of life, what gives life meaning, is to love.
I know that statement could seem lofty, idealistic and out of touch. We live in a world that is often hard, cold, unforgiving and full of misery and pain.
Painful personal, societal and global issues are certainly real but somehow, some way, despite all of the hardships, humanity has expressed such beauty and intelligence. I believe it is through the power of love that this occurs. For the people who have very little or ones that have significant issues and challenges, it is the love they feel, however fleeting that gets them through. The love they feel from their families, the acts of kindness they experience from time to time, the feeling they have when nature displays its intricate beauty is what makes life worth living. The wonder of life, the love people have for life somehow provides the impetus to keep growing and trying. Love, in all it’s forms, is what gives life it’s deeper meaning.
Most importantly I believe this. When my life here comes to an end and I transition from this version of reality to another, the measure of how I lived, what I accomplished, what I left behind and what it has meant will be based simply on how much I loved. That is what will really matter. That is my meaning, my purpose.
~Howard Martin, author, speaker, trainer, musician and Executive Vice President at HeartMath.
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