Excellence Reporter: Dr. Ivtzan, what is the meaning of life?
Itai Ivtzan: Meaning in life is one of the greatest gifts we could offer ourselves. Research in positive psychology is showing that people experiencing high levels of personal meaning are happier and more grateful, passionate and hopeful. It is important to remember that here we are not talking about the “meaning of life”. Rather, we are discussing the “personal meaning of your life” – which means that we moved from an objective impersonal question to a subjective and highly intimate one.
When I imagine meaning, it is not something heavy and stable, like a rock. Instead, I imagine a flowing river. Your personal meaning constantly moves, shape-shifts, and transforms according to the changes of your own self. Life is a change; and as you change, so does your meaning. And here is where mindfulness becomes a precious companion to meaning: if you practise mindfulness in your everyday life, you would develop self-awareness. You would become aware of what is right for you. You would intuitively find what moves within you and align your choices accordingly. This is an incredible gift because it means that your personal meaning remains fresh, relevant, authentic and firmly rooted in the present experiences of your life.
~Dr. Itai Ivtzan is a positive psychologist, a senior lecturer, and the program leader of MAPP (Masters in Applied Positive Psychology) at the University of East London. He is also an honorary senior research associate at University College London.
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