John Astin: Beyond the Reach of Our Knowing

johnExcellence Reporter: John, what is the meaning of life?

John Astin: Experience is simply too vast, too complex and too multidimensional to be collapsed into any interpretive framework or model. And so whenever I am asked this question, “What is the meaning of life?” I find myself coming up empty-handed for to say anything about the nature of reality and what it might mean would be to try to pin down and define something that is ultimately indescribable and indefinable. However, while I cannot with any real conviction claim to know what the meaning or purpose of life might be, I can say this…

If we simply feel into the actuality of what is being experienced in any moment, beyond the conventional descriptions and definitions we bring to things, what we find is this inconceivably intricate dance of color, light, sound, texture, energy, and consciousness, wildly unpredictable and ungraspable, a ceaseless flow of sparkling, flickering, shape-shifting sensations, feelings, thoughts, perceptions and memories.

Peering around the edges of our seeming certainty about who we are and what the world is, we discover each instant to be the miraculous and unthinkably profound apparition that it is, the shining forth of a boundless, fathomless mystery, intrinsically meaningful even if its ultimate meaning lies forever beyond the reach of our knowing.


~John Astin, PhD is a singer, songwriter and recording artist having produced 7 CDs of original contemplative music that are distributed worldwide. He is also the author of several books including Searching for Rain in a Monsoon and the forthcoming, It’s Not What You Think It is: Reflections on the Inconceivable Nature of Reality. Along with his writing and music, John holds a doctorate in health psychology from UC Irvine and completed postdoctoral training in mind-body medicine at Stanford University. He holds academic appointments at several institutions including Santa Clara University and conducts research on and has published extensively in the areas of meditation and acceptance-based methods to reduce stress and foster human flourishing.

Copyright © 2016 Excellence Reporter

Categories: Music, Psychology

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