Excellence Reporter: Diana, what is the meaning of life?
Diana Raab: The meaning of life is a question most human beings ponder. I believe that the meaning of life is love—loving yourself and loving others. When love is your higher power, it means that you are giving of yourself; and that you love deeply and compassionately without fear, regret, or resentment. The Hawaiians have it right with their word aloha, which means “affection, peace, and compassion,” all bathed in love. If we let love and compassion guide our lives, happiness and meaning will soon follow.
When love is your higher power, you have more of a tendency to listen to your heart, which is usually tuned into your intuition. When you are tapped into your intuition, the universe will more than likely support your endeavors. This can feel as if you have a sense of flow in your life. When making decisions, it’s a good idea to listen to the decisions your heart makes because this can lead to an overall sense of well-being, happiness, and bliss.
Life encompasses love and connections, but I believe that the meaning of life is also about personal growth. One way to attain the highest level of growth is by sharing our stories. Stories are essential to survival. We give meaning to life through the art of storytelling from person to person and from one generation to another. Stories can be shared through writing, speaking, art, music, cinema, and dance. It also fosters a sense of interconnectedness, which also engenders love and compassion for oneself and others. When considering the meaning of life, it’s also essential to think about how we want to be remembered by future generations. In other words, the meaning of life is figuring out we you are here and what we have to offer the universe.
The meaning of life evolves as we age. When we’re younger, we learn about priorities from our parents. As we become more independent and have unique experiences of our own, we figure out for ourselves what is important. We begin to change our thoughts and emotions about life. What is meaningful to us depends upon our personal circumstances.
Life is complex, but as we age, we tend to become less complicated. When we’re nearing death, it seems as if everything superficial falls away, and the meaning of life becomes clear. This is because we have a chance to look back, examine, and reflect on our personal and global accomplishments. What rises to the surface are those things that have given our lives the most meaning.
The inquiry into the meaning of life is not finite—it is a lifelong practice that continues right up until our last moments on the planet.
~Diana Raab, MFA, PhD, is the author of Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life, (September 2017). She is an award-winning writer, speaker, and educator who advocates the transformative powers of writing. Diana blogs for Psychology Today, PsychAlive, Thrive Global, and Elephant Journal, and holds writing workshops around the country.
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