Nicolae Tanase: Jessica, what is the meaning of life?
Jessica Graham: I believe as these impermanent human creatures, on this impermanent blue and green speck that is spinning in the midst of vast and endless mystery, the meaning of this whole life thing is to connect. Connect with each other, connect with ourselves, connect with nature, connect with life. But, in general not many people are truly connecting with anything. The reason being that we believe that we are a separate, solid thing called Me.
So, we try to connect, because it’s what is deeply wanted, but we can’t quite seem to do it. Our past gets in the way. Our insecurities get in the way. Our opinions and beliefs get in the way. Our fears and anxieties about the future get in the way. Our sense of self-loathing and unworthiness gets in the way. The gunked up filter of a seemingly solid and separate Me gets in the way.
What an authentic spiritual practice will show you is, that in fact, there is nothing separate or solid about you, or anything else for that matter. All of this, all of everything, is one and the same. There is no separation or solidity to be found. Your mind attempts to create separation all the time, but when the true unity, the unmistakable and profound connection is seen, the mind can never totally convince you that you are a “Me” again.
When you wake up to what you really are, connection is as easy as breathing. It happens without even trying, all on its own. This is because life is connection. You were never disconnected to begin with, that was just a story you believed. Life moves of its own accord and you, you glorious human creature, are that movement. Connected, whole, alive.
But don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself if what I say is true. A meditation practice will start to point you in the right direction, but at the end of the day you’ll have to give up the “Me Who Meditates” too. Anything created in the mind and based on self-will (whatever that is!) will ultimately keep the illusion of disconnection going.
The spiritual path is fluid and full of many twists and turns. There are so many ways to practice, find what feels right for you, and if it no longer feels right find something else. Over time it won’t be practice anymore. You’ll let go of the rigidity and effort, and live the spiritual path, even when you’re not meditating or practicing asanas. And by the way, in my opinion there is no end to the spiritual path. There is always another thread, no matter how subtle, to follow. Always another Me, no matter how small, to surrender.
This doesn’t all need point to becoming a monk, or having a luke-warm personality. I’m also sex teacher and an actress after all! I have found that as the belief in a solid and separate self falls away, I laugh harder, love stronger, and live louder. And I connect with everything and everyone more deeply. I’m not special, I just put in the effort and then realized that the effort was continuing the dream of separation and stopped putting the effort in. And then sometimes effort comes back. It’s a never-ending adventure this being human thing. If I can wake up, so can you. The meaning of life is to wake up to what is already yours. Awakening to connection is your birthright. I see you and I love you.
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Photo credit: Shayan Asgharnia