“Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” Joseph Campbell
If you ask, many people will give you an explanation as to the purpose of life. Intellects will contend that they truly know the purpose of life. A political group will state their purpose, a religious group yet another opinion, and so on. When we are confused, upset, we often ask the question, “What is the meaning of life?” because the hope is, we will discover an answer. But how can we possibly find a true answer when we are confused? Think about it. If we are confused, we can only receive an answer that is also confused. If the mind is confused, disturbed, whatever answer we receive will be through this screen of confusion, anxiety, and fear; and therefore, the answer will be distorted. So, it is more important not to ask, “What is the purpose of life, existence?” but ratherto clear the confusion that lies within us.
Does life have a purpose? Is not living in itself the only purpose? Why do we want more? Is it because we are so dissatisfied; our life is empty, repetitive, and lacks meaning? The mind is never satisfied. We want more, something beyond that which we label as boring, monotonous. When the purpose of life is pursued by a dull mind, by an empty heart, the outcome will also be hollow, inconsequential. An individual who is living richly, sees things as they are, and is happy with what they have. They are not caught up in the commercialism of today’s world.
Life is relationship, making connections, life is action within a relationship. When we do not understand relationship, or when a relationship is not working, we become frustrated, upset. We seek answers, ask others; search for a fuller meaning. Why are we so confused? Why is life so difficult? Why are we lonely, frustrated? Because we have never looked into ourselves and understood ourselves. We never admit to ourselves that this life is all we know, and that it should therefore be understood fully and completely. We prefer to run away from ourselves and that is why we seek the purpose of life separate from relationship. If we begin to understand action, which is our relationship with people, with property, with beliefs and ideas, with all our life issues, then we will find that relationship itself brings its own reward.
You do not have to search for the meaning of life. It is like seeking love. Do you find love by seeking it? You will find love only in relationship, not outside relationship, and it is because we have no grasp of love that we seek a life purpose. And what stands in the way of finding love? Our life is so occupied, so filled with material objects, our minds full of inconsequential things, that our lives are empty and leaving us to seek a purpose beyond ourselves. To find life’s purpose we must go through the door of the self; consciously or unconsciously we avoid facing things as they are, and therefore seek God or some higher purpose to open for us a door which is beyond.
If we lived forever, life could be so different. But the fact is we are not given an abundance of time to live. We begin to take life seriously when we take death seriously. Otherwise, as Thoreau mentioned, we run the risk of discovering, when we come to die, that we have never lived. We spend a lifetime accumulating things, and only to realize towards the end of life their unimportance. Each and every moment is precious. There is so little time: not a day to waste on quarreling with those we love, upsetting our dearest friends, creating barriers between people based on our opinions and biases. Fulfilling the purpose of life should be our overriding priority; a genuine relationship with one another which brings joy, hope, love, and meaning to all those around us.