The Meaning of Life

“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.

Violence & Hatred

Why do we harbour so much anger that it eventually manifests into violence and hatred? How can we commit such violent acts on our fellow humans, and other living creatures?  Why do we misuse power and invoke trepidation and fear in others? Is it the make-up of our human psyche? Or, is it restricted to only the few monsters that we read about?

Are we conscious of violence and if so is it a behaviour that we observe only in others and not in ourselves? And if it lies within ourselves can we do something about it? In the process of thinking, writing, talking about violence or any other abnormal trait, are we not speculating that we can do something about it? Further, is there a deeper intelligence worth investigating that allows us to be aware of all our (mis)behaviours? These are important questions and not to be treated lightly. Unfortunately most of us won’t take the time, nor are many concerned enough to investigate further, to seek answers.

How shall we investigate this phenomenon, violence? We could investigate the causes of violence, but volumes have been written on the subject and little can be added to what has been said before. Would it not be better to discover its’ fundamental issue, its’ root cause; with the hope that we could be free from any movement of violence, and come to a complete understanding of why it is so prevalent in the world? Is not this what we want, an understanding of the self and our relationship with all others.

Violence is such a deep-rooted problem and we must be careful not to fall into a mind field. We will narrow our investigation to the root of the problem—much like a doctor, we need to make a correct assessment and a useful diagnosis. How do we do this? Through watching our anger, our hurts, and the violence within. Try this little experiment, when you sense a hurt, or anger just watch your reactions to the feeling. Do not take action with it, just quietly, patiently observe. What happens? Is it possible to be aware without any pre-judgement, objective, or purpose? What is the result of silently being aware? Actually nothing happens, other than to follow the movement of the particular feeling, like a non-involved bystander. Find this out for yourself; don’t take my word for it. To assess any (mis)behaviour we must go deep right to the root of the problem.

So exactly where is the root of all problems? Is it not lodged in the mind within its’ contents? It can’t possibly be anywhere else—unless you are psychotic. And what happens when we simply observe the movement of the mind? We notice that the mind chatters to itself; that the mind is the fuel that ignites the fire and emblazes us with fury. The impulse of the mind takes action, sometimes it may become violent. This happens, one time or another, to most of us. We find we are out of control. After the fact we may respond by saying, “I will not become upset, angry, or violent.” But how can the mind, in responding, stop, eliminate itself? It can’t destroy the structure that created it. Try as you may you will never succeed. What is important is to recognize that our behaviour is a movement, a living active thing, it’s transitional. One day it wants peace, the next day a revolution.

Does the mind realize it is the root of all evil?  “Is it possible to live without the mind as we know it?” The process of observing is different from the process of moving in a direction towards something.

 

Violence: The Solution

The mind (talking to itself) says, “I understand that the mind is the root of violence, I see this in North Korea with people like Kim Jon-Un.” The mind blames another and does not see that the responsibility lies with the self. Our mind is afraid, fears what it does not know so takes no action. Why should it change, the mind is not aware of the harm it is doing within.  All appears well on the surface, but quite the opposite if we were to listen to the constant chatter of our mind. If only the mind could disassociate from any pre-judgement, even for a brief moment, a radical positive transformation would begin. If this is not clear, consider how the mind works unconsciously–It continually makes judgments: “I don’t like the perfume that person is wearing.” The moment a judgement is made in time, the landscape changes. We become difficult, argumentative, even violent.

How do you view life experiences? By being judgmental, with a purpose in mind, in terms of time? Do you now “see” this leads to violence through unconscious thoughts which affects: How you feel, the way you live, the way you react? If you simply observe, reside in the present moment, with a non-mind you will see things so much differently; you will free yourself from the tyranny of your own mind.

The “Why” Question

“He that nothing questions, nothing learns.”

 

So the question we need to ask is, “Why was the universe created?” It is a question asked by many and one that is usually avoided at all costs. But it is an important question that evokes other questions: Who are we and why are we here at this time? Is there a purpose to life? And how can we go beyond most life problems?

Based on our earlier discussions, we realize that energy is never created nor destroyed, and therefore, we have always been present in time. At the beginning of time we were part of the unitary force behind creation, in a formless energy dimension. Then with the single explosive impulse of the Big Bang, we became a small piece in the enormous expansion. But what was the force behind the impulse, call it what you want, but let us name it, the creator. There had to be some intention, a purpose for evolution, where the formless became form and the one became many.

Let us envision what it must have been like just prior to this event. Imagine that everything was in a joyful, peaceful state. Not dissimilar to meditation where no desire, no time existed. As the creator surmises everything, there is nothing but stillness, infinity. Perfectly happy with the present state, the creator envisions the possibility of creation, a heavenly host of many. Is this possible? Why should the creator do such a thing? And most importantly, is all this conjecture? It is not speculation, it must have happened because we are here asking this very question right now—so it must have happened 13.7 billion years ago. And we are the only specie that knows, since we have the ability to contemplate, be self-reflective, and experience conscious awareness. We are not only a part of the creation, through this conscious awareness, we were the purpose and are the reason for everything in this universe.

But why and what you ask “Does this have to do with me?” If you agree with the premise and there is no reason to disbelieve it, then you have an enormous moral responsibility. The creator can only experience a life form through you. When you see a beautiful sunset, you are struck with the beauty, your being is aware, and you respond with emotion. You are one piece of the many, the sum of which is the One. If you are negative, the creator feels that sentiment; but if you are joyful, the creator celebrates in your thoughts and feelings. Surely, this is the purpose of human evolution.