Philosophers and poets have been contemplating human existence for millennia, projecting and pontificating on the edge of the great mysteries of life… asking questions about the meaning of life… Why are we here? What does it all mean? Does it even matter?
The Fullness Of Life
“The only thing you ever have is now.” -Eckhart Tolle
We spend so much time distracted… pulled away from what really matters by dragging along the hangups of the past and worrying about the uncertainty of the future. It is easy to misplace the awareness that the only time we are truly alive is NOW, the present moment. The need to find purpose and live to our full potential is strong in each of us, as strong as the need for connection with something greater than ourselves. These needs compel us to search for meaning…
This search begins within the heart of each individual able to embrace the fullness of life at the crossroads of experience, mystery, and the present moment. By deepening into knowing ourselves do we have a better understanding of our place in the universe and how to live a meaningful life. The constant work of realigning with our highest ideals is what allows us to manifest the things in life that give it meaning… the ability to have meaningful relationships, to realize dreams, and leverage the wisdom we gain along the way.
“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” -Joseph Campbell
Expanding on Campbell’s quote, Aurora Clawson says it well, “It is in the comprehending of increasing depth of life’s meaning that we are electrified with the resplendent rush of being alive. The more we understand of ourselves and life we activate, the less bound our minds and hearts are by illusory imprisonment born of ego. The more we assimilate the depth of our truth, the more empowered we are to know joy, love, freedom, and our immortal essence. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Finding meaning in life IS the experience of being alive. Thousands of people quote thousands of things. Only when we become our own oracle by hearing universal intelligence within our own beings, do we begin to understand what it means to be alive.”
By making choices based in love rather than fear and choosing to be present to our relationships, emotions, our dreams and actions, the ‘meaning of life’ reveals itself when we connect more deeply to the experience of being alive.
The Lows Are The Highs
As humans, we tend to have a natural aversion to discomfort, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional. Certainly, there is much to be gained from the ‘peak’ experiences of an adventuresome life filled with love and connection, but ever so often the ‘experience of being alive’ imposes on us what we would never choose, presenting challenges that cause hardship, pain and uncertainty. How we view and respond to the inevitable discomforts of life is a key element to living fully…it’s easy to find oneself in the present moment on the mountaintop, but can we see clearly enough to place equal value on the present moments that include any of the myriad of discomforts we may face? It begins with replacing the fear of discomfort with an openness for the experience and an allowance for grace.
Yes, it’s much easier to say than do, but those who are able will often discover these experiences to be the precise moments that lead one to look more deeply, to learn, grow, and ultimately transcend the discomfort into a deeper experience of being alive. We are conditioned to avoid the anguish and intensity discomfort can bring, but are we missing an opportunity? Being present to the ‘lows’ and seeing them as opportunities to willingly feel the brunt of the fullness of life, we allow ourselves the chance to seek support, to find deeper connection, to practice compassion, to ask the big questions, to surrender to the circumstance, to feel the loss… and finally, to look back at what has been overcome all the wiser.
Many times these ‘lows’ bring us together, particularly around death or suffering. So often in these circumstances we get to see each other at our best, we get to BE our best selves in all our gloriously vulnerable humanness. In the midst of the ‘lows’ we define our character, we get to choose our response by recognizing that ‘what happened’ is not the end of the story… life is short, but it goes on.
Seize The Day
“Make your lives extraordinary.”-Mr. Keating
The clip above from the film ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ is an all-time favorite… Mr. Keating dispenses the wisdom of the ages, instilling in his young students the importance of the present moment, giving them the keys to the meaning of life with the encouragement to ‘seize the day’. Carpe Diem!
Support this idea and help spread the message! Get your ‘The Meaning Of Life Is To Live It’ bumper sticker here.