I’ve been thinking about the meaning of life and the impermanent nature of it all. Observing how we do what we do, the struggles we put ourselves through, the drama, the pain and the suffering.
When I look around, I see struggling—in my own life and in the lives of others. It seems like, even though there’s an abundance of goodness in our lives, the prevalent theme seems to be this struggle to find balance, peace and happiness.
I race and I chase, all so that I can make more money, have more
success, be more attractive, and hopefully be happier in some distant future when I’ve hit some superficial and randomly selected target. But will that day ever arrive? You and I both know how this game goes: the wanting for more never ends; and happiness will always (unless we intervene) appear to be just a reach away, in “some day” land, when we’ve finished this project or have reached that goal. We stride through life as if we will live forever. We treat time as a cheap commodity that we blindly waste. We become consumed by negativity. We hide behind victim stories. We get stuck in jobs and relationships that we dislike.
We surround ourselves with anxiety, stress and depression. Failing to recognize that these “dis-eases” and uncomfortable emotions are our soul’s way of saying, “Wake up! It’s time for a change, baby. This isn’t working.”
We give up our dreams, our art, our purpose, and trade our lives in exchange for money so that we can make a living. While making money to sustain our needs is inevitable, in the making of a living we sometimes forget our unique gifts, we temporarily lose touch with the enormity of our inner being, and we distance ourselves from the confidence of our unique expressions.
It’s all so exhausting.
And before we know it, the sands of our hourglass run out, and we face the end of our brief existence on this planet—unfulfilled and
regretful for all that we’ve missed.
I know this may sound harsh, and it is. Viewing how we live in its blunt, naked candor can feel rough around the edges. Truth stings. At the same time, we can use this emotionally charged observation to our advantage—to inspire us and to move us such that we begin to live. It’s time to restructure our lives, how we live, how we prioritize, and how we contribute.
Perhaps, the only thing that matters is love, and all the chasing we do is just misdirected energy.
Perhaps, all the stress is unnecessary, and we are making life a lot more complicated than it needs to be.
There’s an easier route to happiness—by focusing on doing good work, contributing value to society, sharing joyful experiences with people we like, and remembering to slow down
to savor the moments.
So what is the meaning of life?
I don’t think any single answer can be ubiquitously shared and be applicable for everyone. So I’ll answer for myself, from my current state of understanding. Life is whatever meaning we give it—and we can literally give it any meaning that “feels right” to us. There’s a blank canvas in front of you. You are the artist of your life, and you are free to paint any picture that pleases you—and change it at any time for that matter.
Life is short.
Life is precious.
What are you dreaming about?
Go do it. Go make it happen. Go do it despite fear and doubt
and the opinions of others. Go do it, because it makes you happy. Go do it, because it makes you come alive.
Who are you holding a grudge against? Forgive them, today, right now. Decide that you will heal, and decide to tell a different story.
Where do you want to visit? Plan for it, even if you don’t yet have the money. Keep moving in that direction, and I promise you that you will find a way.
Who do you love? Give them your full attention. Create the time and space to connect with them. Put love at the top of your list.
In the end, love is all that matters. Love for ourselves, for other people, for our work, for all the unique experiences of life and for God. Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated. Let’s make it simple again.