Sometimes I have so many thoughts swirling through my head, I can’t sort them into anything coherent.
I want to have all the answers – and I end up having more questions than ever.
I am currently reading Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” He posits that the driving force of a person’s life is the search for meaning. Philosophers and psychologists have proposed that the purpose of life to be pleasure, eros – many things. Frankl says it is meaning. I suspect he’s either right or very close to being right.
He also seems to agree with my view that love is the most powerful force in the universe.
But, getting back to meaning – if it’s true that meaning is what makes us strive and move forward, then I can see why there is so much despair in this world – and anger and hate and a myriad of feelings that reflect anything but love. Millions of people live for “Bread and Circuses.” At least, that’s how the ancient Romans distracted the masses and kept them from searching for meaning in their lives. I suspect that when a person either finds meaning or chooses to go in search of it, that person can no longer be easily controlled.
Today, we are distracted by television: reality shows that are, like so many things these days, the exact opposite of what they purport to be. We are told what to think while our “leaders” are bought and paid for.
But what does all this mean for those of us who live our lives as meaningfully as possible?
I believe that meaning is about connection. Connection is about love. As humans we want and desire connection with others – our families, our lovers, our friends – but I also think we MUST have connection with the other living beings on the planet in order to be whole. We are part of this earth – not apart from it. We find deeper meaning in life when we realize that we are connected to the trees, the creatures, the growing things and with the very mantle of the earth itself. This is a living breathing mother. We are not above her – we are part of her. We are, in fact, her children.
We are made of stardust.
How is it that we don’t think of this every day and fall down in awe and wonder?
Meaning: in the big picture, I believe we are meant to leave this world a better place for all life. But I also believe that we need meaning in our lives every day. If we focussed only on big pictures, we would be overwhelmed. It’s the small things, after all, that end up making a life. Have we been kind to a stranger today? Have we helped someone? Have we said a kind word? Smiled? Have we been honest when we could have gotten away with a lie?
Do we understand the very meaning of integrity and are we living a life filled with it?
Integrity – being true to yourself, your beliefs, your purpose, your meaning – being true to love. In the world we have created, this can be an enormous challenge. As long as I was working for a paycheck, I was violating my own integrity. It may not have been in a big way – but I was. Every time I wrote a story that glossed over the negative, I was not living in integrity. Every time I made an excuse, I was not living in integrity.
One of our biggest challenges is living in this world and keeping our integrity intact. We have to earn money and save that money; we have to feed and clothe ourselves. There are fewer jobs and more people competing for them. Those with no ethics, who hire people, can certainly beat those people down. It is a courageous person who continues to walk his or her own path.
I no longer have to answer to anyone. But I also want to have experiences that lift my soul and allow it to fly. I know that Simon feels the same way. His soul food is writing and music. Mine is writing and hiking in the alpine. We are on a trajectory to achieving that – probably more quickly than a lot of people.
But still, there is something inside me, nagging at me, telling me that I must do more. What is that more? I don’t know – not yet. I still have more questions than answers.