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And The Meaning Of Life Is...? - Articles Surfing
I find myself continuing to be drawn back into thoughts about the meaning of life.
Now this is not an article trying to presuppose the meaning of existence of humanity.
Rather this is an article about one man trying to sort out the thoughts that are recently running through his brain regarding what one's purpose here on Earth is. That is, while we are given our own allotment of time on this physical plane.
Perhaps it's my own version of a mid-life crisis where my mind is perhaps maturing enough to be able to actually ask these types of questions without spontaneously imploding on itself in an extended bout of black depression.
Nevertheless, I'm still stuck when it comes to even trying to answer a question, or conundrum, like this.
Basically, I think it will all boil down to that I don't know the answer to this question because the part of me that is asking the question is also the part of me that is trying to answer it. And if I knew the answer then I wouldn't be asking the question right now. I hope that makes sense.
But, even still, I find recently that to determine what one's purpose in life is is a rather befuddling pursuit.
For me, I walk to work in the mornings along a sunny Arizona sidewalk and I find myself thinking that I'm just starting off into another day of the same-ol' same-ol'.
And out of this thought arises the question 'But really what should one be doing with their days?'
What would be the ultimate thing or activities that I could do with my time here today that would make this day, each day, worthwhile?
And of course this spawns off into other questions such as 'worthwhile to whom?' and 'what kind of activities?' and other stuff like that.
Let me imagine that I have all the money I need and I no longer have to pursue the elusive goal that everyone else now pursues. Financial freedom. The light at the end of the tunnel.
But just for the sake of this example let's state that I don't have to worry about survival anymore. I have enough money to satisfy whatever craving I have or need for my family.
What would I do with my day?
Would it be to form a multi-billion dollar company that feeds the needy and takes care of every homeless child in the world?
Would it be to work in a daycare and work with toddlers stuck in abusive households?
Would it be to clean the bathrooms at the local superstore or gigantic warehouse store?
What would give my life meaning right now?
You see, that's a tough question to answer.
But, let me step back a bit and slow down.
And let's start at the beginning.
When we're all very young human beings we have no choice what happens to us as we exist. Whatever happens to us in our parents' household is their doing, not ours. Pretty much all we do is spend our days fluctuating between going to school and not going to school.
When we get older and graduate from school we go out into the big, wide world and look to get ourselves that ubiquitous j.o.b. That's what we do with our days.
Over the years perhaps we decide to throw into the mix a spouse, some expensive possessions, and some fancy vacations to exotic paradises.
And then we may even decide to get our own house filled up some more with our own personal priceless treasures. Kids, to be exact.
But what are we doing on a daily basis at this physical age in our lives?
What are we doing? We're 'earning a living'.
But beyond that, as we trudge off to work each day, or stay home with the kids, what are we doing each and every day that's of consequence in the scheme of things?
What is it that makes each day meaningful? Is it raising the kids until they too become adults and repeat the process all over?
Is it to become successful at that j.o.b. we work at or with that business we own? Or is it to make ourselves as happy as we can by watching all our favorite television shows and movies and eating out at nice restaurants and chatting with our best friends. And only doing the things we like to do and take the vacations to places that only we want to go to.
But then there comes 'old age'. What then? Hopefully we've saved up enough money to be financially set so that we don't have to worry about 'earning a living' anymore.
We can sit back. Relax. Maybe go fishing or on other vacations to remote paradises. Or play lawn bowling down at the local community center or play chess in the park. Whatever.
But still, what have we done with our day besides make it 'busy'? What are we doing with our days as we sit there in our recliner flicking away with the remote controls for the plasma television and surround sound home theater system?
What are we doing that's of consequence?
If we were to die the very next day, what have we done with our existence since we were little babies? As I documented above, perhaps we did the odd thing that helped other people. Or we served in an organization that helped the needy. Or perhaps we were just darn good parents and raised 'two wonderful children'. Or perhaps we did the right things and now are grandparents too.
But really, as we're about to die what is it that we could say we did with our life? With our existence?
Can you see that for the most part, without over-generalizing, we pretty much just 'did' things all along the years from birth to death.
Is that what we're meant to do?
Is that all there is?
Or somewhere in that mix, somewhere along the way, the path to the grave, we may be so lucky to have our days of existence sprinkled with wondrous events that change us inside and elevate our spirits. Be they sights, sounds, memories, happenings, or spiritual teachings.
But, nevertheless, what I've described is how generation after generation after generation of human beings go through their time on this planet as part of the human race.
And what does each generation have to show for their time here?
Advances in technology?
More wondrous scientific discoveries?
New breakthroughs in medicine?
Another global war where millions die?
Another spiritual world leader?
In all seriousness, what do we leave as a legacy for those who follow us along the time-path of human existence?
And what do we do, as individuals, that adds to that human existence path?
And to return to where I started all this questioning'for me, what am I doing that is giving meaning to my existence on this plane and along this physical time-line?
That is the question that needs to be answered and thought about.
And beyond the teachings I've read about from some of the spiritual masters - all I've culled is that one's sole purpose in existence is to become a perfect human being. That's it. That's all.
But I'm not trying to minimize this statement because becoming 'perfect' is a very tall order for most of us. Lifelong, usually.
But, really, think about it. Think of any of the 'great' people who've existed before us.
Buddha. Lao-Tse. Mozart. Tolstoy. Einstein.
What are they known for? What did they do with their lives?
What did they leave us? Great spiritual teachings? Music? Science?
In the scheme of things these brilliant people were only able to leave as their legacy what they 'did' or 'discovered' for the rest of us to learn from.
That's it. Not in a minimizing way. But really, that's it.
Even the greatest minds and spirits in the world were not able to leave us more than what they were able to personally realize or do in their gifted area of calling.
So, is there any more? Is there anything beyond just 'doing life'?
I surmise that there isn't.
I think that it is true. That all we can do is be the best person we can be as we grow older. We live each day to the best of our abilities for that day. We continue to grow in whatever manner we're able to positively do. And then it all ends for us someday.
But we made the most of this existence. We made the most of our time here on this plane.
We made the most of our allotted days here.
We didn't just grow old, we grew up too.
Is there really anything more?
After writing this I don't think there is.
Perhaps others will vehemently disagree and start spouting off about The One and all that stuff. That's okay. Each to their own.
But for me, I truly still sit here and wonder what there is for me to do on a daily basis as I await my calling to the other side, where we all began and will go to again.
What can I do to make my existence as meaningful to me as is possible?
That is something that I'm still figuring out. And I surmise it will continue to change as I described above. Does that make any one meaning less than any others? No. But it does mean that my meanings will change as my days do.
And right now my primary meaning in life is to be the best father I can be to my boys. And I do this by being the best human being I can be in the world.
But as for tomorrow...
Time will tell.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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