I (inhabiting the body of the data processor I sometimes borrow to post this blog) went out tonight for sushi with a depressed friend. She’s been single for awhile, and was complaining about being a little chubby; she’s a cute and naive girl, suffering the loneliness and melancholy that affects all humans at various periods in their lives.
And so – I thought I’d post this blog on the meaning of life.
What are we here? What should we do? What’s the point of it all?
I get questions like this all the time. And you’re really not going to like my answer:
There is no point to it all! No, I’m not Nihilistic, I won’t tell you that Thomas Hobbes was right when he said life was short, brutish and dark (or something like that). But I am a pluralist. There are many ways, methods, religions, philosophies and lifestyles to choose from, and the difficulty is only in picking one that works for you. By ‘works’, I mean it makes you happy and keeps all those bad feelings of pointlessness out.
Some Traditional Beliefs
You can choose to believe that ‘the way to heaven is a narrow path’ and that if you aren’t careful, you will fall off the path (and I, being infinitely angry with a horrific vengeance) will cast you into the fire. Frankly – that idea is a little offensive, and will probably make you neurotic and narcissistic. You think I’m watching every tiny little thing you do, waiting for you to slip up so I can torture you? You don’t think I have better things to do with my time? You don’t think I designed the universe as a safe, gentle place?
You can also choose to believe that you are dirt and will die and cease to exist completely, so you should carpe diam and follow your bliss. You’ll probably have a lot of fun, but you might not learn much about yourself, or life.
I would recommend something in between these two – a ‘meaning of life’ that encourages you to be free and happy, but also teaches you to take responsibility.
I read a mantra in a yogic text a couple thousand years ago that I’ve always liked.
There is nothing you must do, there is nothing you must be, and there is nothing you must have. Even so, it helps to understand that fire burns, and when it rains, the earth gets wet.
In other words, although you are free, and there is no ‘right way’ to live your life, knowledge about cause and effect allows you to make choices that produce beneficial results.
It’s the road, not the destination! The purpose of life is LIFE – it’s the experience, the sensations, the love and heartache, the happiness and depression. Life is like a long movie (well, it’s more like a movie theater). You chose to go inside. There are lots of films playing. If you don’t like one, see another. When you’re finished, you go back to ‘reality.’
To use another metaphor – life is the mountain that everyone is climbing; everybody will eventually get to the top, no matter what. You cannot get lost. You cannot fail. You can take or time or hurry up. You can enjoy the scenery, or look at bugs, or eat, or think about naked women the whole time. You are there for the experience of climbing the mountain (living) but you will fill the time in your own way.
There are really only a couple of ‘rules’ to remember. These rules work just as well for Atheists and skeptics, you can accept the following without any belief in me.
1) Nothing matters. There is nothing you must do. You make the choices in your life. You cannot fail.
2) Appreciate your journey! I (God, the divine principle, the One) am experiencing my creation through you! No one on earth is seeing what you see, feeling what you feel, thinking what you think. You are absolutely unique, and everything you do is perfect. Enjoy it!
3) You have the power. To a large extent, you do have creative power to influence your own circumstances and experiences; however tapping into this power takes work, dedication, repetition, and motivation. If you aren’t constantly working to change your experience – don’t complain about it.
4) Every action has a consequence. The things that happen to you are caused by other things. What you do, even what you think, your attitude and how you treat others will all affect your life. So don’t be a fool and live recklessly, and then later complain if ‘all these bad things’ keep happening to you.
5) You will draw lessons to you. Humans are creatures of habit. You will probably live your life a certain way, which produces a certain consequence. If you find yourself in the same kind of situation over and over again (being drawn to people who aren’t right for you, etc), you will keep facing the same type of ordeal (often in increasing severity) until you learn what is causing it and how to avoid it (how to change your automatic responses).
If you have specific questions for me – send me an email or post a comment and I will blog about it.