What Is the Meaning of Life? – Revisited

Originally posted September 1, 2015

When I was younger, I would ask this question whenever anyone, even a tour guide in a museum, asked me if I had any more questions.

The greatest thing you'll ever learn

Internally, it’s the question I asked myself multiple times a day all my life until I felt sure of the answer, which occurred sometime in my 30s.

The underlying question is “What is the meaning of ‘meaning’ in this context?”

The intent of the question is to understand what life is, what its purpose is (if any), what the universe is, what its purpose is (if any), why we are here, who we are, how we are to behave, what our relation is to one another, is there a God, and why are we compelled to consider any of this as relevant or meaningful to the second-to-second management of our personal business of existence.

One alternative to asking and answering this question to one’s own satisfaction is to go about life happily without caring about the question (which could be a Zen-like answer in itself, essentially filing the question away into the “Overthinking” file). Another alternative is to consider life meaningless, which many existentialists did in the last century.

Other than an intuition I had at age 12 that “I am God and so is everyone else”, which I tucked away as an interesting but unexplained aberration, the meaninglessness of life was my own position for the first 30-odd years of life. Around age 20, as I studied philosophy, I put reasoning around this earlier intuition, deciding that one took positions like this based solely on aesthetic preference, since knowability of the answer to What Is the Meaning of Life? was apparently beyond our scope.

In my 30s I had some unusual experiences that also reminded me of similar experiences in my childhood, at which point I felt as I do now — a very strong conviction that I actually know the answer.

The way I see it, all that exists is a single consciousness of such great computing power as to know everything that goes on within itself instantaneously at all times (though God or the One Self is above time). Since we don’t share this omniscience, God gets to play our roles with more drama and excitement. So the meaning of life must be to realize and enjoy this game as our true Original Self does, and thereby re-merge into the Original Consciousness.

I talk about this theory more in my book You Are The Universe: Imagine That.

From a practical standpoint, life becomes most meaningful for us to the extent that we realize our own unique gifts; we love doing the things inspired by those talents; we develop a life plan around sharing these things with others, and then we go forward with that plan without being attached to the outcome.

We then have a Purpose, a Mission, which satisfies the thinking mind of our own meaningfulness. Just as I go into meetings with awareness of my preferred outcomes, I set them aside at the last minute so I can go with the meeting flow, taking the standpoint of simply trying to help out everyone else in the meeting as best I can. Pragmatically and empirically, this appears to work best in balancing out the complexities of life as well.

So “What is the meaning of Life?” Enjoying it, loving it, loving all, and helping others to do the same.

“The greatest thing
You’ll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return.”
— “Nature Boy”, by Nat King Cole

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers. Read my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-09-01 11:34:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

We can each make a difference

Originally posted August 25, 2015

In the year 2000, every member state of the United Nations agreed to wipe out extreme poverty in the world by 2015 through implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were inspired by the ideas of economist Jeffrey Sachs. The final MDG Report found that the 15-year effort has produced the most successful anti-poverty movement in history, though there is still work to be done.

There is evidence that the resources of the planet, properly stewarded, are more than enough to make everybody’s quality of life quite acceptable in terms of the basics. The fact that we have been squandering some or all of those resources of course creates a potential shortfall for some. But these are human actions and theoretically under our control.

In September 2015 global leaders met and finalized the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to continue the work to end poverty. Although many had valid issues and concerns about the UN, this organization is our greatest hope for a global communication strategy. The only way to bring everybody to the table for the highest possible good is an environment where every member state feels it has an equal voice.

This is true no matter the challenge or the setting. Let’s look at our own engagement with the world. For the highest most far-reaching results, I recommend we employ the concept of engaging relationships, where we all look at every relationship as an opportunity, whether we are enjoying it at the moment or not. We accept each relationship as a given, making the best of it that we can — drawing upon the wellsprings of unfamiliar creativity patterns in doing so, and pulling out all the stops. This creates the environment for making maximum improvements, optimizing all the issues together.

If not distorted by negative assumptions, we would realize how incredibly promising this could be for each and every one of us.  To do so on any scale, we’d have to decide to appreciate differences and challenges. We’d need to stop demonizing others and accept who he or she is, seeing that difficult relationships are a fine learning stimulus, and finding places in ourselves where we can make excellently productive fine tunings.

Let’s focus this week on seizing the day with all our relationships. Let’s remember to include the one we have with our self — which deserves some time allocation — and the relationship we have with the postulated One Self that is the Universe (or God, if you like), in which we are an aspect and the Whole at the same time. Each moment, let’s leave open at least the possibility that the Whole is aware of us.

We can each make a difference. With the critical mass of all of us changing our actions, we can make the 180-degree course changes that we all deep down inside want the planet to make.

We can start with engaging relationships, be mindful of our resources and our actions, and see how the ripples in the pond will spread to the ends of the Earth.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site.

Originally posted 2015-08-25 13:57:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Getting to Flow by Living in the Moment

Originally posted August 18, 2015

Rise to this moment

My first experiences of Flow state were at the Brickman Resort when as a young child my parents, Ned and Sandy, put me onstage. The height of stage fright got my attention. I was pulled out of my mind by the sheer challenge of dealing with it. I had no time to dawdle or stay in my head. This seemed as close to a life-threatening experience as I could imagine, although I did not have the time or ability (as a child) to put it into those words. I couldn’t even distract myself by paying attention to my fear! I was totally absorbed in handling the immense challenge of the moment.

This and other experiences when I was young made me keenly aware of the existence of Flow, although I had no name for it then and didn’t think about it consciously. I also noticed there were other incidents in which I was more like Hamlet, overthinking a problem while the time to move had long since passed. Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-08-18 10:56:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What’s the value of positive thinking?

Originally posted August 11, 2015

Do you know people who seem to be so mentally strong that they almost always seem happy and positive, never saying a bad word about another person? More and more of us are practicing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty, loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. Our actions are more aligned with the Sioux proverb, “with all beings and all things we shall be as relatives”.

There is real value in getting ourselves into a good mood. We make better decisions. We think more clearly. And there is no downside. It feels good — we feel good — and we make others feel good. Getting into a more positive frame of mind is not just to pump ourselves up. It manifests more Observer and Flow states in our lives, so we enjoy life more.  We are more creative and effective in our work and happier in our life in general, which of course ripples out to all whose lives we touch.

Live more fully in every second.

So how do we get ourselves to feel good more often?

A daily vacation is a great start. Taking a break and doing whatever we want to do.  Creating a space away from other people (this isn’t always necessary but it usually is in the beginning) and then just doing whatever feels right from second to second. Playing, like a child again. Being who we really are.

When we’re on vacation, we want to be in bliss. So don’t hurry when you’re on your daily vacation. You won’t accomplish the vacation objective fully if you’re thinking about how soon you have to get back to work and thus trying to cram in the fun — still speeding, still in the clutches of Acceleritis™. When I take time out, I go back to work not because the “vacation” ended but because it’s what I really want to do. A flood of ideas rushes in so fast I have to write in pseudo-shorthand. Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-08-11 11:01:54. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Solving Challenges with Just One Fresh Thought

Originally posted August 4, 2015

Do you get frustrated when you look at a longstanding problem or challenge and feel that you just don’t know how to solve it?

Acceptance is a choice that leads to a path.

Is it possible that you do know how to solve it, but deep down inside you realize that the solution is likely to involve long, hard effort? Perhaps the situation seems so complicated that you’ve refused to even begin to think about how to untangle it. Are there complexities to the situation that have you considering easy solutions or quick fixes instead of dealing with those complexities?

How can you find your way out of this loop and move forward?

What works for me is to reconsider the situation and have “just one fresh thought on the matter” each time I’m considering what may seem a longstanding challenge. Instead of pressing for an ultimate solution immediately, I begin to consider and pursue step-by-step progress. The part of my mind that insists on easy solutions usually sees this as a reasonable compromise.

Accepting this creative compromise also refocuses the energy that was being expressed as frustration so that it now manifests instead as progress. I’ve found I begin to actually make progress the longer I restrain from lurching for a final solution while adding relevant observations, and that the probability for right decisions is noticeably higher. Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-08-04 11:22:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Power of Gratitude

Originally posted July 21, 2015

One rainy day I was driving a little too fast plus the cruise control was on. I got onto I-84 East and as I reached the highway itself I must have hit an oily patch for the next thing I knew I was going backwards, staring straight at Eastbound traffic bearing down on me at high speed — a truck passing a car, both coming right at me with many cars and trucks behind them.

Reflexively I righted the car and pulled off on the grassy median just as the honking truck and cars rushed past, missing me. A car pulled off and drove up alongside to see if I was alright. He said he was a Navy fighter pilot and complimented me on my reflexes, then drove off while I sat for a minute breathing deeply.

Every second is precious. Be Grateful

I bet you know what I was feeling because we have all felt it at one time or another — grateful for being alive. Life was suddenly so sweet. Every second was precious. The average workday that lay ahead was now an exciting prospect filled with interesting possibilities. The rain hitting the windshield was beautiful and I could see rainbows in each drop. The air tasted delicious.

Authentic gratitude is a very healthy emotion that I am sure increases immune response and is conducive to Flow state. As I grow older and hopefully wiser I find myself more often being grateful simply for this life, for life itself and especially for the interesting and fun life I have had so far. But any life is better than the alternative of never having existed. Even a life of pain is more interesting than eternal unconsciousness, never having a sense of self, never having even one experience.

As long as one is alive, there is the chance to fix or accept anything that is disturbing. That’s what creativity is for. Troubles can be overcome in a flash of inspiration. Life is filled with endless possibilities.

Over time I’ve noted that when I am feeling the most gratitude, my luck runs high. Could it be that being truly grateful results in receiving even more to be grateful for? Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-07-21 10:26:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter