Volume 3, Issue 36
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.
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 relevant/meaningful to our second-to-second management of our personal business of existence. In other words, it’s a packed — if not loaded — question.
The alternative to asking and answering this question to one’s own satisfaction is either 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), or 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 intuition, deciding that one took positions such as this based solely on aesthetic preference, since knowability of the answer to What Is the Meaning of Life? was apparently out of 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.
As 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 (metaphorically speaking since God or the One Self is above time). Depriving its temporary offshoots of this omniscience it plays our roles with more drama and excitement. The meaning of life therefore is to realize and enjoy this game as our true Original Self does, and thereby re-merge into the Original Consciousness.
However, the question is complex and so is the answer. If we obsess about this question as our purpose we automatically miss the point, since obsessing about anything blocks us from higher states of consciousness. This goes back to our earlier point about Overthinking. In the context of this planet at this time, the prefrontal cortex is a new toy that obsesses us, causing overthinking and underuse of the other three Jungian functions of consciousness, namely intuition, feelings, and perception.
In my new book You Are The Universe: Imagine That, I conjecture that the One Self enjoys seven aspects of existence: simply being, pleasure, power, love, creativity, making oneself better, and selfless service. Playing our role down here amidst the vast distraction caused by the Overthinking Culture’s pandemic shock reaction, which I call Acceleritis, each of these over-loved good things becomes an obsessive attachment and blocks the subsequent level of consciousness. Maslow partly perceived this in his Hierarchy of Needs model.
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 propelled by those talents, we develop a life plan around sharing these things with the rest of us, and then we go forward with that plan without being attached to the outcome.
Thus we have a Purpose, a Mission, which satisfies the thinking mind as to our own meaningfulness. Again this can get in the way of higher states of consciousness (merging back by stages with the Original Self) if it becomes an attachment to certain “success” outcomes. In a recent bookstore talk, I reported that although I go into meetings with awareness of my preferred outcomes, I discard those at the last minute and go with the meeting flow from 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.
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
— “Nature Boy”, by Nat King Cole
Best to all,
Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.