Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Does life have a meaning? Or a purpose?

Often, I hear people asking about finding their purpose in life. It's almost as if they are looking for a ledger or a box where these things are kept and as soon as they can find it and open it up, they will find theirs there, right next to their name. But there is no purpose that someone else assigns us. We choose our own purposes. I have used the plural because we can have more than one, same as we have more than one career or more than one relationship, or more than one cause we believe in. 

It is almost the same question when people are asking about what the meaning to life is. There is no meaning. Life just is.

We have the delicious opportunity to make up that answer and live with it, and if we change our minds, we can do it again. When we have choices, we often need clarity to help us see our best path. This is something I have helped people to do many times.

What do we do with our lives? The two biggest choices we ever get to make are the questions about who we are going to love and what we are going to do to make a living. Those are the two biggest questions on everyone's mind and the two most popular areas of concern among people who get readings.

There are other spiritual concerns and people who request personal clearings, house blessings or reiki healings are often seeking rebalancing and peace from upsets that have caused them grief all the way to the spirit level, even though those may have originated from problems with relationships and work.

We do not find purposes or meanings. We create them.

Think about this for a moment. People often say that they have found a sign or an omen that helped them make a choice or answer a question. How exactly does that happen? A person may have as their totem a red fox, and as they are driving out one evening, a red fox crosses the road in front of them. What does that mean? Or perhaps a person is simply out for a walk and suddenly a robin is flying near them, singing. What does that mean?

Ultimately, if two different people are seeing these same things and have different problems or questions on their minds, then they get two different answers to what does it mean to see a fox cross my path or have a robin fly around me and sing.

Look at art in a museum. Some of it you love and some of it you don't care for at all. However, as we walk through the museum, certain pictures, carvings, sculptures, photos or artifacts grab our attention and we stand there looking at them for a while, with all kinds of thoughts running through our heads. These are the ones that mean something to us. We assign meanings to things. Sometimes we do not know what was on the artist's mind when they created those things, we only know if we like them or not. Do they speak to us?

Think about some of the noble causes that some people work hard to achieve. They want to help the injured veterans who have returned from war. They want to clean up the environment. They want to help house homeless people or find cures for diseases. They want to feed starving people or rescue stray animals. These are things that people choose to focus on.

There is no meaning to life. The choices we make form the direction our life takes and the path we follow. There is a cause and effect relationship between choices we make and what happens next.

I wonder if some people think that there is a little gnome sitting somewhere with a ledger who will look up their account for them and tell them what they are supposed to be doing.

What we do is the result of our free will. Let's agree that a person is born with a talent for musical ability or is keenly interested in art or science or baseball.

What a person does with those talent potentials and preferences is to refine them into skills. If you ended up doing art, it is because you like it and you spent more time learning how to do it well. Same for everyone else. Whatever it is that they enjoy doing they took the time to learn about it and apply it.

You find a common thread when you read the biographies of successful people. The person who became a great athlete practiced a lot. The person who became a great musician practiced a lot. The person who invented new computers spent enormous amounts of time working at inventing new computers. The person who becomes a successful realtor, home builder, hairdresser, massage therapist, auto mechanic, comedian or chef spends a lot of time developing their skills and building their business.

That then, is a product of using our free will to make a decision and the persistence to follow through with the necessary actions.

Even in the more playful part of our lives, where we choose to become a dancer, a drummer, a singer, a skiier, a skater, a potter, a knitter, a beader, a writer, or anything else, we discover that we become good at it with lessons and practice, and those who invest more time in practice get better and better.

My reference to a gnome with a ledger was intended to use a little humor to make my point. To me, the notion that there is a meaning to anyone's life implies that someone is assigning meanings to each individual, such as "You will be a plumber, you will be a doctor, you will be a pottery maker, you will be a musician, you will be a whatever."

Clearly, that is not true. How many people, for instance, were encouraged to be in a particular business or profession, but they choose to do something different? How many people were perfectly content doing their job until their company shut down or got taken over, reorganized and they got laid off and now they have to do something else?

Aside from work, is our meaning determined by whether we have children? Some people choose to have several, some choose to have one. Some people choose not to have any. What does that mean? It doesn't mean anything. It is simply their choice.

And of course, our choice of people we have relationships with. We seek to form relationships that we feel fit us well, that the people we are connecting with are those with whom we feel a special bond. But who decides which one we have a special bond with? We do. And for many of us, there is more than one instance like this in life, and more than one relationship. Some last for less than a year, and some last for many years. Looking for that person that we feel really special with is a factor that we decide. We decide what sorts of qualities and characteristics are important in the other person. Once again, we are making up the meaning, the purpose.

Is meaning related to a choice of religion? Obviously many people choose to change religions or not to belong to any. Is meaning related to our choice of hobbies or the charities we support? People change these during the course of a lifetime too. All of these are free will choices too.

In each case, free will choice determines the outcome. So, no, there is no purpose or meaning to life. We are born and then we decide what to do with that life. Life just is, it does not mean anything. We assign meanings to things.

I don't know if this will come as a shock to anyone who gives it a little thought, but I notice that some people like to start discussions in forums about such questions.

Viewing meaning and purpose as a matter of choice really makes it much more powerful. We can state our preference to the world and then get busy with it and suddenly we are in charge of our life and going full speed ahead. Yes, I know, some people will choose to go slow speed ahead, and that is simply their choice too. 

If you are sorting out your choices and can use a little help, just ask me. I do these kinds of sessions for people all the time. It is amazing how light and energized you feel when you have a clear sense of direction, isn't it?  

No comments: