The Meaning of Life vs the Meaning in Life

 Topic: The Meaning of Life and the Meaning in Life

It is intrinsic to the human condition that at some point we must ask: What is the purpose and meaning of life? Why are we here? Answers to those questions are promised by legions of religious orders, secret societies, cults, and Amway salespeople. Most of them will give you some variation on the basic idea that humans exist to make some definition of god feel good about himself. Some of them even include language about not being a dick.

Which is fine. But those of us who walk the Path are presented with a slightly different answer: Rather than seek the meaning of life, instead create meaning in your life. Get together with your loved ones and make memories. Use the good china. Be kind to others. Beautify your environment. Look for opportunities to make the world a better place, in any way you can. Be present and enjoy the time you spend in this plane of existence. Try new things, make friends with new and interesting people. Find meaning in your work, then spend your time off creating art or even just looking at cat videos on the internet. Whatever brings you joy. Because we only get so much time in the mortal realm, and we should not waste any of it in lowness, in meanness, and also because good energy begets good energy. Put a positive spin on the wheel of your Ka, so that you may leave behind a legacy that your descendants will be proud of.

As far as purpose, Path doctrine does not include or promote the idea of a great, cosmic purpose that can be applied to the whole of humanity. The purpose you find or create for yourself is far more valuable than those offered to you by others. My own personal purpose for right now is to learn, to study, and to seek Enlightenment. You are free to create life goals of your own and to pursue them. You can even find a new purpose tomorrow. It is all up to you. The Path only teaches us that the purpose we find in our lives should do no harm.

There is a song by the Canadian band Rush called “Roll the Bones” on the album of the same name. Part of the chorus goes: “Why are we here? Because we’re here. Roll the bones. Why does it happen? Because it happens. Roll the bones.” The song declares that there is a great deal of random chance involved in the shape of our lives. Basically, shit happens, and we have to make the best of what we have. Where we are born, and into what circumstances, has a lot to do with who we become. It is a waste of time to invent a higher plan in an effort to make sense of widespread misery. The suffering in the world is not part of some divine design that makes it okay. It is up to us to do what we can to alleviate that suffering, so that mankind may be free to become a civilized species.

Life is brief. Death is waiting for all of us. It is there ahead of you, your own inevitable demise. You may not want to think about it, but it is one of the few things in life that are truly unavoidable. Knowing that your return ticket is already punched, how would you prefer to spend your life? What do you want to do? What do you want to learn? What do you want your life to be like? What do you want to leave behind? Outside of the cards the Universe has dealt you, there are a few things you can control -all of them originating, of course, within the Self- and it is up to you how you react to your circumstances. Just like the Serenity Prayer says, life is about finding a Balance between things that are under your own power and things that are not, and knowing which is which. Is this something you already do?


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