Life is Meaningless and That's a Good Thing
Let's start with the bad news: Life is meaningless.
(Sorry, but it really is.)
But let me tell you why that's a good thing.
Actually, let me first tell you why I believe life is meaningless.
We don't know where we came from, and we don't know where we will go when we die.
(Anyone who says they "know" or that they are in possession of the capital 'T' truth about life and death is full of baloney. No one knows ok?)
Because we don't know our source or our final destination - the bookends of life - we cannot say for sure what the purpose of our life is. We don't know where we're trying to get to - what the end goal is here - so how are we supposed to know if what we're doing is getting us closer or further away from that goal?
We don't know. That's the point I'm trying to make.
We. Do NOT. Know.
Now there are people who think they know, and think they are in possession of the capital 'T' truth about life and death because many other people believe the same things about life and death that they do. (aka, Religion.)
A-ha! And this is where we come to the centre of the shrubbery maze.
Beliefs aren't truth. They are beliefs.
Belief - at its very essence - implies choice.
Meaning that people who have chosen to believe certain things about the meaning of life, and the truth about life and death, have chosen those beliefs.
There are people who will get all up in my grill because of this, (because they think they are in possession of the capital 'T' truth) but here's how I know this is true for sure: if ideas about the meaning of life were universal truths, then we would all believe the same thing.
But we don't. That's why there are so many different religions on earth; each one is trying to do the exact same thing; determine where we came from, where we're going, and based on that, what the meaning of life is.
But religion - with its accompanying belief systems - is a choice. It can often feel as though it isn't when one is born into it, and when everyone around us believes the same thing.
Those are the instance where beliefs can feel like the capital 'T' truth, but they're not.
There's strength in numbers and therein lies the fallacy of religion; just because many people believe the same thing, it doesn't mean they're RIGHT.
(Yeah, I said it.)
It doesn't mean they're wrong either.
It would behoove us as a society to move from black-and-white thinking to living in a 50-shades of grey world. (And I'm not talking about any kinky stuff here.)
It's the need to say "I am right and you are wrong" which starts wars.
Can we not exist in a world where there is room for all the shades of grey; where we respect one another's chosen beliefs without interfering with one another?
Anyhow, I digress...
Back to the meaninglessness of life!
If what I'm saying above were true (and I'm not saying that it is, this is simply what I believe) - meaning no one really knows the before and after part of life - then no one can say for sure what the point of existence is.
So no one can say for sure what the meaning of life is.
Therefore: life is meaningless.
But, now back to my second point, why this is a good thing.
Because it means we get to decide what our life means.
We get to decide why we are here.
We get to decide what we do, what we will devote our time and energy to.
We. Get. To. DECIDE.
Now again, if we were born into a particular belief system, then it can feel as though there is no 'decision' involved, it just is what it is.
But this is exactly where I would say we all need to go and question things: to those places within us where we feel as though "This is just the way it is - this is reality."
No it isn't - it's YOUR reality. YOURS.
The sheep farmer in Ireland? His reality is not the same as the reality of a stock broker in New York. And both might say about their lives "This is just the way it is - this is reality" - and they are both RIGHT!
Shades of GREY.
If the sheep farmer and the stock broker traded places, then they would each wake up to a different reality, a different daily purpose, a different MEANING for their lives.
But each was born into the life they were born into, so they each believe whatever they believe and execute accordingly.
Remembering that there is choice involved in what we believe is the key to adding or removing meaning from our lives; because if it's all about beliefs - if that's true - then we can choose to believe differently.
I used to believe in heaven and hell, and an angry God who was waiting to judge me.
Now I believe that at the end of it all, I will judge myself.
I chose to change my beliefs because the idea that I will judge myself is one that gives me greater pause with regards to my actions than the idea that someone else will judge me.
I do not know that this is true; I've only chosen to believe this because it serves me in pursuing one of the meanings I've decided to give to my life which is to be a person who treats those around her well.
I could just as easily choose to say that when it's all over - when we die - we fall into a black hole and our consciousness is wiped out. There is nothing.
If I chose to believe that were true, then I might feel fine about pursuing a life based on the acquisition of money and material things at the expense of those around me because I would feel that, since there's nothing after this life, then giving in to my hedonistic tendencies in order to maximize my pleasure was the meaning of my life.
And that wouldn't be wrong or right, it would be what I chose the meaning to be. It would simply be what it is.
Not good or bad; just being.
I realize it can be overwhelming to consider what I'm saying to be true; it would mean that if we can choose differently, what do we choose?
If you bring forth what is within you,what you bring forth will save you.If you do not bring forth what is within you,what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
There's something inside of you waiting to be born.
It doesn't have to be a big, earth-shattering 'purpose' with a capital 'P' - but there is something inside of you that's calling for your attention to make it a reality.
You know what it is; or at least you know the general direction of the thing.
Start moving in that direction, even if you don't know exactly where you're supposed to end up.
The truth is that regardless of our intended end destination when we first begin a journey, rarely do we end up exactly where we thought we would.
That IS Life.