Posts Tagged ‘meaning of life’

I am finding that, as someone who has created such an identity for myself out of being lost, it is hard to become acustomed to being found.  There are still moments of doubt, of questioning, of starting to search elsewhere – almost as if I can’t imagine life without searching.  It is unfamiliar to me, and so I find myself tempted to move towards the familiar, towards the search again, the place I have spent my whole adult life.

I believe we can often become comfortable with the situations we say we don’t want.  On one level, we want to find what we’re looking for.  On another level, finding it is so unfamiliar to us, we can be in danger of rejecting it in favour of the comfort of being lost or unhappy.  We begin to define ourselves by our unhappy state, so that chancing upon happiness leave the ego uncertain, leaves our whole definition of ourselves in question.  That can be a scary place to be – because it begs the question “well, who am I then now?” 

Who am I, if not searching, if not questing, if not lost?  That is how I have unconsciously defined myself for so many years, it’s as if I don’t know how to be at peace with being at peace.  NOT being at peace as become so much a part of my self definition, that peace itself has become scary, happiness has become scary, actually being in the place I have been searching for is unfamiliar, scary terrain.

In order to move forward, we must be able to let go of the persona we defined for ourselves around our pain.  We must let go of the little labels we have learnt to live by.  We must let go of being ‘the single person’, ‘the depressed person’, ‘the sad person’, ‘the unhappy person’, ‘the lost person’, ‘the searching person’ – we must let go of these self-created personas we cling to (decrying them all the while) if we ever hope to find out what is beyond them.  Who am I if I am not that persona?  The only way to find out is to push through, be uncomfortable, sit with the unfamiliarity of the true self hiding beneath the labels.

Perhaps we have to realise that to be happy, we have to not only want to be happy – we have to be able to accept that happiness when it comes along, even if it feels scary and unfamiliar at first.

I found this passage by Paulo Coelho the other day, and it resonates so much with me, I feel goosebumps reading it:

In many oral traditions, wisdom is represented by a temple, with two columns at its entrance: these two columns always have names of opposite things, but in order to illustrate what I mean, we will call one Fear and the other Desire. When a man stands at this entrance, he looks at the column of Fear and thinks: “my God, what will I find further ahead?” Then he looks at the column of Desire and thinks: “my God, I’m so accustomed to that which I have, I wish to continue living as I have always lived.” And he remains still; this is what we call tedium.

– Can a person remain his whole life in this situation?

He can be pushed by life, but resist and remain there, always complaining – and his suffering will be useless, will teach him nothing.

Yes, a person can stand for the rest of his days facing one of the many doors he should go through, but he must understand that he has only truly lived up to that point. He may continue to breathe, walk, sleep and eat – but with less and less pleasure, because he is already spiritually dead and does not know it.

Until one day when, as well as his spiritual death, physical death appears; at that moment God will ask: “what did you do with your life?” We must all answer this question, and woe betide those who answer: “I remained standing at the door.”

We must be willing to sit with the strength of both our fear and our desire if we wish to move forward and do something with our lives. 

I believe we are all called to something in each life.  I believe you can miss the calling if you don’t give it the space to make itself heard.  I believe many people spend their whole lives running away from or ignoring their calling.  A calling doesn’t have to be noble or grand.  It can be something that seems quite small or “silly”.  The calling is whatever whispers to you from your heart in the quiet moments.  Remember – the calling at first may just be “the blank urge“.  I believe we have to just keep following that urge and it will clarify itself in the living.

And there is the key.  The clarity comes about by living into the call, the blank urge.  Not by sitting around thinking about it or lamenting the lack of it.  The clarity comes about by just getting out there and doing somethingSolvitur ambulando.   If you don’t know which door to go through, just pick a door.  Pick the door you are most afraid of, the door at whose threshold you feel both Fear and Desire screaming at you the loudest.  Pick a door, any door.

When it is my time, I still don’t know really what my answer will be to the ultimate question: “what did you do with your life?”

But whatever I do, I know one thing – I will not remain standing at the door.


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This quote pretty much sums up the conclusion I have come to about life at the moment.  It is widely attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, although this attribution may apparently be false.  Whoever it was to first say it, I reckon they had their head screwed on and actually got what life is about.  I think this is my new mantra to live by.

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

It gives me goosebumps.

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