I read a fellow author’s blog this morning about a tough conversation he and his wife had with a fellow human traveler through this worldly realm, a man who had apparently fallen in a wagon rut emotionally and psychologically, puzzling over whether his life held meaning or not.
It was impossible not to jump in with my own take on the subject—which is that life is utterly meaningless and that the search for meaning is a head game the ego loves to play with itself. Granted, for years after my discovery of the meaninglessness of life I wrestled with terrible angst and depression. After all, I’d spent over 50 years desperately seeking answers to the meaning of life, and to realize that life needs no meaning—that the living of life is meaningful unto itself and that it needs no story attached to it to make it significant and important (two things the ego very much desires, significance and importance!)—took some getting used to.
But once I did, talk about a feeling of freedom! You mean I could just enjoy each moment like a child? Exuberant and happy with what is? Seeking nothing? Wow!
Again, it took years to ground in that different, freewheeling reality—and I was far from always living my understanding. Most the time I still took life very seriously indeed. Sigh. I still do. But less and less and less.
But thinking about all this today made me wonder, maybe we don’t have to face the harsh reality of meaninglessness all at once. Maybe we can ease into it with a word swap?
Maybe every time I run into someone struggling with finding meaning, instead of slapping them in the face with my hard-won truth (I’ll even go so far as to say the hard-won truth, gasp!) maybe I could gently suggest that instead of focusing on meaning, they instead focus on connection?
Where do you feel hooked up with life? Do you feel it with your children? Your partner? Do you take time to stop and watch a sunset and breathe in the golden rays of a dying day, reveling in the beauty around and in you? Do you have a dog you love? A cat? Dear friends you spend long warm moments with in heart-felt communion?
If you do, aren’t those moments the richest moments of your life? And if there were more of those moments, linked together in a richly satisfying, endless chain of interconnection, would you even think about searching for meaning?
The ego lives in separation of and for itself. Apart, isolated, adrift, it desperately seeks meaning to make its lonely existence bearable. How much easier to settle down in front of the fire, cat in your lap, kids playing video games in the dining room, partner by your side, face-timing a friend on the other side of the world, laughing and not even thinking of the next moment because the now is so replete.