I can recall so often hearing questions around the meaning of life.
I have to remind myself that there was a time when I didn’t know.
In all areas of my spiritual evolution, there was a time that I was too far from the truth to see it. When the understanding comes, or returns, it’s so penetrating that you forget that you were once lost. This concept itself is a huge part of the meaning of life: remembering.
Life is suffering.
As has been so often pointed out by my teachers: you suffer over what you want and you suffer over what you don’t want. When we get what we want, we suffer when it changes—which is inevitable. When we don’t get what we want, we suffer due to our craving. When we get what we don’t want, we suffer due to our aversion to what is.
All of this suffering stems from our relationship to what is occurring in our lives. We create the suffering because we attach ourselves to externals that are guaranteed to change.
My previous article touched on the absurdity in our practice of creating our identities out of externals that are, by nature, impermanent. Nature has seasons: life and death. And everything on this plane of existence is subject to the laws of nature.
We choose to sign up for suffering when we cling to what must—by nature—change.
The meaning of life is in dancing with this suffering. We cannot avoid it, so we must learn to engage with it in a manner that evolves us as beings. Only in the human existence do we get the privilege to consciously work through these episodes of suffering.
And yes, it is a privilege.
Every bit of suffering that comes (or that we create) in our lives, is there for a reason. We are to work with it. And how well we work with it determines the meaning of this life.
There is no external puppet master determining what the meaning of our lives is; we are the creators. We design our own heaven or hell based on how well we dance with our suffering. If we teach ourselves to dance with suffering with the grace of love and compassion, we create heaven. If we choose instead to dance with the darkness of fear and anger, we create hell. These are not places we are sent to based on the accumulated behaviors of this lifetime, these are places we create within every second of every day.
The meaning and purpose of life is love.
We are to spend our human existence learning how to better love ourselves, and then to love others (as ourselves). While this may sound like a romantic notion, it is exponentially greater than romance could ever be. It is not a sappy, surface-level concept, it is truth. This realm of love is not tied to the humanization of the term, as God is not what our limited minds have conjured. They are one-in-the-same. You want to get to God? Learn to love. You want to learn to love? Be God.
We’ve been given the music of love to dance to, we only have to get quiet enough to hear it. We know all the steps, we simply have to look deep enough inside to remember them.
The meaning of life isn’t something we must find, we are already it.
We must experience the body for what it is-an accumulation of sensory perceptions and a mind that has created an ego-concept that it is separate. This body and mind are not who we are. We are love. And the meaning of life is to find our way back to love, to God, to ourselves
Author: Mikela Rae Bowers
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Shawn Campbell/Flickr