Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Finding Purpose In The Apparent

I watched a film recently that had me revisiting some questions I have asked myself periodically over the course of my life. It’s good to ask oneself the same things at different times in ones life. Helps one know what one actually thinks, and what has merely been the result of religious or cultural conditioning and influence. It was not a particularly good film, kind of pedestrian really, with a lot of pretty clichéd answers to pretentious questions, and with frequent forays into self-indulgent and self-pitying analysis posing as importance. But hey, I can be accused of those infractions myself. Anyway, the more prominent questions posed were ‘Who am I?’, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ and ‘How can the problems of the world be solved? I know, I rolled my eyes when I heard them also. But getting beyond the obvious, they truly are questions of importance for each of us.

Who am I? is usually sloughed off on the superficial for fear of having to accommodate, or be accountable to, a deeper understanding. “I’m an accountant, I’m a teacher, I’m a mother, a musician, a real estate agent, etc.” But describing what one does is not the same as understanding who one is. It avoids the elemental question of origin, purpose, and connection to the divine. It’s like being the stone skipping over the surface of the lake without an inner awareness of having come from the earth, or even of ultimately settling again into that same earth on the bottom of the lake. It’s like saying “I’m a stone skipping over the surface of the lake”. Yes, you are, but that much is obvious. We are more than how we spend our time, more than what we accomplish even, much more than that. But it takes a willingness of discovery, and then the willingness for connection, to transcend the temporal moment of just being the stone. Mere movement, and even accomplishment, does not necessarily equate with self-discovery.

And what is the meaning of life? Having heard many scholars, theologians, intellectuals, and supposedly brilliant people throwing this question around ad-infinitum for many years, and then again, more recently, in this film, I am still amazed at the time wasted on the, obviously, wrong question. There is no meaning OF life, there is only meaning IN life. It is not our commission to define the esoteric, but, rather, to find purpose in the apparent; to discover the value that IS life, our value in living, in being, in the implementation and execution of life. Living is indulgence in the sacred, not in the religious, but in the sacred, and all that is not profane can be embraced as sacred. It is where one finds meaning. It is there that one finds Living IS movement, but in thoughtful, determined, and conscious movement guided by a deeper understanding of origin, of connection, and of purpose.

And how can the problems of the world be solved?
By understanding who we are, and finding meaning IN our lives.
All of us.