Epiphany {new age/spirituality}

What is the meaning of life?

May 5, 2006

I suggest the meaning of life is to have meaningful connections or interactions with other human beings which also enables you to understand who you are as a person. Well, either that or…………42. Yes, time to oneself is therapeutic but Imagine a world where you are completely alone? Would you learn anything or be lost in the abyss of your own mind? Perhaps we could add our personal opinions about ‘the meaning of life’ to this thread to create a large collection of thoughts, which can then be squished together to form an overall conclusion? I know this is an impossible task but it can still be interesting. Asking questions is always more intriguing than receiving answers – Jen

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  1. “My own philosophy is not very sophisticated. We live. We love. We try to make the world slightly better for our having passed by. We die. Everything else is BS!….What I am saying is that everything else in life we get so het up about is BS. If we are humble about what life is then we can not only be more content but we lose the desire to hurt. Big ideas are dangerous in the sense that they justify so many bad things. The end is the means if you don’t believe in big ends…if you see what I mean.”

    Michael Trup

  2. “If you’re not an Eremit sitting in his cave in Himalaya . . .

    . . . but more kinda human being like Robinson Crusoe, reflection is crucial for you to feed body, mind and soul. In my opinion.

    With the time . . . you might develop the Eremit in you once you may have reached insights on a different level where you personally don’t feel the need of reflection any longer.

    As long as you’re not in that stage . . . trial and error. Reflection. Action.

    What is the meaning of life ? My answer: Life.

    Warning: Life is dangerous. So far I’ve met no-one who survived.”

    Andreas Wiedow

  3. Interesting….but I’d say there has to be a balance, even for a spiritual guru. It’s all very well being highly enlightened in your thoughts but other human beings challenge your resolve and give you the opportunity to put those thoughts into actions and experience yourself etc. You live, you learn.

    “Life is dangerous. So far I’ve met no-one who survived. Have you?” Err…I am open-minded to the theory of reincarnation so I’d say that most people have probably survived 100s of lifetimes…..

  4. “I agree but why are someone else’s needs more important than our own. If we feed someone else rather than ourselves, then we need to be fed and someone else has to feed us. Life becomes one big daisy chain of dependency. If we can only find fulfilment by helping someone then by liberating them from dependency we may be depriving someone else of the opportunity to find fulfilment by helping them!”

    Michael Trup

  5. I think I understand what you mean. If you give yourself energy, you can then give others more energy, you can give nothing if you neglect yourself ie: you first have to know how to love yourself??

  6. “I think it’s a motivational thing Mike. If you focus your effort on someone else’s needs you end up fulfilling your own. How familiar is the feeling of getting something you think you’ve always wanted and feeling disappointed? It doesn’t hit the spot.

    My only caveat on this is that you need to be very choosy about whose needs you focus on. I’m not a great believer in the random pay it forward method; there are too many takers out there. If you don’t qualify people you’re going to end up as disappointed as one who only helps themeslves.”

    James Coakes

  7. “My suggestion to answer this question can be read here >>

    * Why Are We Here And Alive? *

    “Why are we here and alive?” asked the student to his master…
    “Because we need to get better and better at mastering the Art of Living
    and there is no better way for us to accomplish this than going thru
    the Journey of Life itself…go my friend, go and feel the Supreme Mysteries
    of Life…remember they can never be understood by the mind but only felt
    with your heart and soul” answered the master…

    “Sensei, I wish I were able to always choose the most appropriate
    set of actions, at all times and under any circumstances…”
    “This my friend will take you a lifetime and probably even more…
    be true to your heart and as authentic as possible, respect your enemies
    for they have a lot to teach you, never under-estimate their power and
    remember if you want to know your greatest enemy, you just
    have to look in the mirror…”

    In the course of time, a minority of students will eventually become
    master. They will think they have grasped enough about the Art of
    Living, the Art of Fighting, the Art of Dying on the Battlefield,
    the Art of Loving, the Supreme Art of Winning without Fighting and finally
    are capable of teaching other students…only to discover they still are students
    when encountering a greater master, one that has mastered even further
    the Art of Living, the Art of Fighting, the Art of Dying on the Battlefield,
    the Art of Loving, the Supreme Art of Winning without Fighting…

    Only a very small number of masters will ever have the ability to remain
    a master regardless of the situations they are facing and other beings
    they interact with…It is one of the unalterable Laws that govern
    the Universe and its beating Heart…
    No style as a style, shapeless at all times…

    I feel we all are Eternal Apprentices of Life.”

    Christophe Poizat

  8. “You’re assuming that there is a meaning wink

    According to my OED:
    Meaning; what is meant, significance, importance

    For Life, the only thing of any consequence is perpetuation of Life. The passing on of genes. End of story. This happens with or without humans.

    In this context, all that humans do and achieve merely passes time whilst trying to pass on the human gene.

    However this may not be very satisfying. Is the real question “What’s the meaning of YOUR life?”

    Then you can start to talk about satisfaction of aims, being nice/horrible to other people, exploring the self etc etc.

    “Life” itself doesn’t care – but you might. That’s the problem with being a sentient being.”

    Neil Fairbrother

  9. “Great post Neil, also a nice nod towards Dawkins. Sometimes its hard to think of just being a gene machine passing on DNA, but that’s kinda all there is.

    ‘Cos this is getting quite heavy, I’ll lighten it up with this classic quote from Bender off of ‘Futurama’:

    “Okay, Fry, grab a Kleenex for this one, ’cause there’s no god and your idiotic human ideals are laughable. Ha ha ha! ”

    Made me laugh…”

    Andy Calloway

  10. “but I’m certainly a humanist. Here’s a bit of a definition from the British Humanist Association:

    Humanism is the belief that we can live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs. Humanists make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values. We seek to make the best of the one life we have by creating meaning and purpose for ourselves. We take responsibility for our actions and work with others for the common good.

    What humanists believe:

    # Humanism is an approach to life based on humanity and reason – humanists recognise that moral values are properly founded on human nature and experience alone. Our decisions are based on the available evidence and our assessment of the outcomes of our actions, not on any dogma or sacred text.

    # Humanismencompasses atheism and agnosticism ‑ but is an active and ethical philosophy far greater than these negative responses to religion.

    # Humanists believe in individual rights and freedoms ‑ but believe that individual responsibility, social cooperation and mutual respect are just as important.

    # Humanists believe that people can and will continue to find solutions to the world’s problems ‑ so that quality of life can be improved for everyone.

    # Humanists are positive ‑ gaining inspiration from our lives, art and culture, and a rich natural world.

    # Humanists believe that we have only one life ‑ it is our responsibility to make it a good life, and to live it to the full.”

    Steve Wilson

  11. “Perhaps…trying to find the answer to the question IS the answer (ie – the journey), rather than the actual answer itself?

    Pus, if there was only one answer – I guess a few/many are going to be very disappointed.

    If we ever found the answer, then that would be it – might as well go burn rubber, eat McD’s and wait until we are placed in a hole to push up the daisies!”

    Ian R McAllister

  12. “I find all your comments unique and very interesting as well as inspirational. A follow up of my last post for life would be to EXPRESS yourself truthfully and honestly. This is something we do not do due to conforming to other people’s ideas and perception of what is expected of. I tell you to truly express yourself is very difficult and we all end up living only half a life. People are always amazed at the spirit of Caribbean people and do you know why that is? Because here you have individuals who are not bound by the shackles of conformity and they say they mean and what they want. life is simple and stress free.

    In developed countries we are too busy living to live and that is one of the greatest tragedies of mankind. He uses us his greatest resources but not using them at all.

    Express yourself and live….”

    Trevor Headley

  13. “1. To find meaning in your life is to discover the things that you enjoy doing and to wholly apply yourself to them, because you have discovered what “you” were created for and your life now has “meaning”. If you have not yet done this, please go get a life !!

    2. To find meaning in “Life” would depend therefore on whose life you refer to.

    3.To find meaning of ” Life” generally; ask God.”

    Timi Ogunjobi

  14. “”To find meaning in your life is to discover the things that you enjoy doing and to wholly apply yourself to them, because you have discovered what “you” were created for and your life now has “meaning”. If you have not yet done this, please go get a life !!”

    I’m digressing but what if you cannot make a living from doing the things you enjoy? This seems to be the difficulty of applying spiritual / new age thoughts to modern life / the real world. Or does that imply that technically you are not wholly applying yourself to them? Curious –

  15. “There of course is a difference between “making a living” and actually living a meaningful life. I believe that every human being can make a living from what they enjoy doing – i.e what makes their life meaningful. The problem is we lack the courage to face the consequences of applying ourselves to them – greatest of which is being labelled “crazy” . And we therefore rob ourselves of the prize of having a truly succesful life. This discussion is of course as old as civilized life , and could drag on till eternity. I’ll join you again in a few more hours though.”

    Timi Ogunjobi

  16. “Inmy not so humble opinion Timi, I think that is nonsense. The world is full of musicians and actors driving trucks and waiting tables and never breaking through because ‘will power’ can only take you so far. You have to have talent often ‘extreme talent’ as well as the will. Quite simply there is a ‘pyramid’ of opportunity in many professions and indeed some talents are not valued at all in financial terms. I know some people who love painting but they are not good enough at it to earn a living.”

    Michael Trup

  17. “I think maybe I have failed to exxpress my opinion quite clearly. Please for “what you enjoy doing” sustitute “what you are able to do efforlessly”. That is what is known as talent – or natural “gift”. I enjoy playing music , but have no talent as a musician , and will therefore consider it foolhardy to try make a living as a musician or even ask to be considered as part of an amateur band. Try as I do, I can’t just meet half the standards of those whom I consider as true musicians (read Louis Armstrong, Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, Michael Jackson etc).

    I collect art objects, and do once in a while daub canvas with oil; but a painter I am not . I can not even earn a decent living as a truck driver because I am simply unable to concentrate on my driving, talk less of trying to earn a living as a racing car driver – as my son want me to . If I tried to live on my whims, I will be such a confused person indeed for I have many of them. At the same time I will be living another person’s life . For every human, animal, plant and object in this world ( and in the universe) there is a purpose. I challenge anybody to show me something that truly serves no purpose whatsoever. The task of a truly enlightened person’s life is to discover that purpose and key into it.”

    Timi Ogunjobi

  18. “Purposeless – having no aim or plan.

    Purpose – the intention to act, a thing intended, a resolution, determination.

    There are, I would suggest, more things purposeless than purposeful.

    An amoeba, for example cannot possibly have a purpose, neither can a daffodil, as neither can have an intention to act. Completely lifeless objects likewise.”

    Neil Fairbrother

  19. “Hitler was doing what he thought was right too. I think he was proud of some of his achievements as well …especially before 1942.

    The meaning of all of the lives you live is to learn. To learn that what job you do, how much you earn, what political party you vote for, what car you drive, who you ‘network with …is all total bollocks.”

    Mitch Sullivan

  20. I was accused by one person of trivialising the discussion of the meaning of life…..And my response was as follows:

    Apologies, I was not intending to trivialise the meaning of life, honest. Just believe in keeping things simple / light-hearted sometimes in order to catch people’s imaginations. I do take such questions seriously but I believe it is important to remain humble and attempt to engage with folks through various approaches. Jesus used simple stories to explain to the masses ie: aesops fables sometimes resonate stronger than in-depth “jargon-filled” explanations. No, I am not comparing myself to Jesus, well not exactly.

  21. “I don’t think you’ll find one fixed answer. There are as many opinions on this as there are people. Too many outside factors to figure in to believe that there is one specific meaning to fit everyone.

    For me, it’s simply about the experience itself. Choosing to be a responsible adult and role model for my children, while still feeling free enough to experience the things that are important to me. Thats my meaning right now. In 20 years, that could all change. Being an individual, having my own views and being fortunate enough to express them and live out my dreams. I have no doubt that I’ll not be able to experience everything that I would like, but taking the time to really feel the things that I do experience, rather than just skimming the surface. Garnering something, anything from those experiences, good or bad and applying them in my life. Learning and passing along what I have learned to my children. Being able to look back when I am at the end of my days and know that it was time well spent and hope that my overall happiness with the experience of actually living outweighs my regrets.”

    Elizabeth Stephens

  22. I am not sure I can really but the answer of this question with words. The meanng of life is very much subjective in everyone. I therefore feel that to truly answer this questionyou have to go all the way back to why we exist at all…and to that question I feel I can not really answer. As for my lifes purpose I am in a constant state of becoming and trying to be in alignment with the source and the creative positive enregy that eminates from the source. This is a much Is I can say about it. As the Hindus say life is Maya….It is our purpose to awaken within the dream and realize we are eternal and everything is interconnected from the unmaifested to the maifested. This awakening is happenning is countless forms everywhere in the maifested universe. Look within …meditate often…examine the meaning of consciousness itself…experience and spread joy and love….develop compassion.

    Ray McCarthy III
    Palm Beach, Florida

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