Friday, September 25, 2015

The meaning of life

What is the meaning of life? We've all asked that question of ourselves, eventually all of us wonder why we were put on this earth. I've wondered it many times over the years and never found an answer that resonated fully. Maybe the meaning of my life over those years was to find my way through the emotional turmoil and reach a point of healing where I could see past my own issues.

As those of you who have been reading my blog will know I struggle with depression, and I have had many issues to work through. I believe, in the past few months, that I have reached a point where I can look beyond the tangle in my mind and consider the meaning of my life with a better perspective.

I say the meaning of my life because it is not the same for everyone. The principles I have reached are the same, but the things that resonate within the principles are different for everyone. At least that is my understanding. There are three points that I feel give meaning to life.

The first one is to find something that you love, that makes you grow and gives you joy. For me that is writing and now drawing. When I do either I feel a grounding, a sense of fulfillment, and peace. Peace is something I have had little of and it is almost as important as joy. For me peace leads to joy. So find what you love and find time to do it as often as you can. It can be a hobby, or if you are lucky it can be your main source of income.

The second is to find something that enriches your spirituality. I'm not going to get into religion or anything controversial here. Spirituality is an essential part of humankind, whoever you are and however you connect to it. Find it, embrace it and let it lift you.

The third is to find something that makes a positive difference in the world. This may be one thing, or it may be something different every day. It doesn't matter how big or small it is. If you have ended the day with having done something that has made a positive difference in some way for another living thing - even if that positive thing is only removing a snail out of harms way - you have added good energy to the world and that is in short supply these days.

So those are my three cornerstones of the meaning of life. Love, spirituality, and goodness. Nothing new there at all. But if you are stuck in a life of work, paying bills, stress and overwork, these three things can easily be overlooked. Or, you will say you just don't have time, you are too busy. So this is the other thing I figured out. You owe it to yourself to find your meaning of life. You are the result of a miraculous combination of chromosomes, there is not one human who is exactly like you. You have a purpose in life, a reason for being born. It's not to be miserable, there's more to life than merely existing until you die.

No matter what your circumstances you can find joy, if you allow yourself to be open to it. The three cornerstones of love, spirituality, and goodness are the building blocks to a better life. Some of us, and I include myself in this group, have spent too many years believing that we do not deserve to be happy or to have any sort of peace or joy in our lives. We struggle in our own personal dark cloud of despair, living like an automaton. Our feelings are suppressed, our emotions ignored, the beauty of our world overlooked. This is not the meaning of life.

It's all too easy to fall into despair, in some ways it's easier than looking for joy. But it's not what we are made for, not what we are here for. The world is a beautiful place, and it should be full of beauty and love and kindness. It's not, it's full of hatred, misery and despair. The minuscule percentage of the super rich that hoard the world's resources are not happy people. They hold onto everything they have as though that defines them. It doesn't of course, we all go out of this world the same way we came in - owning nothing.

I don't know how to bring balance back to the world, I don't know if it can be done. But I do know that we are all important, and we all have a purpose. The challenge of life is to find your purpose, and find your happy. My love is writing and drawing - both of which have given something to others which makes me happy. My spirituality is more difficult to define (and personal as it is to everyone), but it includes doing no harm, and helping wherever possible. Goodness for me is helping in any way I can. I am the person who will remove a snail from harms way, and trip over my own feet to avoid standing on a slug.

Sometimes the purpose and the spirituality and the goodness all apply to one thing. For me, that is the street cats. I love the street cats, I love to feed them and I love the companionship they choose to give me. They are wild cats, they could hide until I have put out the food and left, but they choose to greet me and wind around my legs in feline ownership. I have a strong sense of purpose that I am to help these cats have a better life, and when I go back I will be finding ways to do that. In spirituality and in goodness I also feel fulfilled as I am helping other creatures, and I am changing this one small part of the world. It's a tiny part, but it is as important as any other. All the small parts come together and make a bigger whole.

So I write, I draw, I feed the street cats (and in my absence have arranged for others to do it), I try to be kind and to stay positive. It may seem like a small meaning of life to you. I don't look for material things, they are temporary. I don't look for loads of money or power, they are not the source of true happiness or fulfillment. I look for what resonates within me and gives me true joy. Love, spirituality, goodness. Those are my meanings, the trick is to find what is yours, to believe that you deserve to have them and to apply them to your life. When you do watch how your life changes, your world grows brighter and has more focus and you wake up in the morning eager to begin your day.

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