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Does life have any meaning?

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  • #156334
    Rose Tattoo
    Participant

    Hi – I’m really struggling with the idea that life means anything. I know I’m depressed, and I am on antidepressants, which help me function day-to-day, but I often have this sense of dread and pointlessness. I have good friends, a supportive family, own my home, am healthy, etc. I don’t have kids or a spouse, but I live a pretty active life and am busy most days. Two years ago, I lost my job of 13 years (and thus a career I had spent 17 years building) and left a really unhealthy, painful relationship. Since then, I’ve been trying to get back in the saddle, but it hasn’t gone well. I haven’t been able to find a comparable job, so I decided I’d start my own business, which I’m in the process of. I was super excited about it until about 2 weeks ago, and then I crashed. Woke up one morning feeling incredible depressed. I have a dumb admin job that barely pays the bills, so I invited a friend of a friend to rent a room in my home. I feel really anxious about this (I haven’t lived with someone for about 20 years), but I am so tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck. I know I’m very lucky and privileged in so many ways, but I still feel like life is meaningless. Going out with friends doesn’t really help. Mostly I just wish I was alone.

    All the struggle, and then we die.

    When I Googled “Why am I here?” I got a bunch of super religious stuff, and I don’t believe in a Judeo-Christian God. So I’m posting here: why do we do all this stuff? What is it all for?

    Thank you.

    #156376
    Homi
    Participant

    Hello ! Namaste !

    Before read this, i want you to know that you should choose if what i write is the truth or not for you.

    I once heard or read that life does not suposed to have a meaning. Life is Life. It does not have a meaning and it should not have any. Our all existence of humanity is just a breath compared to the existence o this planet (more like a cold actually). We are all humans alike so our mind is identifing with everything and everyone, that is one reason why we are suffering and not living life peacefully and in a simple lifestyle. We love suffering. It is almost an unbreakable habit. We are not doing this consciously. We identify ourselves with our mind, so the mind is in control, so we call that ego, that activates the pain-body. We identify ourselves with our stories, does not matters if those are happy or sad, because are illusions. Why? beacause those are in the past. The past is in the past. The past does not really comes back in the same way it was. The past is dead. It should not influence us, but it does. Why? We give power to it. The past is an illusion , so is the future because is a reflexion of the past. This is happening to us alot. The mind is created by our thoughts. One reason why we are suffering is because we let those thoughts came without seeing the true form of them and the emotions that is created by them (desire and fear).

    I do not want to make you understand that the mind is the enemy. Is the friend, if we understand it and use it wisely. The mind is like a tool to create things, but do not identify with it (anylonger).

    Learn from nature. Look at the caterpillar. That being eats leaves (or a part of a plant). She dies and after that is transforming in a butterfly. That being pollinate the same plant that was hurting before.

    I am saying that the life has no purpose and no meaning and should not have any that our mind wants to have. I am saying that the life just has to be.

    Here comes the important message that i think it sholud be recieved:

    1. Even if life has a meaning or has no meaning we should be happy, realistic, peacefull, relaxed, detached from harsh situations and do not give to much atention to our thoughts.

    1. Even if there is a heaven and a hell, or 7 heavens or 7 hells, or 10000 reincarnations, or nothing (emptiness- which my ego prefers)… even so, lets be happy, be totally in the present moment, live, laugh, dance, sing, paint, do what we like. If we cannot do this now… does not matter.. no problem. What cand we do when we don not know what to do? … Return to the beginning. What is in the beginning? What do we do when we are born? We cry !!! Why? We meet a new world…. We meet a new essence… the air. So we breathe.

    1. All we have to do is breathe. Feel that. Listen to it. Smell it. Taste it. Hear it. Practice this and see what happens.

    1.Choose! Try always to be present in choosing to be happy or sad and be totally to that emotions to understand if there is the response of the unvierse to the message that you sent, if there any.

    I hope you are feelling well recieving this. I learned alot after i read and watched mistical people like Osho, Tolle, Mooji, Sadhduru,Papaji and others.

    #156420
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Rose Tattoo:

    I may be able to reply to your post if I understood your thinking better. Therefore I ask:

    You wrote: “I still feel like life is meaningless”- do you mean that you feel that your life, Rose Tattoo’s life is meaningless or do you feel that every person’s life is meaningless?

    Do you feel that every living thing’s life (including plants and animals) is meaningless because every living thing will die?

    If you could make anything you want happen, like magic, right now; what would you make happen so to make your life meaningful?

    anita

     

    #156460
    Rose Tattoo
    Participant

    Thanks for your response! In answer to anita’s question: I feel that all of life is meaningless. There is just no reason for, say, that bird outside my window to exist, breed, struggle, die.

    I don’t know what would make my life meaningful. I guess feeling like my struggle has a purpose; like knowing that it’s for some reason.

    I guess the real reason for this post is that everything I thought was true has turned out not to be (i.e. if you go to school, work hard, buy a home, etc you’ll be successful and safe; if you spend time in community and contribute/participate, your contribution (and you) will be valued, etc.), so now I don’t know what it’s all for if what I thought it was for is not true. Don’t know if that makes sense.

    I do try to remain positive, and I understand how my thought processes can drive my depression and hopelessness, but lately this knowing isn’t helping much.

    #156486
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Rose Tattoo:

    You wrote: “everything I thought was true has turned out not to be”- I believe this is the very reason for your depression and lack of contentment. I believe that if you re-learn what is true, you will find a meaning to your life and contentment. I will explain:

    You were promised that “if you go to school, work hard, buy a home, etc you’ll be successful and safe”- believing the promise you did your part in it: you went to school, worked hard and you bought a home. And yet, you don’t feel safe or successful.

    There were other promises that failed to become your reality. And so, understandably, you ask: what is the point of living? Why am I here?

    We are made a lot of false promises from early in life. “And they lived happily ever after”-

    two false promises right there:

    1. There is no “ever after”- we do die. Some sooner than later. But the comfort in believing otherwise is intoxicating. People can see that death happens, so they make up scenarios where they can hold on to the “ever after” promise: heaven, paradise earth, reincarnation followed by liberation, and so on.

    2. There is no happiness outside very limited periods of time. It is not possible to be happy as a state of being. And yet in the U.S. Declaration of Independence it promises us “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”- to pursue something means to “seek to attain”- but it is not possible to attain happiness. All efforts to attain it fail: we eat more for more happiness but we get bloated and gain weight, and as a result we get sick, distressed, not happy at all. We take drugs, psychiatric or otherwise. The result, narcotics bring very short term happiness, euphoria, followed by the miseries of addiction, and anti-depressants at best make us feel better, sometimes. We buy more (marketing promises…) and yet again, fail.

    Back to your question: Does life have any meaning? Yes, it does. Observe nature- there is the meaning, the naked meaning (literally and figuratively). See reality for what it is. Study it. Expose, more and more, those false promises and replace the expectations that follow those false promises with reality.

    The more your brain is congruent with reality, the more content you will be. Notice I used the word “content”, not happy. What I mean by content is being engaged in re-learning what reality and what life is about and being way more at peace than you are now.

    I hope you post again with your thoughts and feelings.

    anita

     

    #156508
    PearceHawk
    Participant

    Dear Rose…The question in the title of your post is one that I find it to be actually a very welcomed question because I entertain that question frequently. So I have asked myself, what is the meaning of my life?. At first when I told myself, the meaning of my life is…with the operative word being “is.” To me that word implies an absolute, which I believe is not the case. So lately I came to realize, (for now a least as I constantly ponder this), I will not truly know “the” meaning of my life, until I have reached the end, at which point I will be able to answer, the meaning of my life was what it was. If that makes sense. But I would like to further explore your thoughts but for me to do so I must as for clarification from Anita…

    Anita can you please help me understand your thought that ” It is not possible to be happy as a state of being? ”   This statement intrigues me so much that I want to visit that thought.

     

    I am looking forward to hearing from both of you.

    Pearce

    #156514
    Anonymous
    Guest

    * Dear Pearce: I refer here to Happy as joy, delight, cheerfulness, pleasure, an excitable state of a pleasurable kind. I believe it is impossible to be these things permanently or continuously. It is too much for the nervous system to endure, for one (excitement over a long period of time). If you look at animals in nature, they are happy some of the time: when eating, mating perhaps, playing but not continuously and not most of the time.

    anita

    #156536
    PearceHawk
    Participant

    @Anita…got it. And I agree with you 100%. I think a synapse misfired in my brain earlier this morning. But what you said…I totally agree. Thanks much

    Pearce

    #159694
    Tannhauser
    Blocked

    Comparing humans to animals is false. Animals have no sense of their own mortality and are not burdened by morality. They are not cursed as we are with an over-evolved brain, something which is the source of all our mental health problems.

    Best wishes,

    Tannhauser

    #162152
    Peter
    Participant

    For someone prone to depression the questions of purposes and meaning can become self defeating.

    Such questions have been asked since the birth of consciousness… why am ‘I’ here, naked, shame… how can I endure, there must be meaning.

     

    The answer to such questions I think require skill. I mean by this knowing when to ask the question and seek its answers.

     

    For myself I think Joseph Campbell answered the question that I relate to the most. “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”

     

    It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer… Life does not give you meaning, you give meaning to Life.

     

    In such light, even my depression is purposeful and meaningful and brings meaning to Life. I do not fully understand it, yet I… ‘taste’ that it is true, and enough, and so I no longer ask the questions.

     

    As for being Happy. The idea of happiness and the experience of being happy can become so confusing and wrapped up in each other. Especially when you read something like the following:

     

    “If you decide that you’re going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will become enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. This is truly a spiritual path, and it as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist.”

    ― Michael A. Singer

     

    Right, sounds so easy, if I just decide to be happy I will be happy? How does one decide such a think… and what is this Happy that this Michael speaks of? The feeling, an experience, and idea…. I think for Michael Happiness was getting to a place where he could give an unconditional Yes to all of life’s experience, those we experience as good and those we experience as bad.  Happiness is getting to experience Life as it is and so give life meaning.

     

    I would change the quote to read:

     

    “If you can give an unconditional Yes to life’s experiences from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will become enlightened. Unconditional Yes is the highest technique there is. This is truly a spiritual path, and it as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist.”

     

    Unconditional Yes/Unconditional Happiness… I don’t know I’m still working it out, yet I know there is a truth to that statement. I can taste it 🙂

    You might find the following Ted talk interesting: He does not say it but I think he found a way to give a unconditional Yes to his experience of depression and doing so found if not happiness, meaning, and in finding meaning… Happiness… Not a feeling, not a moment in time, but a happiness in being?

    “The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment.”

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by Peter.
    #162556
    Eliana
    Participant

    Hi Rose Tatoo,

    Sometimes many of us look or are always searching for things outside of ourselves to make us happy. Have you ever heard someone say “when I finally get that raise..I’ll be happy?”..then they get the raise, yet they are not happy because with that raise comes more responsibility, stress, pressures from boss, etc. Or what about “if only I had more money I would be so much happier”..but you hear it all the time, money does not buy happiness. You hear about people winning the lottery. At first they are elated..then months down the road, they have lost it all, or something bad happens to that person. Even most celebrities with the fancy cars, awards, homes are not happy.

    This is why so many people say “is this all there is? Then they blame life, because life does not being what they are searching for.

    I have always believed “searching” for happiness is elusive and futile. Instead, find small things that brings joy to your day. Things to be grateful for. We have so much in this country, that most people in other developing countries can dream about. They have to walk 10 miles to hand wash their clothes in clean water. They have to worry where their best meal is coming from. They have to see their children go without clothes, medicine and hunger. They have to worry about being shot at if they wear the wrong clothes, get acid poured onto them if they don’t walk behind their husbands, or submit to them. They have to have to have “arranged” marriages. Loveless marriages. We have to count our blessings and that’s joy and happiness, because we don’t have to worry about all that.

    We get to get out everyday and see the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. A beautiful butterfly. We have legs to walk, when people are in wheelchairs, in nursing homes or have Parkibsons. We get to wake up every day in the warmth of a bed, a roof over our heads, a hot shower, the small joys in everyday living can bring us happiness. Reading a good book, watching a great movie, laughing with a friend, watching Saturday night live, just the simpkiest things..fireworks, stargazing, an evening drive, a walk on the beach, a purring cat..these are the things that make us happy.

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