Monday, December 26, 2016

The Meaning of Life

          The title is a little dramatic, but I think this is the only week of the year that such drama feels appropriate.  Christmas is over, sad. The New Year is approaching, which calls for reflection and consideration of the direction you want to be heading.
           I read about the phenomenon of "living" a lot. Self-help books, religion, science: its a fascination.  Then just this week I was struck by a "showerthought" that unified the message of Christianity, Buddhism, Quantum Physics, and New Age Philosophers.  And it is so simple, its easy to dismiss.  The meaning of life is to learn to put others before yourself.  And if you master this, that is the secret to happiness.

  • Buddhism breaks it down and explains to us the many ways humans suffer as a result of selfishness, and by being aware of our thoughts we can realize the endless cycle of grasping at new things and clinging so tightly to what we already have.  
  • To find the lesson is Christianity, look no further than the message of Jesus and his willingness to die for us.  
  • Quantum physics explains that even what we know to be the physical boundaries of everything we know: solid forms etc. is negotiable when you are able to observe at the subatomic level and see how energy is really moved, shared, and exchanged by everything in the universe.  
  • New Age philosophy expands on this concept for many of its affirmations and theories.

           But the teachings across all of these schools of thought boils down to the importance of considering others.  And life is set up in a series of exercises to get better at it.
           Marriage is the first step, you start with one other person, anyone in the whole world, and hopefully you help each other learn what it means to put someone else's well-being before your own. I am sure you can guess where this is going, and you are a quick study, because you're right the next step is children.  And from there, with new found maturity and wisdom, hopefully, we expand that unselfishness to our extended family, neighbors, and finally strangers.  Life becomes less of a competition, less about fear of protecting what others can take from you, less about conspicuous consumption.  It is not easy, we will all fail at it daily, but I can't help but believe its the truth.  The meaning of life is to put others first, and mastering this is what we refer to as the secret to happiness.