Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The One Where I Get All Existential or Whatever

So back in the summer before I began first year University I thought myself very deep. I would go around asking people what they considered to be the meaning of life, writing down their answers and having long conversations with everyone I ever met about the various responses.

Some responses were as simple as "to be happy." Some were "to make a difference in the world." Some were "to be the best person you can be." Many responses of "42." (Le sigh, no that's the answer to the Ultimate Question, not the meaning of life. Don't you read??) I'm sure there were more, but it's not like I kept any of that crap.

In retrospect, I'm impressed with how surprisingly willing people were to have that conversation with me. And I asked EVERYone. From my hairstylist to random people upon first meeting.

Sometimes in my more depressed days, I consider my life, and think that since I'm really not making any great contribution to the world - why bother? (No, this isn't going to be another post where I get dozens of emails "gently" nudging me to therapy. Things aren't that dark today). Thoughts like that though make me wonder- what am I doing here? What is the meaning to my life? And really, I don't think most of us can really answer the question at any level better than that.

What am I doing to make the world a better place? What can I do to be happy? Am I in fact being the best person that I can be? The answer to the last is of course no. We can always do better. The day that anyone thinks that they are the paragon of everything that they can be, is the day that they should in fact be prepared to leave this world. Because what else is there to do once you've reached that state of actualization? But I digress.

My darling Glamour Puss meets with a friend once a month to set goals. For without goals, where are we in life but restless and stagnant? I've told her on more than one occasion that I think this is an amazing idea, and that I should do the same. How can we improve our lives and outlook and happiness if we sit and do nothing. Whatever deity you believe in is not simply going to hand it down to you like a gift. Or at least not without a little work to prove that you earned it.

So, I've decided that I shall set some goals. Some may be small and personal, and may result in better nails and new shoes. Some will be practical such as paying off debt and being more diligent about dusting. And some, should be more lofty. Maybe spiritual. Maybe creating an ambitious-yet-totally-doable plan to end world hunger.

In that, I will have found my own life's worth and meaning. When reviewing my diaries (cause trust me, the most depressing and alarming thoughts in my little head are not posted up for the world to see) the main theme I see is restlessness. I'm hoping this will conquer that.

However, I am curious - what do you think is the meaning of life? Perhaps I'll publish your ideas in my memoirs.



Nance said...

I've never, ever pondered the meaning of life. But I think part of it has to do with making it a little better for the next ones.

Crys said...

i've never read The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, but after reading that write up, i'm going to.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah i think the Hitchikers answer was 42 or something? I can't help but think of Monty Python when I hear the words the meaning of life but i know Princess you are not such a fan so I'll spare you the quotes:)


Crys said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crys said...

regarding the meaning of life, here's what i think:

i subscribe to Joseph Campbell's idea that we all must follow our bliss. your bliss, of course, is different than mine, and hers is different than ours, and so the REAL question at any given moment isn't so much what you can do for the world, it's what's your bliss? what stokes the fire of your spirit? what makes you feel good?

do you know that most people don't even care to ask themselves that? they go to work, they come home, they clean/cook, they go to bed. wash, rinse, repeat. this is how millions live and die, and i think it's not only unfortunate, but it also has a lot to do with the state of the world today.

think of following your bliss as raising your universal energy. i realize i've just leapt off the precipice and am now descending into New Age speak, but stay with me. say being blissful actually equals positive energy/vibration, while being unhappy (or tired, or run down, or gloomy, or angry, etc.) equals negative energy/vibration.

would you be helping the world if you changed your vibration? if you worked every day to bring your vibration higher and higher, making it more positive? i think you would. i also think those of us who don't do that -- who stay mired in the drudgery of our lives and never search out our bliss -- actually participate in the negative condition of the world. the more of us that are unhappy, the more of us who end up doing unhappy things. the more of us who are happy, however, the better off everybody else on the planet because now we are participating in a higher or more positive energy, and this energy replicates itself. in other words, we are growing happiness for everybody -- not just ourselves.

am i making sense?

(as an aside, i suggest you read Power vs. Force by Dr. David Hawkins if you haven't already. it's very dry but it's so interesting if you can stick with it (i actually heard him speak once, and he was drier in person than in writing). anyway, his theory is that everything calibrates (or vibrates, if you will) at a certain frequency, and he's devised a way to measure that frequency. for example, a picture of Buddha slid inside a manila envelope calibrates at something like 990 (1000 is the highest). the significance of the envelope is that the person measuring the calibration has no idea what's inside --- but it calibrates highly anyway. a picture of Jesus calibrates at 1000. Hitler, etc., calibrate at below 200 (or 100). it's quite an interesting theory, and begs the question of how all of us can raise our calibration, and thus the calibration of the town we live in, the country, the world). )

MY POINT THOUGH? determine what your bliss might be. it doesn't need to be grandiose, either; it can be as simple as gardening or cooking or taking a walk. and it's not just one thing; a person can have a bunch of different things that make them feel happy. but it really is about that -- it's about how you feel as you're doing these things. i call that feeling "zing zing"; it's like sunshine in our bodies. that's what happiness physically feels like, and the more we encounter and identify our own personal zing zing zones (or bliss), the more we are in a higher energy (which is positive) and which will (and does) replicate itself. plus now we can use that feeling as a barometer; we can measure other things we do and see if they bring us pleasure or happiness. it's like a radio frequency that we simply have to tune into.

to me, that is how each and every person can change the world.

i watched an interview with Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations With God), and he said if a person can do just three nice things a day, it has the potential to change everything. even if it's just smiling at someone you don't know, or paying someone a compliment, or helping someone out. just doing those things improves the condition of the entire planet; you feel better being in (and contributing to) that positive energy---and the people you bless while being in that energy also have an opportunity to feel the same way.

i know i've rambled; i apologize.

i just think "the meaning of life" is such a loaded idea. i think it's all really, really, REALLY simple. find out what your spirit loves and then DO it. DO IT AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE.

the rest will handle itself.

Princess of the Universe said...

Nance- I kind of wish I hadn't spent quite so much time pondering it...

Crys- It's classic. One day I really should finish the series.

K- Yeah, I know you tried, but I just can't love Monty Python

Crys- Holy, thanks for that comment! Lots to think about there. As an aside, how do I find out what I vibrate at? Sounds like a good pickup line.

Nat said...

I just read Cry's comment and enjoy this idea of vibration... sort of like the water changing in What the Bleep... (worth watching when you're feeling inquisitive.)

Meaning... what does it mean? Wow. Good one.
Maybe it doesn't mean anything. Maybe consciousness is just some accident of biochemistry. It's entirely possible. Maybe there is a big old guy with a beard waiting for you when you die and it'll be like a family reunion with dead people. (I'm not betting on this.)

Here is my pseudo-atheist but not quite no-god take on it. I think we are all connected -- whether we are feeling the cycle of life or whatever, I don't know -- and that we owe it to ourselves as a whole and a collective to make sure we are doing right (in the buddhist sense). How to achieve this right path is a matter of some debate, and well individual...

Not sure this helps.

sequined said...

I guess I think the meaning of life is to live it as positively as possible--for you and others. Whatever that means for you.

Faiqa said...

I think the meaning of life lies in your post, actually. It's about asking the important questions and then looking for the answers. You might not *find* the answers. The meaning may not really be in the answers, but in the looking itself.

Crys said...

What The Bleep? Great movie, watch it. The science within is considered a little iffy by some -- but I think, personally, that the reason for that is because it's a bit ahead of it's time. I do think physics will ultimately bear out most of what is asserted within it.

Anyway, I love posts like this.

Thank you.

Chief Rock Chef said...


Seriously, though, I am one who thinks that we are here to do the best we can. If we succeed we get to move on to somewhere great - if not we get thrown back in for another try. Is that Buddhism?

Princess of the Universe said...

Nat- 1. I'm hoping for the family reunion, and 2. yes - I agree that we ARE all connected in some way.

Faiqa- True, how can we find meaning if we don't actively seek it out?

Crys- no, thank YOU. You're rad.

Chief- I'm getting a lot of Buddhist references here, interesting. "42" from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

delmer said...

I like the one about being more diligent about dusting. This morning I stripped my bed and decided, as I had a pillow case in my hand, to dust the furniture in my bedroom.

(Then, prior to showering, I decided to clean my toilets ... all before heading off to work.)

Miss Britt said...

You know, I thought I was the only one who felt like they needed to know what THEIR purpose in life was.

I feel like I have a "job" I'm supposed to do here and I'll be a failure if I can't figure out what it is and don't get it done.

LiLu said...

I used to have borderline panic attacks whenever I thought about the possibility of my life "not being extraordinary".

But I'm slowly realizing that as long as you love, are loved, and enrich the lives of those you love... that IS extraordinary.

Psychgrad said...

I've come to the temporary conclusion that the meaning of life is to find the meaning of life. find ways to give meaning to life.

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