Does the thought of death make you uneasy? Do you ever wonder what the point of it all is, when eventually, your body is going to fail? Or better yet, what you were put on this earth for?
Fatalistic, are we? Lighten up, will you?
Oh wait, that’s me I’m looking at; I
sometimes constantly wonder/ponder about this human body of mine and what it was put on this earth for. I left religious purposes long ago (or at least the conventional ones I was given as a child – let me be clear, I FULLY validate all faiths – it’s an ENTIRELY personal thing), but now I’m left with a somewhat empty void. An empty void I’m rather hoping to fill. Can one boil it all down to scientific reasons? Am I just another animal, just part of a biological system? If that’s the case, I’d rather be a bee because at least then, I’d be certain I was providing the world with an indispensable function. But I’m not, I’m a human… ANOTHER human. Doing much the same thing that billions of other humans are doing.
Living in a place where many/most people get by making VERY little and live in amazingly dense communities that surely don’t seem to provide the greatest quality of life, I’m brought back to these thoughts regularly (granted, of course, my perspective is that of a rural California girl – so my idea of what constitutes good quality of life is a bit skewed). More than that, China isn’t even a great example because there is a VAST amount of wealth very much woven into the landscape. There are, however, millions of people who get by on $200 per month, living in filthy cracker jack box apartments, working at least 6 days per week. And I ask, what is the point? And it’s a genuine question, not a fatalistic, WhyTF are we doing this, snarky comment. Seriously, I want to understand what it means to be a human. We work to make enough money to keep ourselves dry and fed, enJOY the short periods of rest with our fellow humans, then do it all over again, and again, and again. Is it that JOY that is the purpose? Is one ever really able to find the purpose of ones life under these circumstances. Is true happiness attained? Whether you live in industrial China or rural California, do you think that the majority of humans are truly able to find their purpose and feel totally satisfied with their place in the universe?
THAT is what I seek. Satisfaction, fulfillment, purpose…HAPPINESS. What else matters if these things aren’t found in ones lifetime?
And this question is made especially clear and jumbled all at the same time, when I hear of or know someone who passes away. I start questioning the point of ever doing anything cool/great/meaningful, when my body is going to give way and if I have it my way, become part of the earth, at some point in the not-so-far-off future. AND that’s only if I’m FORTUNATE enough to make it until my body says it’s time (i.e. I’m old and weathered and ready to go).
Let me give you some back story. When I was 7, my mother started having seizures. After a few years of testing and diagnosing/misdiagnosing (resulting in open heart surgery and a pace maker), she was told she had epilepsy, which she has since successfully controlled with medication. SO, at a very young [and impressionable] age, I was terrified that the dearest person to me, the one who I couldn’t live without, could die. I can literally still invoke tears at will, at the thought of my mom dying. Anyway, the feeling of mortality has always stayed with me. For a time, I was able to justify my purpose through Christianity and came to terms with death as the beginning of another life, where I would have family reunions in heaven with all those who came before me and eat ice cream all day. But since my late teens, this reasoning no longer resounded with me; I began to question everything and reason my way through it. Christianity didn’t pass my inquiries. Evolution made too much sense. Science won. Until it didn’t.
If, as a human, I’m just part of a biological system, what is the point of my life if upon my death, that’s it and all that ever was?
As such, I began to inquire into other philosophies and religions. Was I really to become an atheist? Or perhaps just agnostic? A Buddhist maybe? I read books on Sufism and Hinduism, and even took an anthropology course on Native Americans to better understand life through their perspective. I’m still trying to sort my beliefs out, but I do know that there is a common vein throughout: there is MORE to this human body than what I can see in the mirror (or through an x-ray). Science doesn’t explain it all for me. There is a common connection of all sentient beings; I can feel it when walking through a redwood forest or swim in the ocean. I can feel it when coincidences happen. There is something MORE at work that I can’t touch or see. But I can feel it, metaphysically speaking. I’m just not sure, yet, that I fully grasp what it, is.
Reading The Alchemist many years ago helped put these feelings into words for me, and helped clarify, if ever so slightly, the it. “Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World…” The Soul of the World being the spirit filled connections behind the scenes, the it. When your heart is connected to the universal, truth, let’s call it, I believe you’re able to live a harmonious, fulfilled life, in tune with the signs that help guide your life. It’s being quiet and observant enough to listen for the signs that are given to us, that is the difficulty. These signs are moments of clarity between our hearts and the universe. It’s about being open enough to let these signs show themselves to us.
Do you think that this is a human condition, the needing to have purpose and find answers RE: the meaning of life, in order to help justify the pain of death? Can you relate? Do you feel the need to find meaning, or you do simply have faith that it exists?
I will leave you with another quote from Paulo Coelho and The Alchemist, “Everything has been written by the same hand…Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” Your treasure, being perhaps, your purpose.
Here’s to listening, quietly, to our heart’s, friends.