Posts Tagged ‘Meaning’

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What I think happens in life and thereafter.

There is no supporting evidence for this. None. But I think this photo depicts what happens to us in our life and afterwards.

Firstly, the sign.
The concept that life ends when we die is a man-made concept. Take that away and the picture takes on a different meaning
In the foreground, the road and painted line shows the direction that has been mapped out for us. We may have painted the line or we might be following a line painted by others. It’s still a direction we follow. Life is reliable if we walk this way. No surprises.

The end of the painted line.
Notice that the line stops but the road continues. At some point in our lives we don’t need to follow a direction. We just know which side of the road is the safest and the direction we should be travelling in. It’s still a direction followed by most but we don’t need as many rules to guide us. We brush our teeth, save some money and have the weekend off without thinking about it. Admittedly, doing these things does save you some heartache later but really it’s your choice. There are consequences for everything. Even if you stop in the middle of the road there is a consequence.

The gravel.
The end of the road and start of the dirt shows our partial return to the way things should be as we age. We can start to connect with the natural way of life and appreciate the little things. Like being outside. Feeling the wind. Listening to our own thoughts. All these experiences becomes more comfortable as we realise that all things pass. We end up walking our own path regardless of others. The realisation that happiness and contentment is up to us makes it much easier to live.
The decisions we have made, passage we have taken, and where it has lead us finally shows what really matters. Material gain and credit for our performance loses its lustre. The knowledge that others are struggling now seems to drive us to a point where we are rewarded with a deep contentment that only service to another living being can give.

The sign.
It may be the latest theory to explain death but it really just shows a transition. In science, nothing disappears, it changes state. Ice melts and become water; water boils and becomes steam; the steam seems to disappear but really spreads out to become, well, everything.

Afterwards.
Just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there. There is a continuation of us but as the picture shows, things change.
It seems to me there is a natural beauty thereafter. No roads, no directions, no hazards. Still in existence but a more natural one that allows us freedom that we haven’t experienced beforehand. Whether we continue into the trees or the sky is up to you. All we do is move forward into a new experience.

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Not ‘Funny Ha Ha’… but ‘Funny Strange’.

Example:
When your life is in danger you will do anything to avoid the impending trauma.
But in the absence of a threat, we question what it’s all for.

Confused? Me too.

Enter Kevin Briggs, a California law enforcement officer whose beat covers The Golden Gate bridge. Kevin has talked to hundreds of people as they stood looking down at the water 245 feet (75 metres) below, ready to jump. His estimations are that he has dissuaded over 200 people from the suicidal leap. Of those that did and survived (low percentage) they all said that the moment they jumped, they wish they hadn’t. THAT doesn’t make sense.

More than 1,400 people have jumped off the bridge since it opened in 1937 with only 2% surviving the fall and of that small slice only 4% were able to walk again, according to the Golden Gate Bridge transit district.

Sometimes we need to turn to a professional to get some perspective when grappling with some of life’s deep questions. So let’s get some advice from Mr. Victor Frankl, a trained Psychologist and Neurologist who happened to live in Austria during the 2nd World War and was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp. When the average life span of a concentration camp detainee was somewhere between 3 weeks and 3 months, Mr. Frankl survived 3 years.
As a trained psychologist, his assessment of those that died and those that lived made him realise happiness is not the key. Meaning is. Those that find meaning for their existence are much better off than those that chase happiness.
His theory is called Logotherapy where meaning is the ‘primary motivational force in life’.

Aaah, now that is starting to make sense.

So let’s look at the meaning that others have found. Here are 5 examples of people who found a cause that drives them:
1) Adam Braun – Adam started Pencils of Promise where he builds schools for impoverished kids in third world countries.
2) Sam Kahamba Kutesa – This year Sam was elected President of the United Nations General Assembly’s sixty-ninth session. His vision of our world is far greater than any of our day to day headaches.
3) Al Gore – Mr Gore lost the US Presidential election but then went on to become the world’s foremost speaker on climate change. Instead of reflecting on his losses, he focussed on the job he had in front of him.
4) David Bryant – After retirement as a teacher and school principal, David found himself directionless. Shortly after he volunteered for a position teaching poor children in the Maldives. His passion for giving came back in an instant and at an age when others slow down, David is travelling and making a difference.
5) Team Hoyt – Fathering a cerebral palsy child is enough to give anyone meaning in their life. But Dick Hoyt motivates thousands if not millions of athletes by pushing or towing his son in countless triathlons and marathons. He says that his son Rick’s smile as they cross the finish line gives him motivation every day.

What next?

Search. Search for something that keeps you awake at night.
Something that will have you up at 5 in the morning motivated to make a difference.
Find a cause that upsets you.
Or one that fires you up.
Then find out how to act.
Then, commit.
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Get Victor Frankl’s Book by clicking on this link: Man’s Search for Meaning, Gift Edition

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The picture itself is 15 years old. I remember it like it happened yesterday.  (more…)

Midnight Express

Midnight Express

I originally wrote this article for my martial arts blog.

It went around my head for quite few days as it relates to life in general so I have changed it to relate to us, our thoughts and our direction.

The basic idea is that any human endeavour is driven by three questions. What, How and Why.

‘The What’ is about you. What you want.

‘The How’ is about action taken by you to get what you want.

‘The Why’ is about others. Your effect on the world.

No real problem, or at least not yet. Here is the reason:

You see, 99% of endeavour is about the What and the How.

What do I want?

I want a better job.

I want a better car.

I want to visit another country.

I want more money.

Easy to create this bucket list.

‘The How’ is the action plan for achieving ‘The What’. It is your daily activity and how you achieve goals.

The Internet is full of advice on how to achieve. Follow this plan, implement this system, get this result. And results usually follow even if you have to change the systems to suit you. But the result is still empty. That’s the reason for most entrepreneurs wanting more, bigger and faster. Sort of like a treadmill.

The ‘Why’ is what’s missing. It’s usually only confronted later in life. Or after trauma. Questions like:

“Why am I doing this?”

“What is the reason I am here?”

True purpose and meaning in life comes from a clear “Why.”

The good thing is that a clear ‘Why’ makes the ‘What’ easier to define. With clarity comes ease of decision making.  It’s easier to say no to time wasting activities that slowly bleed you dry.

Finding your ‘Why’ is hard. No advice or process makes it easy.

One way to start is to identify the things that you care about. The health and safety of you and your family must be a priority. But what about giving life meaning? It has nothing to do with the accumulation of wealth or how good looking you are. Or even how good you are at your sport. These are all fun and do give you a heightened sense of self in the short term. But internal struggles continue even if you are surrounded by wealth and success. The rich and famous get depressed as much as the majority (sometimes more).

Now having said all of this, the urgency is not on ‘The Why’. You really can put it off. All you do is lose yourself in a flurry of activity and accumulation of stuff. The days and years roll by.

But ‘The Why’ will become very important to you one day.

One day you will stop in your tracks and contemplate ‘The Why’.

This, I guarantee.

Ready to start thinking?

Here are some resources to get you thinking of ‘The Why’:

My personal ‘Page Of Meaning’

An article on regrets

A great Minimalist Living website