The Meaning Of Life
By Henk Schram
People occasionally ask me: "You think you know the answer to everything. So what's the meaning of life then, huh?!"
Now, obviously, during my relatively short time here on this plane of existence, I have asked myself about the meaning of life too. But first, let me make one thing clear: I have no intention of being a 'guru' who has all the answers. Nor would I ever pretend that I know the answer to anyone's questions. In fact, those who are pretending they know the answer to everything there is to ask, are merely confirming that they don't. And that's because no one has the answer to anyone's questions. Only you have the answer to your particular questions.
So anyway, I've been asking myself 'the questions of life' from an early age... I actually went through puberty pondering about the meaning of life. Am I crazy or what? I guess that's what you get when you become aware of the fact that you're growing up with two younger brothers who both have a mental/intellectual handicap, one of whom is also autistic to top it off, while I myself was apparently gifted with the intellectual abilities that allowed me to roll through grammar school and get me two university degrees without much trouble, on educational fields that I didn't even like.
In a situation like that, you're bound to ask questions... I mean: Am I just lucky? Who the hell am I anyway? What the hell are we all doing here anyway? What the hell is the meaning of life?
And then we look for others to answer our questions. Religious leaders, political leaders, professors, 'smart asses,' and so on... But for me personally, none of these has ever been able to give me a satisfactory answer. So for years (even at my young age) I kept pondering, giving myself a hard time because everything I did with my life seemed so insignificant. But I kept doing what I was doing, while wondering why the hell I was doing it anyway... And I can tell you one thing:
Devoting your life to doing what you really don't want to do, while not seeing any perspective or purpose in what you're doing, does not uplift the spirit! In fact, the whole thing became rather depressing, and even started manifesting in some 'physical' health issues. And that's when it suddenly occurred to me... through a song I heard (ironically titled "The Answer"):
Oh, the answer lies beyond the pain
All the questions in our minds, we surely ask in vain
It suddenly occurred to me that there is no one answer to all the questions of life. After all, how could there be? Every new answer I found brought up a new question. Put differently, "all the questions in my mind, I surely asked in vain..."
And I'll tell you one thing: This realization was one of the most liberating experiences in my life. Because it also made me 'realize' the most liberating realization of all... Which also happened to be "the answer" to the question of "the meaning of life"... So guess what my answer was...
LIFE HAS NO MEANING!
"What, are you crazy? Shut him up, there must be a meaning to life!" No really, there's no meaning... Let me tell you:
LIFE HAS NO MEANING. YOU BRING MEANING TO LIFE!
That's right. You can keep asking questions (in vain), and never find anything but new questions... Because "the answer" won't come from anywhere but within yourself. Once you release the pain, anger, guilt, frustration, or whatever it is that's holding you back... you'll know what'll bring meaning to your life.
Once again, we're not trying to be the 'gurus with all the answers' here. As I said, people pretending to know it all are just confirming that they don't. Sure, we may be smart asses, but we don't necessarily have the "concrete answer" to your questions. All we're trying to do is give you the right tools and knowledge to get you to think for yourself, and then make you come up with your own answers.
It's usually at this stage that people ask me: "So what should I do with my life then? What'll bring meaning to my life?"
Well, ask yourself that! I don't know what makes you happy, what makes you feel fulfilled, or what gives you a purpose. Only you know that! And don't come up with something like not knowing what you really want... You know what you want! You're just afraid to admit it...
So come on, admit it. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. This is about you. It's about your life! We're programmed to think that making yourself a priority in life is selfish. It isn't, especially if you use the benefits that come to you for the benefit of others.
So here's a thought: Bring meaning to your life. That's how you live on purpose instead of 'at random.' And that's how you'll make yourself happy. As that song "The Answer" concludes:
Now I know the answers never meant a thing
And with each instant that I breathe, I feel the joy that life can bring
Come along with me, come along with me
Seek the truth, you shall not find another lie
Come along with me, come along with me
Seek the truth, and you will find another life