I’ve been feeling a bit meaningless lately. Not necessarily depressed, or sad about life. I enjoy living a lot, the thing is I have been thinking about the meaning of my life a lot lately. The meaning of my work, of myself to the people around me, and the meaning of life in general.
Again and again, I find myself ending this train of thought on the same answer. Life has no meaning. And I have no real purpose in life.
Which made me question if there is any meaning to life at all. Not just that, but a wave of purpose-driven individuals has risen all around the world. People like Jay Shetty who has a purpose to make wisdom go viral. Bill Gates has a purpose to eradicate major diseases from the face of the earth.
And then there is us. ‘Normal’ human beings. Who have no large life purpose? Although I have a big dream, and with that a purpose for Today I Lived, I don’t feel particularly meaningful. But does that mean that we haven’t found our purpose yet? Or is life meaningless?
Purpose in Part of Our Lives
So what about people who have a big purpose to inspire millions of people? Or want to get wisdom to go viral? Don’t they have a purpose for their lives? They do name it that way, and they do say that their purpose is to get rid of depression, or their purpose is to be the biggest company in the world, etc.
All big dreams, which they have altered into their lives purpose. Yet that begged the question with me. What if they were unable to work at that life purpose? What if they wouldn’t have the ability to inspire others, or build that company anymore? Then the purpose of their lives fades away as well.
Maybe the thing that looks like a purpose, isn’t a purpose in life.
Maybe the thing that looks like a purpose, isn’t a purpose in life. It’s more their goal at work to make a change for the better. The thing they do, that both makes them money, and makes a change in the world. In that part of their lives, which is the work part, they have a purpose. But outside that, when they drink a glass of water in the morning their purpose isn’t to inspire millions of people with that glass of water. All they do is drink a glass of water.
They are just as human as you and me. So life isn’t completely meaningless. We can find meaning in parts of it. Like work, friendships, family, environment, etc. Yet not all of it. We can’t have meaning for everything. It would make life exhausting. To find meaning in filling your bottle with water, or typing an email, or just saying good morning to your colleague, would be tiring
We have a purpose in parts of our lives. At least we can find that purpose, and I might touch on that in a different article on how to find that purpose. Yet that’s not what made me feel like life is meaningless. It’s life in general. All of it. From the moment you were born to the moment you die. All the small moments. From waking up, sleeping, listening to music, gaming with friends, love relationships, and all the rest. All the parts of our lives together, life as a whole to me feels meaningless.
In the end, we all die. In the end, we all end up the same. Does that meaningless life mean we have no purpose, and therefore no way to feel fulfilled?
Fulfilment vs Desire
We can find meaning in parts of our lives, like work, our friendships, or family relationships. Do you see the correlation between all of these? It is you in relation to something or someone. Let me explain. There’s always a relationship with someone or something to make you feel meaningful and fulfilled.
- Being of purpose in your work means you are meaningful to someone who consumes your work, or who is benefitting from it. Like your boss, your colleagues, or your audience.
- Being purposeful in your relationship with friends means you are meaningful for your friends. You help them out, you listen to them, you have fun with them.
- Being purposeful to make a change for nature on this planet means you are of meaning for the world. Which is a relationship again. You are taking care of plants, taking the bike more often than the car, etc. You are meaningful to nature that way.
All these give you a sense of meaning, and purpose because you are of value to someone or something else. That makes you feel good. You are fulling a part of you that wants to be meaningful. But you, on yourself, sitting, sleeping, eating, drinking, is that meaningful as well?
There’s always a relationship with someone or something to make you feel meaningful and fulfilled.
I started to think about this and concluded that we first need to understand why all these other things feel meaningful and fulfill us. The three I listed above, all give you a good feeling, they give you a sense of purpose, and fulfillment, all because you did something for the better. That makes you feel good. I was trying to find that sense of purpose as well, to be of meaning to the world.
That meant I started looking for it, understanding myself, and my past. I found my purpose, which I now know is my work purpose, to help as many young adults feel more alive. But if we want to find our purpose, and see it as something incredibly important in our lives, we are looking for an outcome, some form of achievement.
You see, the moment you feel like life MUST have meaning, you are looking for a result.
You see, the moment you feel like life MUST have meaning, you are looking for a result. An outcome. Which is to feel that sense of meaning. You are looking to achieve that feeling by uncovering yourself, and your past. If you find your purpose you feel meaningful, and that is the result you were looking for. But that need to be meaningful is nothing more than a desire, the desire to achieve something.
I looked up to people like Jay Shetty who have a purpose to reach billions of people with ageless wisdom. I thought that these goals gave life meaning but, and this is gonna sound pessimistic just hang in there I will turn this around, this is nothing but a desire to achieve a goal in life. For Jay Shetty, that goal is to reach billions of people. Now his goal is a goal that betters the world. Yet it’s not the purpose of life. It’s just his work purpose. Yet the moment he gets home and starts living his life outside of work it is just like the life you and I are living. Which lit a lightbulb in my head. This is where the pessimistic, maybe depressing tone of this story is gonna turn around.
Is This The Purpose of Life?
What do we all have in common when we do ordinary things in life. Like eating, drinking, sleeping, doing the dishes, washing the car, or going for a walk? Exactly, we experience life. We experience parts of life, ordinary parts of it, but still parts of life. Just as much part of it as our work, and relationships in life. All of this keeps you alive.
That’s it. That’s what flicked the switch in my brain. All these things we do, are just to experience. They have no larger purpose. To be honest it doesn’t matter if you help a lot of people or just one. It doesn’t matter if you stop traveling by plane to save the planet or start a company that creates the first renewable fuel source. Yes, it’s great to better the world and the lives of others. But in the end, we all die, whether that be tomorrow, or all at once because of a big asteroid hitting the earth.
no matter what we do it has a purpose. Which is the purpose to experience life.
These things are just things we do, and when we die they don’t matter anymore. Now that might sound like a grim thought, yet I don’t think it is. Because this means that no matter what we do it has a purpose. Which is the purpose to experience life. In every moment. You drinking a glass of water is meaningful, because you are giving birth to the essence of life. Every moment again. When you are on the toilet you are meaningful. When you sleep you are meaningful. Why? Because you are alive, you experience life.
You make most of every minute. That’s what made me realize that yes the purpose to help others and make a change for the better is amazing. But it’s just part of life, there are many hours to live outside of that purpose. If we do not find meaning in just living, all we will do is fulfill some desire within us. A desire to be meaningful to the world. Or a desire to be kind. Or a desire to help others in need.
Yet I feel that if we start at the base. At the essence. The true purpose of life. All we do will be good for the world.
These are all great things, but still, you do them out of a desire to be meaningful. Not for the act itself. Yet I feel that if we start at the base. At the essence. The true purpose of life. All we do will be good for the world.
If we fully experience life and see that this is the essence of it all. That you just living is all you need to be doing. You’ll see that you won’t do any harm. If you are fully indulged in the experience of life, and see that as the only meaning of life, you will see that it is beautiful. And you won’t want to damage beauty, do you?
Things like drinking tea in the morning make you feel wonderful. Reading a book makes you feel alive. But also grieving over the loss of something or someone makes you feel alive. Or feeling your anger towards someone or something makes you feel alive. We don’t express that anger in a harmful way, we just feel it, and experience it. Observe what it is telling us, and why it is happening. Experiencing things as they are, makes them wonderful. It dissolves the separation of the ego and the soul. We become one. One with life.
We experience it fully. The moment you see that the meaningless of everything we do in life, can result in the meaning of just experiencing, you want to give that to others. You want them to experience life fully as well.
The moment you see that the meaningless of everything we do in life, can result in the meaning of just experiencing, you want to give that to others. You want them to experience life fully as well.
That’s how you will do good. You don’t need to have a purpose in your life that you go looking for, that gives your life meaning. You, being alive, fully, making the most of it, experiencing it. That’s a purpose, that’s meaning. From that, you will be meaningful to others, and the world. Cause you’ll start to see the uselessness of everything that does the world, yourself, and others harm.
Like buying a lot of stuff it is useless because it will never make you feel alive and in that, you will destroy the natural environment of the earth. Or striving for a lot of money, will not make you feel alive. And in return, you’ll exploit people, nature, and things, in order to be rich. All of this, which might at first feel meaningful, is meaningless the moment you see that all that matters is to live life to the fullest.
Experience it all. You will see that you become love. It’s not something to put into words. I cannot describe it to you. But living, without separation in any form. But fully being aware of life, that is love. Not love you can give. You are love. And when you are love everything you experience you will respond to it with love. So be love.
Not by doing, buying, or changing anything. But simply by living every day as it is, to the fullest of your awareness.
Now that’s purpose. The experience of life, that’s enough. To see a flower and do nothing but see it. Observe it, smell its fragrance. To eat your food at dinner and do nothing but eat. Taste its spices, feel its texture. To be with friends, listen to them, laugh with them, and do nothing more than be with them. That gives meaning to your life. The experience itself, not an outcome, reward, or achievement. Just the moment itself is enough to be meaningful. Life itself is enough to say today I lived! I made the most of it.
If you want to experience more clarity on the meaning of life and transform your life, by starting on a journey of self-discovery. To learn how you can tap into your inner wisdom, and understand life. So that you can feel more alive. To experience life fully. Then I want to invite you to listen to the Just Now Podcast. The Just Now podcast is a place for you to just be for a moment. To feel, experience, and understand what it means to be alive. The episodes all give extra clarity on topics discussed in the articles I write through short mindful guided meditations and reflective questions. Serving as a daily check-in to yourself.
I hope to speak to you there, for now, remember today you live! Make the most of it.