I was just driving my car yesterday ... dropping my son off at school. And, as I often do, I started pondering the meaning of life. Why exactly are we here? Really ... it happens a lot.
I've read quite a bit on the subject - kept those tidbits that sat right with me, turfed the ones that didn't. I like the thought that the reason to be here is to love. To be loved and to love others. To experience love. It's a nice thought. And it sits well with me.
But our culture has created a frenetic lifestyle that makes us think that the meaning of life is to succeed. We must accomplish something here before we die - or we've failed (I've mentioned this before, I'm sure). The most successful people are the ones with the biggest house and the largest number of cars. It's stupid. After all, as the saying goes "you can't take it with you." But I do believe you can take love with you.
It's a bit morbid, but my son is taking off tomorrow for a trip to Hawaii with his grandparents (Nana and Papa), and sometimes I consider what would happen if there was a tragic accident and he didn't come home. I don't like going there, but sometimes I do (does anyone else think that way, or is it just me??). I can't axe a magnificent trip to Hawaii for my son just because I have anxiety, so I just have to live with these moribund thoughts without acting on them, but it makes me think a bit deeper on things.
So from that thought came the idea of "what would be the point of bringing a child into the world and only having him here for 8 years?" Why do children die? What is the point of life if a child dies before he can do anything of worth? And the answer came to me: The meaning of life is not to accomplish big things - if it were, everyone would accomplish big things and no one would die young. The meaning of life is to LIVE: to love, to share, to support each other and to grow spiritually. How could the meaning of life possibly be to succeed materially? If it were, so many more people would be "successful" and it's relative cultural value would disappear.
Material success is an illusion. It is a false creation that many, in western civilization, have decided is the purpose of all things. But it's empty. There is no true value in it. In fact, reaching beyond one's means for the trappings of wealth so as to impress other people - well, that is the downfall of many. I can't simply shake off my culture, I am part of it, as it is a part of me (I, like anyone else, need money to supply even the basic needs of life - and I like some other stuff, too) - however, I can be aware of it's falsehoods and its weaknesses, and I can remember to focus on what is truly important: love, life, laughter, learning. It truly is the people in your life that are most important.
A simple realization, perhaps, but one I'd like to hang onto.