The Meaning Of Life
Dr Thanh-Tam Pham - 8/6/2020
What is the meaning of life? It is a difficult question as it seems that life has no meaning as everyone who is born will die sooner or later. Whatever we achieve with great difficulty and hardship in life, we have to leave them all at the end.
Our identity is formed from our upbringing, social environment and mostly from the interaction with others. If we are praised, our self worth is increased and if we had a failure our self worth is diminished. We have an image of ourselves in the eyes of others and we may never see our true worth. This can lead to low self esteem or high esteem and over confidence.
We can see that different people have different gaols and values in life. It could be attaining high social status, great wealth, good achievements, good health or to get married and having children… People have high expectations of themselves and some people may extend their expectations to their children as they believe their children are their possessions or children serve a mean to extend their existence in this life. Such expectations will certainly meet with unhappiness and frustrations.
Some people prefer death by suicide when they lost their fortune, their social status, their loved ones… because there is no more meaning to life.
A lot of people do not realise that all the above extrinsic values are impermanent and sooner or later what they value the most will change or may disappear and their life is empty without any purpose to live for.
When we are born we have a body and a mind that allows us to be conscious about the surroundings through our 5 senses. Our body is a miracle with millions of cells that are born and die every second and each has a specific role to keep us alive and well. The body is very complex with different systems working together in harmony and it is housing millions of living organisms ie bacteria, viruses, fungi like a small universe. But the body degenerates sooner or later whether we like it or not and it is not under our control.
The brain is the most complex structure that controls body movement and allows consciousness to arise. We get information from the surrounding and the mind transforms it into thoughts and emotions. The mind is mostly overactive with thoughts from the past and the future as well as the awareness of the present. The past is gone and we kept thoughts of things that affect us the most so they are very biased and far from the truth. The future does not exist, it is a thought from the imagination. Uncontrolled thoughts from the past will give rise to guilt, sadness, anger and depression. Thoughts from the future will give rise to stress and anxiety.
We only live at the present and the awareness of the present moment will give us an appreciation of the diversity of nature, the beauty of life and the feeling that we are alive and happy. Living at the present is the only way to be in touch with reality as it is, and it prevents psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.
If we focus our consciousness to different parts of our body, we can feel the energy stream flowing in our veins, our muscles and perceive the miracles of our existence, an entity that merge with the Universe.
Awareness of the present without the interference of our thinking, interpreting thoughts will give us peacefulness, wisdom as the information we get in are unbiased and truthful.
We as humans live in a society with constant interaction with other people. Each human being has good and bad seeds in themselves. If we can connect our unbiased consciousness to the true deep consciousness of the other people, we can feel true love as everyone in essence is similar. This will prevent animosity, hatred, killings in this life.
I find that the meaning of life is very simple, just to be and to love that is to be present at the Now and to have an unconditional love toward other beings.