First Chop: The power to cut things off – 1st branch
I’ve had some time away to meditate as to what I want to chop off next. Accounts and passwords have been turned off / changed. Things have been packed. Things have been thrown away. Things have been gifted. At the end of the day, they are only things and they only hold a value to the person destined to have them.
From my point of view, the things I’ve spread around were things I’ve bought with the future in mind. Clothes to fit future MaryJane. Books for a MaryJane or another kid to enjoy. Movies and money collected so that I can show them to my future heir.
So what I cut off this time was my hope for such a child. This hurt a lot. It’s a branch of me and in order to heal, I need pruning of the withering dead wood. I’ve cut off my dream of showing a kid my amazing collection of Anime series and movies, thrown away my advanced algebra books I’ve been saving in hopes to do maths with the little one. I’ve realized that what I imagined and what was were two different things. Even if there will be another kid in the future (either through a Virgin Mary conception or through adoption, that kid won’t be me. It won’t have the same tastes, the same ambition and the same determination that fires me up every morning before the alarm clock sounds.
So I’ve had to ask myself. WHAT IS MY PURPOSE NOW?
A life without purpose is a life wasted. There needs to be something I will strive to achieve. I made a list but it looked as sad as a wet biscuit:
- Decorate kid’s room in neutral colours
- Buy a plant – green is good
- Throw away broken bed, wilted flowers from flower bed
These are very short-term goals and while they are easily achievable and involve a little bit of effort and money, they don’t involve “me”.
So I started reading. I ran across an old book I got as a gift (Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen – Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzestrationslag – Man’s search for Meaning for English people)
Written by Viktor Frankl it offers a little bit of insight into what is the meaning of life.
“What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life–daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way.
Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. “Life” does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life’s tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man’s destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response. Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simple to accept fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.
When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden.”
The first and most important point is that we, as humans, need to transcend our own being, to find purpose in a cause that is greater than us. This can be done by:
- Finding or creating a task to fulfil
- By experiencing beauty
- By finding someone to love
- By showing courage in the face of unavoidable suffering
We must acknowledge that the meaning of our lives is constantly changing. It is not found in a singular purpose. You can see that in movies by watching how many characters end up in an existential crisis after achieving their goals, by how many are killed because the purpose they served was negated by its achievement
Luckily we are not tied up to narratives like movie ones which brings me to my final conclusion.
Purpose might not always be clear but because it’s bound by our own free will and the limitlessness of our creativity and inspiration, the meaning and purpose of our lives is an unconditional one and thus is never ceases to be.