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The Meaning of Life

“People say that we’re searching for the meaning of life. I don’t think that’s it at all. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”~Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth

I’m with Joseph Campbell on this one. I don’t think that most people want to understand the meaning of life intellectually, but want to experience meaning by being fully alive. I have discovered what gives my life meaning. The best way that I know how to do that is to give and receive love-love of family, friends, nature, learning, ourselves, and everything around us. It is a challenging way of conducting our life, but I do believe that the secret of life is to become a more loving human being. Holding our life’s purpose as becoming a more loving person is the most direct way I know to experience fulfillment.

We can survive without a sense of purpose in our lives, but we can’t thrive and experience a deep sense of well-being. Discovering our purpose is the inner compass that gives meaning to our behavior and provides us with the sense that our time spent on the earth serves a greater end than the satisfaction of our own personal desires. As we live our commitment to become a more loving person, our purpose expands our identity from that of a small insignificant entity whose existence doesn’t much matter in the overall scheme of things to that of a valuable contributor to something far greater than that. When we are grounded in a sense of purpose, we don’t just believe that what we do matters, but that who we are does.

We are all challenged to know what we’re passionate about, and what enlivens us, what our path with heart is and to deeply know ourselves. We cannot experience happiness if we’re living out a script that someone else put in our hands. Our parents, lovers, religions, spouse etc. will surely try. We’re challenged to know ourselves well enough to know what resonates, and what is true, and then to go on to cultivate the courage to live that life. That truth is likely to meet with disapproval from others. In our highly materialistic culture, where success is defined as money, power, and status, we may find ourselves swimming up stream to define success as the depth and breadth of our loving relationships. We’re challenged to discover if giving and receiving love is true for us. It will take courage to take a stand for our truth.

But living out of our passion is utterly compelling. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this compelling state the flow state. It occurs when we are so engaged with what gives our life meaning that we have extra energy to commit to what we are doing. When we’re embodying our experience, we feel especially alive, and life is infused with passion. The answer to the question of purpose and meaning isn’t usually available instantaneously. The clues have to do with what experiences bring a sense of passion into our life. People that don’t know what has heart and meaning haven’t yet looked hard enough to answer that question.

We’re all born with gifts that can be strengthened and cultivated by exercising them. But we must use them or lose them. When we are expressing our gifts, we feel like an athlete who is playing “in the zone.” We’re in sync with our natural predispositions. The focus is on the experience of being in the process of doing whatever we are doing; loving, teaching, playing, discovering, acting, learning, relating to whatever it is that brings passion into our lives.

Living with purpose heightens our sense of aliveness, regardless of what the consequences are. And when we’re not living it, nothing feels like it’s quite enough. It always feels like there’s something missing. When we get clear about what brings meaning into our life, it becomes nearly impossible to dishonor the urge to express it.

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Our newest book, That Which Doesn’t Kill Us: How One Couple Got Stronger at the Broken Places,  has just been published by Sacred Life Publishers and been receiving rave reviews. Their story is illuminating, instructive, and deeply inspiring. It has been described as being as compelling and engaging as a page-turning novel. The book contains powerful messages that are embedded in its pages that can serve any couple that desires valuable wisdom which can serve them in facing the inevitable challenges that frequently confront many committed partnerships. The book is available on-line on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. You can also receive a signed copy of That Which Doesn’t Kill Us by ordering directly from Bloomwork by calling (831) 421-9822 or emailing us at [email protected]. The cost is $16.95 plus tax, shipping & handling.

The Meaning of Life

Bloomwork

Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at: www.Bloomwork.com


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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2018). The Meaning of Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/relationship-skills/2018/07/the-meaning-of-life/

 

Last updated: 25 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Jul 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.