The MONTHLY Motivator - May 2021
Live with meaning
What makes life meaningful? What makes life meaningful for you, for those you care about? Every day you’re faced with lots of choices, opportunities to steer your life in one particular direction or another. So what’s the best direction to choose, and why? You’ve already invested a great amount of time, energy, thought, and effort in your life. You’ve made plenty of sacrifices. You’ve paid what’s been asked of you. You’ve endured difficulties and even times of pain. So what is it, what goal, what dream, what ambition, what objective will give sufficient meaning to all the demanding days you’ve already experienced, and to all that are sure to come?
The easy, obvious answer is to live for pleasure in the moment. Our modern world is filled with opportunities for pleasurable experiences of every kind. If you’re willing to put forth a bit of effort on a reliable basis, you can earn enough money to indulge your desire for all sorts of pleasures. Even during the recent pandemic which is now hopefully on the wane, plenty of people managed to enjoy good food, drink, and entertainment without even leaving their homes.
Such a life of endless pleasure sounds enticing. And for that reason a whole lot of people pursue it with reckless abandon. Yet that enticement exists only in concept. The actual experience of such a life, especially when taken to an all-consuming extreme, is not so wonderful after all. Because the meaning is just not there. Sure, there are plenty of details and dramas, even challenges and amusing complexities in a life of continuous consumption. But there’s nothing good about it that lasts. Momentary pleasure, by very definition, does not endure. And when the moment is over you are more empty than you were before. Because not only is the pleasure gone, but you soon realize that pleasure alone will never satisfy the ache you have to live with meaning and purpose. It’s akin the the hopelessness of a rich person who is miserable. An impoverished person who is miserable can at least hope that material wealth will bring happiness. That hope is not available to a rich person.
Though it may never be possible to objectively pinpoint why or where it comes from, the fact is you have an ambition that goes beyond yourself. It’s a desire that can never be satisfied by heaping empty pleasures upon your own life experience. The only way to fulfill that desire is to live beyond yourself. In ways that are difficult to articulate but impossible to ignore, you are connected to all that is, all that has been, and all that will be.
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