~ In for a good, long read?
No matter how you look at it, life is strange. Very strange.
For example: its an indisputable fact that we are all made of the precise same substance as the most intelligent, creative, magnificent life-forms in the entire universe. Furthermore, we are composed of the exact same atomic matter as the mightiest mountains on this planet and the brightest stars in the galaxy.
Of course, this is also true for potatoes, snails, and meatloaf- perhaps that's why there's so much about life that doesn't make a great deal of sense.
Why are we so overly impressed by and obssessed with objects and achievements of immense scale, when it is actually the tiny little things that, when put together, make big things possible?
Why do we get so hung up on what we don't agree on, when in fact it's our differences that make life interesting?
After all, half the world is upside down, so there's absolutely no reason why we would agree on everything. Even something as basic and profound as "Don't chew with your mouth open" is not as widely accepted as you might think.
Why do we feel drawn together as a species, yet we steadily build up defensive barriers around our innermost feelings and beliefs so we can never be truly close to anyone?
Perhaps the confusion arises because life is not always what it seems. As a species we are obssessed with superficial appearance. We all have filters on, so we mostly see only what we want to see. When you finally open your eyes, you may be shocked at the obscured way you have been veiwing the world to suit you own little plans.
With those filters removed, you can take a closer look into yourself and ask objective questions about the universe and your place in it. In other words, investigate the meaning of life.
So what is life all about? Well, you often hear that "life is a journey," but a journey to where exactly? Some people say that life is all about acquiring knowledge.
There are those who say that life has no purpose; it just "is". Whoa! That's just so "deep"!
Then there are the people who say that we're simply here to have a family. After all, the desperate need to replace ourselves is etched into the genetic map of every living thing. However, this means that our entire existence is driven by our primitive sexual urges. Okay, sure, a long weekend maybe, but our entire existence? I don't think so.
In fact I'll let you in on a little secret...
ALL THESE IDEAS SOUND WRONG.
The only theme that resonates throughout the numerous popular life theories is love. Love, in all its fragile forms, is the one powerful, enduring force that brings real meaning to our everyday lives.
Of Course, I'm not talking about romantic, "kissy-kissy" love, although that is pretty powerful stuff in itself. It's well documented that a broken heart feels far more painful than squeezing lemon juice over a deep paper cut.
But the love I mean is the fire that burns inside us all, the inner warmth that prevents our soul from freezing in the winters of despair. It's the love of life itself.
It's the voice that says "Celebrate Life! Be creative!" It brings with it the passion and understanding that some things in life are worth dying for, but there is so much more worth living for. This love of life leads us to help others simply because it feels great to contribute to those around us. But as good as it sounds, and as much as "you're here to live the life you love" rings true, it still brings up a whole pile of sticky questions.
Specifically: Why exactly are you here? What is it that you truly love?
People who don't ask themselves these questions invariably go through life wondering why it isn't a lot more fun.
They often feel left behind or they can't quite put it into words, but they sense something just smells funny. The truth is that often we're so focused on what we are doing that we lose sight of where we are going.
But what are we actually doing? The modern world is filled with questionable distractions, deadlines and priorities. Day and night blur into one. We get caught up in an avalanche of fears and desires that propel us into a race we can't possibly win. So we rush, rush, rush to get a certain ideal point in our life, and then what?
It's just like when you drive all the way to the store, get out of the car and then can't remember what you came for.
So many of us start off dreaming about a wonderful life that is wild and free, but that's usaully a long way from where we actually end up. Sadly, we often discover this fact right at the end, when it's too late. You can't start all over again.
And let me tell you, there are some awfully bad feelings in this world. Like "bubbles in the bath" guilt, "pungent foot odor in the shoe store" embarrassment, and "I can't believe I did that on the first date" anxiety.
But of all the awful feelings that make you feel sick to your stomach, nothing feels half as bad as knowing you had a chance to do what you truly love, and you didn't take it. So what is your life passion? What were you put on this earth to do? The answer to these questions will unlock the great mystery of life; it's as big as they come.
Here are a few hints to get on the right track:
First, no one is going to tell you about it. It's like walking around all day with a sign on your back that says, "Kick Me". You must discover it for yourself.
It's also highly unlikely that one day you'll suddenly be bathed in bright light and your life's purpose will be laid out in a divine vision, and it's guaranteed that you won't find it on television.
The best way is to spend some quality time alone, asking yourself the tough questions. This exercise is not that hard, and it's all about being honest. It's as easy as "Raise your hand if you feel you could get more out of life." It's also about getting to the essence of what really matters. Never mind who moved your cheese- ask yourself why you were looking for cheese in the first place!
For some people this will simply be a case of seeking out the moments in their life that are beautiful and true and then building a plan around them. For others it may feel like staring into an abyss.
In extreme cases, such intense introspection may cause the brain to swell to dangerous dimensions. Trust me, it's worth the risk. If you ask the big questions and listen carefully to your heart, you will eventually hear a destiny call you.