This is a continuation of some of my thoughts on the question of meaning I wrote about in the previous post, part one. However, this part was written first so the flow from one to the other could have been smoother, but I think you will be able to find the thread.
What to do with this life? I have been haunted by that question ever since I asked it.
As years add up and I grow older so does my concern. What will I do with this life? There are so many options.
Do you feel the weight of the choice? If so, this meditation is written for you.
There are so many options. Almost impossible to choose from. How am I to choose? What constitutes a meaningful pursuit? Will I ever regret what I have chosen?
You pass through the day not able to tell whether you are moving closer to the place you should be moving towards. Maybe there is no such place. Maybe we should take our abilities, natural gifts, strengths of character, and combine them with our desires, see what options result from this unique combination and then make a choice to commit.
Right, it’s not so easy, I know that very well. First of all, choosing to commit is not some quick whim of a decision that you make about what clothes you are going to wear today, the choice is a result of a meticulous thought and consideration over a long period of time where you are often unsure whether you have even reached a decision, or you are still floating in the sea of doubt.
But let’s suppose you have made your decision, you set your mind to doing something. If you are at all serious about this goal you will form a plan you will execute on.
And so you struggle, you work every day in pursuit of whatever you have set your mind to. A month goes by, half a year goes by and things begin to get tougher. Maybe you have gained some momentum, but you slip, you fail to be as committed as you would wish to be, and it is often around this time that the recurring thought enters your mind yet again. You ask yourself, “Is this really the thing I want to pursue? Is this the thing I want to dedicate my life to?”
The anxiety of choice Kierkegaard spoke about falls back on you, you feel paralyzed by the sight of all the different directions your life can go in. Have you really made the right choice?
“You know I think I found something better, something more valuable, more worthy of my time and effort.”
The process of finding your path, of finding your way is even more difficult when you look for something you will consider yet more meaningful. You will be stuck in this constant cycle, never really sticking to what you have chosen to pursue.
There are many bad choices to make, and it is good to have an allowance for bad choices. But from my experience, when you have dug deep, when you tried some things already when you looked into your soul and mind and heart and found what your essence yearns for, then you will fall back on it every time you start to question what you are doing at that time.
The problem is that we will never know whether the path we chose is the best path for us. We have to make a choice at the end of the day, we cannot stay in this limbo state of inactivity, while the world goes its way. You can always look for something similar in significance and ask yourself whether you would be better off if you turned your attention to this path. But what I have learned and already mentioned is that this turning away often happens when you are unable to cope with all the hard work your goal requires. Especially when you set your dreams high and are able to see all the people who have failed along that path, you begin to ask yourself whether you shouldn’t rather play it safe, to change the game. The truth is any kind of success will be a matter of luck and an extreme amount of hard work, but if the path makes sense to you, if you can justify your existence with this pursuit even if you don’t fully reach the goal, even if the impact you were hoping to have will be limited to a smaller scale, even if that happens and you can say it was worth it, then no sight of failure should scare you.
But I know how you feel, I am scared too. Life is a game. We have to play the game, have fun with it. I know the anxiety this choice brings, and yet I have to make that choice, I have to make that leap, I have to commit. The alternative, staying in the limbo state, not doing anything, is an assured waste of life, whereas making the leap, committing to what seemed like to truest path for you to take on might just work out.
Some thoughts I had on this topic earlier:
These questions haunt me every single day, and I see no way to escape them, only to commit to what I think is the best course of action at the time. What else can I do anyway?
I float through time, sit in class, listen to the words of people around me and yet I don’t have this fundamental question answered. I have a need for something more, something I can put inside and fill myself with, something that will propel me to action and will never cease to do so. I often have glimpses of such a sentiment, when the truth experientially entrenched in my mind takes shape in the form of words on a blank sheet of paper. There are few things that compare to its profundity, that make me feel more in touch with my inner essence, with my purpose.
I want to live in this moment, I want to prolong the profundity of the experience, I want to spread the truth my mind haunts me with, I want to offer it to the world for consideration, I cannot be silent. I have to go on writing I have to give shape to the images reflected, glimpsing, appearing in my mind, otherwise I will cease to be, I will cease to be who I am to be.
Regardless of all the doubt and anxiety, I fall back on the truth that rests in me. When I write with the motivation to help others to squeeze the shit out of life, to see its beauty and complexity, I feel aligned with myself.
So think deep, dig, and then get out there and commit. We have to commit. I hope, you and I will be able to persevere.
It is time to fight for what we came here to do.
“Begin today, no matter how feeble the light, let it shine as best as it may. The world may need just that quality of light which you have.” Henry C. Blinn
If you want to read some of my other thoughts on the question of meaning you can do so here.