I’ve been struggling with big meaning-of-life questions lately. Not the scary “Is my life meaningless, Is there a God” kind of existential questioning, but big questions nonetheless. My spirituality is integral to me, so it’s not a question of whether or not my life has meaning. I know that Spirit infuses everything. I know that God is made manifest through me and all physical things.
What I’m trying to figure out is what constitutes a meaningful life. My exploration of simplicity has brought me to a sort of impasse. Do we each have a destiny, something we need to do or accomplish in the world at large? Or do we simply need to be, to experience, to be present with what is in any moment?
I do believe God is sort of reveling in physical manifestation, as he gets to experience physicality through an endless myriad of forms, each one totally unique and different. So, for my life, what does that mean? Does it matter at all what I do with my life? How does any one choice matter more than another? Does it matter whether I accomplish anything, have any outward achievements to show for my years on this earth?
Is my task to simply to be, and anything I do beyond that is really superfluous?
Simplicity ends up being not simple at all. When you’ve pared your life down to the basics you’ve eliminated the mindless distractions, the unquestioned habits and routines. You get off autopilot. Once you’re off autopilot what do you come face to face with but that most terrifying thing--freedom! I believe people are terrified of freedom. They craft lives that are so complex and full that they never need to encounter true freedom. Their scheduled, harried lives disguise the opportunities for choice that lie at every turn. They keep themselves safe from choice and freedom.
I think my angst comes from rubbing up against my freedom. How do you possibly craft a life out of endless choice? There are billions of ways we could allow ourselves to manifest. How do we make even one of those choices knowing there are countless other choices and paths?
How do we live mindfully? How can we keep in mind our freedom and not become paralyzed by it? And if ultimately, one choice doesn’t have any more value than any other choice, what does any of it matter? Do you just go back to mindlessness?
But then, maybe fortunately, we have our natural propensities. Maybe a well-crafted life is just mindfully following your natural propensities as they evolve. Making sure you don’t fall prey to other people’s ideas of what you should be doing, or society’s subtle dictates, but truly following your own inclinations.
Maybe I’m so burdened by these sorts of questions because one of my natural inclinations is towards the life of a contemplative. I’m drawn to the eremitic lifestyle--one of solitude, simplicity, contemplation, meditation, writing, immersing myself in nature. Thinking. Being. Merging with spirit.
The one night the other week a thunderstorm rolled through and half awakened me. There was this weird, literal way I felt the thunder roll across the skies above me and this flash of insight and this quick temporary merging with the storm and thunder. Of course in the morning I couldn’t remember the insight, although it definitely had something to do with oneness. I think it had something to do with manifestation too, some parallel between the way the storm manifests out of nothing, rolls through and is gone, and the way my life and its events unfold.