Many years ago I attended a weekend workshop in London where the key question being addressed was ‘What is the Meaning of Life?’
There were probably about 250 people and we sat in long rows listening to a very dynamic, charismatic teacher guiding us through all kinds of interesting stuff. One of the most powerful things I learned was the distinction between ‘what happens’ and ‘what we make it mean’. That was an eye opener and food for thought without a doubt, but that was just the starter.
The main course was to finally understand what the meaning of life was. It was one of those ‘and the meaning of life is……. to be revealed after the break!’ So after the break, I was on the edge of my seat, pen and paper ready for the big reveal. This was it. ‘There is no meaning to life’. Yep, you read right ‘There is no meaning to life’.
After an initial hushed silence there was uproar in the room, followed by a very heated four hour exchange between the teacher and a group of outraged Dutch Christians. For me though the revelation was a huge moment of liberation and amusement. I nearly laughed myself off the chair.
Why was I impacted that way and not outraged? Because the way I interpreted this was that if there was no meaning to life, then the only meaning would be what I gave it. The liberation came from the absolute realisation that I had …..CHOICE! In that moment I remember visualising a giant blank canvas on which I could paint whatever I wanted. Oh the joy!
It’s an analogy I use frequently. When I was preparing to move to France a number of people asked me ‘What are you going to do there?’ and my genuine reply is ‘I don’t know. I just have a few brushstrokes on the canvas but no idea what the finished painting will look like’ (not sure I even want a finished painting!)
Which is probably a good thing as it allows me the freedom and headspace to either be creative and let things unfold, or maybe just do NOTHING. Now that would be a revelation!
So what do you think about this meaning of life stuff?
Do you feel outraged like the Dutch Christians; a similar sense of ‘Woo-Hoo’ liberation; a bit confused, or just not fussed?
Please leave your comments below. I’d love to hear.
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Angie Deegan says
I am thinking how wonderful to move to France!
I look back and say a huge Thank you to you for your support and for inspiring me with your monthly thoughts. You are truly amazing!
I do hope your change of scenery will enrich your experiences and free up some more great ideas and thoughts for you and ultimately all your readers!
With love and warm thoughts
Akasha Lonsdale-Deighton says
How lovely to hear from you Angie and thank you for your kind words, and wishes. I am so glad that everything has worked out so well and am delighted if I helped along the way. 🙂