Lanie: Some indigenous cultures believe we’re alive just as nature is alive: to be here, to be beautiful & strange

Western cultures believe we must be alive for a purpose. to work, to make money. Some indigenous cultures believe we’re alive just as nature is alive: to be here, to be beautiful & strange. We don’t need to achieve anything to be valid in our humanness.

lanie@melatoninlau on Twitter

Yes, the idea of purpose seems very ingrained in western culture. We need to have a purpose, and we find a sense of purpose through work, raising a family, being productive, working on ourselves, evolving spirituality, making ourselves good enough for a better afterlife, and so on.

The reality is that any sense of purpose comes from our own ideas about it. It’s not inherent in life. And we don’t need it to have a sense of inherent value.

I suspect that this need for a sense of purpose comes from disconnection. The more disconnected we are from ourselves and the wider world, the more we experience a sense of lack, and the more we wish to fill it – including through a sense of purpose.

The more connected we are – with our inner and outer world – the more we are just living our life. We notice we are life living this life. The need for purpose falls away.

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Is there a meaning to everything?

Any belief can be helpful for a while and in some ways, and they also come with drawbacks. Eventually, the drawbacks of a belief tend to outweigh the benefits.

I use “belief” here to mean any story we – at any level – hold as true.

One of these stories is that there is a purpose or meaning to anything that’s happening. It’s somehow orchestrated for our purpose, to help us learn, grow, heal, and awaken.

It’s a belief that can have several benefits. It can help us look for gifts in what’s happening. It can help us look for ways to learn from it, grown, heal, and mature. We can even use it as a support in awakening. (Finding ourselves as the presence the experience happens within and as, and also the identifications making this difficult to notice.)

Eventually, this belief may be less needed. We may have created a new habit of learning, healing, growing etc. from what happens in life. We may see that we don’t need that belief as a support since relating to life in this way has its own rewards.

The belief may even be less helpful, depending on how we take it and where we are in our life. It can lead to a more fatalistic attitude, and it can lead to passivity rather than being an engaged and good steward of our life.

I am not addressing whether there is purpose or meaning to what happens in life. That’s a complex question, and it doesn’t really matter that much. What matters is how we see it, and whether how we see it is helpful or less helpful for us.

That said, here are a couple of thoughts on the topic:

Meaning and purpose is created by our mind. It’s not inherent in life.

Also, whenever we have hangups, trauma, or blind spots, our perceptions and actions are colored by it. And that tends to give us experiences that shows us these hangups, traumas, and blind spots. Our colored perception itself reflects these hangups, and our actions creates situations for us reflecting them back to us as well.

It’s a cause and effect dynamic that shows us what’s left, and what needs healing, maturing, and to be perceived in the context of awakening. In that sense, there is a meaning to everything. Life does invite us to heal, mature, and wake up in any situation and always. It’s built into life.

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Meaning and purpose in life

Some folks in the non-dual world are skeptical to words such as meaning and purpose. They may say just do inquiry on it, or it’s all made up by the mind, or it doesn’t exist.

To me, that seems a little one-sided.

It is helpful to do inquiry on meaning or purpose. I get to see how my mind creates its own experience of meaning and purpose (Living Inquiries). I get to question stressful thoughts (The Work). The charge and stress tends to go out of it, or is at least softened.

At the same time, I find it equally helpful – and enriching – to have a sense of meaning and purpose in my life in a conventional sense. To have a direction, something I am passionate about, something that has meaning for me and is aligned with my values and interests.

As usual, the two are not mutually exclusive or opposed to each other. They work together.

Examining my ideas of meaning and purpose tends to soften or release the stress in it. And finding meaning and purpose in an ordinary everyday sense gives me a sense of direction life.

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Bentinho Massaro: Trust that there is intention, benefit and purpose

Trust that there is intention, benefit and purpose behind everything that happens for you.

– Bentinho Massaro

A few things comes up for me on this topic:

This pointer is an antidote to a certain conventional view, (a) of seeing the universe as inherently meaningless, random and indifferent, and (b) not questioning our ideas of misfortune, unfairness, wrongness and so on. Taken as true, it can be a temporary and welcome comfort. Taken as a pointer, it can lead to helpful inquiry.

This pointer in itself has shortcomings, and is up for being questioned. Holding it as inherently true can lead to complacency, letting things slide, and not being a good steward of our life.

As usual, there are several layers here. I can find how the conventional view of misfortune and indifference is valid. I can find the validity in how there is intention, benefit and purpose behind everything that happens for me. I can find specific, real and honest examples of each. And I can find where all of these stories are an overlay, and not inherent in life.

Also, I remember how the intention and purpose behind everything seemed very clear and obvious to me during the initial awakening phase, as if a veil had fallen from my eyes. And then later how this too was recognized as stories.

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Life’s purpose

What’s the purpose of life, life with capital L, also known as reality, the universe, God?

In a way, it’s a silly question since “purpose” is only created in thought. It’s not inherent in reality.

And yet, some stories can be helpful as a way of balancing a habitual view. For instance, the purpose of life is for life to experience itself in always new ways. That fits with what we see and observe, and it gives a sense of the creativity and openness we see in life. It’s aligned with what we already see, which is that life allows what’s here in it’s infinite variety. It also fits with the idea of evolution.

If that’s a very basic purpose, there are also other layers of purpose. For instance, a though may say that the purpose of life, and specifically the life we know, is to bring what’s here into awareness. For life to discover and become conscious of what’s really here. And that happens through curiosity, sometimes combined with guidelines and tools such as meditation and inquiry. This pointer helps us release possibly stressful ideas of what the purpose may be, such as be happy, or successful, or being a good person, or maturing, or awakening, or something even more abstract. Just noticing what’s here, with some curiosity and sincerity, is much more concrete and manageable.

So here we have three facets of this question. (1) It’s a meaningless question since purpose can only be found in a thought. It’s not inherent in reality. (2) A very basic purpose of life is to experience itself in always new ways, and in it’s infinite variety and inherent creativity. (3) Another layer of purpose, perhaps more specific to our human life, is for life to bring itself into awareness, for life as it’s happening here to bring itself into awareness. What’s really here? What do I find when I look? What’s more real for me than my initial images and thoughts about what’s here?