The tension of meaning

Visiting the seemingly-opposing views of living a “meaningful life” and a life of “meaninglessness” is one of my favorite and fruitful thought-experiments.

I love to spend time gazing at the stars, realizing that there are billions of them and that I am relatively insignificant as an individual. There is freedom in finding solace with the idea of meaninglessness.

However, if I linger in this mental space too long I begin to feel a detachment from my endeavors (professionally, parentally, in partnership). As my evolutionarily-acquired purpose-driven porpoise-brain (pre-frontal cortex) seeks to make meaning of my position and opportunities in life, I allow myself to be catapulted back toward meaning.

I let the propulsive effect of this built up tension launch me toward a deep investigation of the needs of my world and how I can best apply my efforts as a meaningful & specific component of the vast and interconnected system of existence. Until of course, I find myself “fighting” to make the world a better place and then return to the exercise with the stars (or an ant hill, or field of grass, or the ocean).

Acknowledgment, acceptance, and choice are a powerful combination that align for a meaningless life that is full of meaning.