Marcus Stegmaier

6 May 2018. 


Meaning of Life



Superficially, the meaning of life for man and woman is to have a life partner, a good income to have children, and to live well, to have fun together. But if it does not work out as expected on one or more points, then the question becomes one of deeper meaning.

Man seeks meaning according to his expectations. If one's own life and that of one's loved ones are as one would expect, with health without illness, peace without arguments, happiness without misfortune, prosperity without material need, love without hate, then life seems to make sense. So the meaning that man gives to his life is dependent on the condition that the expectations are fulfilled.

Someone seeks meaning close to God and begins to pray. But man is accustomed to regard God as a human being, like an overly powerful person who is supposed to bring the fulfillment of the expectations in everyday life. And so the relationship with God becomes one great disappointment or too many minor and subtle disappointments. 

Others turn to spirituality. In enlightenment they seek eternal peace and salvation from the disappointments of daily life. Expectations of spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation are high and just as deep is the fall that occurs when you realize that nothing significant has changed in everyday life. 

The refuge in psychology is also common. It is supposed to help one "to give meaning to one's own life", because one considers his work meaningless, recognizes one's relationships as empty and meaningless, and one's hopes for a healthy and contented future in old age are usually not upheld.

Man, the more dissatisfied he is with his life, the more he or she feels threatened by death. The time that still remains to him or her should pass happy and meaningful! The helplessness becomes stronger the older you get. The question of the deeper meaning of life becomes more and more urgent. 

How is it that obviously the superficial meaning that man sees in his life has never led to lasting satisfaction?

The sense of a thing, an action or a relationship is bound to a purpose for the human being. The question is always "What's the use?" This utilitarian attitude involves, often hidden, expectations. An object should fulfill a specific purpose; if it breaks, it is useless. An action, for example, at work, serves a specific purpose, otherwise it is a waste of time.  The purpose of a relationship is considered to get something from the other, in order to be happy, or to make others happy, to enjoy their happiness.

Everything in life is used to achieve a specific purpose. Therefore, the meaning is confused with the purpose. However, the true meaning of life must be completely independent of any purpose, otherwise the meaning of life would be only temporarily meaningful and not absolutely meaningful, for the purpose is sometimes fulfilled, and sometimes not.

If the purpose of an action were the meaning of the action, the purpose would have to exist separately from the action. But the enlightened ones declare that life is a singular continuous flow in which there are no interruptions that would separate an action from its outcome. The meaning of an action must therefore be immanent to the action itself and can not be separated from it. However, an action is just an illusionary reflection of the individual movement of life as light and sound, as the enlightened ones proclaim and Dr. Shankar explained in detail.

What could be the unconditional purpose-free meaning of life? The singlular movement of life is the meaning of life, for the moment in life already exists before man appeared in the moment. The moment contained the manifestation of plants and animals until man was manifested in the moment of life. Plants and animals do not search any meaning in life because they have no thoughts.

Only man has thoughts, including the thought of meaning and meaninglessness. If what man considers to be the meaning of life were really the meaning of life, it would not have existed before, when man was not yet in the moment. But the meaning of life must already have existed before man, otherwise it would not be the absolute meaning of life, but dependent on man, and therefore relative and not absolute. 

It is essential to understand whether the meaning that man gives to everyday life is real or illusionary. What seems meaningful to one is meaningless to the other. The greater the yearning for meaning, the more meaningless everyday life appears. Such is the duality of the mind: a pendulum between opposites. But in fact, the opposites are not separate. What seems meaningfulisminimal meaningless, and what seems meaninglessis minimal meaningful. Meaning and meaninglessness are a continuum from minimum to maximum and not separate from each other as the mind beliefs.  

For example, creating something that is then destroyed again makes sense to it while it is in existence, and the meaning is questioned as soon as it is destroyed. Therefore, the meaning that man gives to life has existed only for a limited time. If you understand this, you also understand that the meaning of life can not be found in the transient. This meaning is always relative and not absolute. And this relative meaning is also transitory and unstable. Relativity and transience are the definition of the illusionary, not of the real, which is eternal, absolute and unchangeable. 

When man understands that his everyday, seemingly meaningful expectations of his fellow man, himself, life, and God are illusory, he understands that the expectation of meaning in life is also illusory. The question of meaning arises from a dissatisfied life, not from a fulfilled life.

A person dies in the way he lives, because dying is a process of life and life is a continuous dying. The satisfied person lives and dies with expectations that have been fulfilled in the past and that he hopes will be fulfilled in the future. The dissatisfied person lives and dies with expectations and fear that they will not be fulfilled, as well as sadness that they have not fulfilled. Common to both is that the meaning of their lives depends on expectations. This is a superficial understanding of meaning that repeatedly leads to doubt, fear and disappointment.

The enlightened one, he or she, lives and dies in the thoughtless Here and the timeless Now. He or she understands that the moment in life is as it is, no matter what the mind assigns to it for meaning. For the enlightened human being, the deeper meaning of his or her life is to be grateful and contented in every moment, with no expectations of what the moment should be. The understanding that man does not make the moment in life, but that man and everything that happens, albeit illusory, is contained in the moment of life reveals that the thoughtless Here and the timeless Now, whether with or without humans in it, was, is and always will be the deeper meaning of life.

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