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Old 01-19-2012, 08:11 PM
 
127 posts, read 176,842 times
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I think it's safe to say that in life we learn many things *after* it can be of any use to us. It also seems that doing your best to be virtuous does not seem to be of much help to our happiness either (since problems always seem to arise out of nowhere, bite you when you least expect it, and we all know about Murphy's Law). Although it's definitely better than being a non-virtuous person.

It seems that we're told to "aim high" while also to be "indifferent of the outcome". No matter how much I wrap my head around it, those two seem to be directly opposed and contradictory to each other, no matter how you try to see how they can be in harmony. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, even the king looked back at his life and described all of his efforts, worries, and achievements as nothing more than "chasing after the wind" (aka an overall meaningless endeavor).

Even after multiple moments where you realize that you've been "born again" and must be grateful of everything you have, our minds start to wander back to how things could be and how we wish them to be instead.

Even the whole "help others" mantra does not seem to make too much sense if you think about, since for instance, let's say you help those around you to learn a new skill. Now you feel great for helping and teaching them, but what happens when they become even better, and replace you? Now you've lost an occupation, and your family suffers as a result of it.

It seems that as we mature, we spend more and more energy trying to prevent bad things from happening, instead of seeking more pleasurable experiences than before. The universe seems so indifferent that it seems like the only way is to accept things the way they are and as they come. But if we just accept things and play the cog in the machine of life, how are we any different from any inanimate object, such as a rock, or a tree?

Last edited by aspiring_natural; 01-19-2012 at 08:21 PM..
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:14 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,740,386 times
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We are different from any inanimate object and from any other animal because of our awareness, our consciousness of ourselves and of the probable or possible future after we are gone. On an ontological level, our eternal nature resides in the genes that we pass on through our offspring. If we have no offspring, or none who survive, any meaningful guidance and help which we have given to others, especially to young people, means that a part of us survives in them. When I was 11, a wise and compassionate scoutmaster reached out to this confused young boy in a way I will never forget. His act lives on in me.

When the transcendant beauty of a work of music or literature touches us deeply, we know that we are somehow different than even very intelligent animals such as chimpanzees and dolphins. We alone, as a species, have unlocked the structure of nature itself through our mathematics and our science, and this, too, is a type of transcendance.
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Old 01-20-2012, 07:51 AM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,487,261 times
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Default What's the meaning of it all?

Actually, I don't care. I live(d) my life as it comes and always have. I've never imputed overmuch meaning to it; just tried to live it well, to accomplish what "good" things I could/can and not agonize or overly ponder the rest. I've had some successes and I've had some failures, both of which I attribute to the "human condition." Some things I've taken joy in and been proud of. Other things I've regretted. However, on balance, I'm glad to have lived this life. Guess that means my cup is at least half full and I'm content.

I also guess I'm just a simple person. I try not to over-think things and am very comfortable with that.
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Old 01-20-2012, 08:22 AM
 
Location: On the brink of WWIII
21,093 posts, read 23,914,063 times
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I suppose this is the philosophical question we all ask ourselves at some time. And there never seems to be an answer.
Some people who would be considered very successful have told me how they envied the way I have lived my live. Yet I have nothing of value and only memories of adventures most only get to dream about.
I know others who have and still are working everyday--and thought they are not wealthy by any means--tell me what a slug I have been and wasted my life.

I see more folks of my generation (boomers) doing more and being active longer than previous generations. I do see more people willing to let go and live. So what is the meaning of it all?

Joy, Love and Hope...because they are so much better than REGRET, ANGER, and JEALOUSY.

And above all else---


You run and you run
To catch up with the sun
But its sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter
never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught
or half a page of scribble lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say


PINK FLOYD

Last edited by zthatzmanz28; 01-20-2012 at 09:39 AM..
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Old 01-20-2012, 08:23 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,172,097 times
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I think most folks believe they are writing the script of their lives as they go along. It may not be a conscious thing . . . but we believe we are making choices that will have fairly predictable outcomes. Yet, very few things actually do have predictable outcomes.

We get married and have children and there is certainly nothing predictable about either of those actions. The marriage may not work out. Parenthood may be much more of a challenge than we had been prepared for - or it may turn out to be the center of our universes.

We prepare for a career . . . even if some of us stumble around a bit b/f getting settled into a job. Nothing is predictable about all that! In fact, we are rarely the Captains of our Universe when it comes to a career . . . too many factors can impinge on our decisions, no matter how carefully we make those decisions.

Personal satisfaction can be left in the wake of responsibilities and demands to simply put food on the table, raise our kids, educate them . . .

So really, when it gets down to it . . . while we may be under the assumption that we are writing the script of our lives . . . we are often reacting to circumstances we would never have devised had we actually been able to control the situations that impact our lives.

In the end, people who find meaning and satisfaction in their lives, regardless of how many dreams came true, how many were altered or how many were eventually just abandoned, is because they have learned to enjoy the small moments and the triumphs of the spirit over even disastrous or heartwrenching circumstances.

We are truly a sum of all our moments. Some of those we create by direct action. Some we simply stumble upon or are thrust into by forces outside ourselves (illness, accidents, loss of loved ones, natural disasters, war, etc). Few lives are not touched in some way, at some point, by sadness and sometimes, devastating events. How we choose to let those moments/situations impact us draws from us what is the best and the worst from our spiritual cores.

The meaning in life is the journey itself. What we learn - and what we can impart - IS the meaning. The personal satisfaction? That is going to be up to each person to carve out what joy they allow themselves to have. Yes, I said ALLOW. We can dwell in the past, become bitter over the injustices, the losses, the "wrong" decisions. Or we can simply survey the landscape and find what is peaceful, fulfilling, worthwhile in our world as we know it - at any given moment.

Few of us will do anything in our lifetimes that will receive great attention. And even if we do receive those awards or accolades . . . they end up being little more than plaques on the wall or notations in an archive, w/ little or no relevance to anyone else as the years go by.

The personal relationships, the lives we touch . . . that is where we leave a mark. And even those moments or actions may not have huge import to the world in general - although they may have great impact on the person who was touched by some meaningful interaction. Most of the time, we will not even realize whose lives we have impacted along our journey.

If you think of life as something to be totaled up at the end . . . then it all will look pretty meaningless. If we live long lives, we will doubtless be physical whispers of our youth. And we may be living very humble lives in comparison to what our lifestyles and standards of living were in our most productive (career-wise) years.

Too often, we rely on religion rather than spirituality to define what we have accomplished. Religion basically teaches us that our reward is "in the hereafter" and we need to chalk up acts to "prove our worthiness." Of course, I am not taking into account what folks may believe about grace, and there are many different takes on eternal life and how one gets to heaven (or nirvana - whatever your path may be). However, if one has lived a virtuous life based on the grand tally at the end . . . then that seems like a very empty way to value an entire lifetime of small moments. And we are taught that there is a reward for "good behavior" or being "a virtuous person." WHen we have lived our lives doing the best we can and have endured many disappointments or much suffering . . . we can reach the end and wonder - eh, why did I bother? Where did all that virtue get me? lol

The point is to be the best you can be, in whatever way that defines us. The best mom, the best employee or business owner, the best citizen, the best spouse - that WE EACH CAN BE. It really doesn't matter what anyone else's judgment is. If a person knows in his/her heart that they have "done their best," then the measurable outcomes - however positive or negative - just shouldn't matter. Some would say it is a person's fate where he/she ends up at 90 . . . some would say it is all a matter of decision-making . . . I believe it is a complicated mixture of both circumstance and decision-making.

I believe the measure of our accomplishments is how we face the disappointments, the unexpected. We choose to be embittered or transcendant. Life's great lesson may be: were you a survivor or were you a victim - rather than - were you a virtuous person.

ETA: This past summer, I viewed this movie - and then viewed it a second time over Christmas, with my husband. It is very thought-provoking (or was to hubby and me). It is the story of Logan Mountstuart, who believes, "Every human being is a collection of selves...we never stay just one person."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/anyhumanheart/

Last edited by brokensky; 01-20-2012 at 09:16 AM..
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Old 01-20-2012, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,978,143 times
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^^^ long post by anifani

Boy did I ever need to read this today. I've been doing a major "if only I'd done..." "if only I'd accomplished..." "if only..." thing for the past few weeks (well months? years?), even waking up during the night with this stuff on my brain. Your post came as a lifesaver, with much appreciation from me. In fact, I hope you don't mind, anifani, but I sent your text to my kids from "Auntie Ani."
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:31 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,172,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
^^^ long post by anifani

Boy did I ever need to read this today. I've been doing a major "if only I'd done..." "if only I'd accomplished..." "if only..." thing for the past few weeks (well months? years?), even waking up during the night with this stuff on my brain. Your post came as a lifesaver, with much appreciation from me. In fact, I hope you don't mind, anifani, but I sent your text to my kids from "Auntie Ani."
You know, that was a long post, lol. It just so happened I had the topic on my mind b/c of a seminar I am working on. My nephews call me Auntie Ani so I am very honored that your children would receive a note from Auntie Ani.
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Olympia, WA
363 posts, read 426,627 times
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Great post anifani, well written and I agree with everything you said! You are a very insightful person!!
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:44 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,172,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tngirl205 View Post
Great post anifani, well written and I agree with everything you said! You are a very insightful person!!
TY TNGIRL. Just a subject I have given a lot of thought to over the years. I have been very fortunate to have conversed/corresponded with many people much wiser than I who have shared their thoughts with me.
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Old 01-20-2012, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Orlando, Fl
492 posts, read 1,241,222 times
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"Life's a ***** and Then You Die"
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