The death of my life mate — my soul mate — has posed such a conundrum for me that for the past sixteen months I’ve been questioning the meaning of my life. Life didn’t seem meaningless when he and I were together. I never felt as if I were wasting time no matter what we did — even something trivial like playing a game or watching a movie — so why do I feel I’m wasting time if I do those things alone? Don’t I have just as much worth now that I’m alone as I did when I was with him? Of course I do. It’s the things themselves that feel a waste. I feel as if I should be doing something significant. Something that has meaning. The problem is that very little seems meaningful. So much of life consists of basic survival tasks such as eating, sleeping, chores, paying bills, which are essentially meaningless (or meaninglessly essential). Even more meaningless are the things we do to kill time, such as playing computer solitaire, watching television, or writing blog posts.
When I was out walking in the desert recently, I had a revelation of sorts. I decided that if my life mate still exists somewhere, if he still has being, if life doesn’t end with death, then life has an inherent meaning — whatever we do or think or feel, no matter how trivial, has meaning because it adds to the Eternal Everything. If death brings nothing but oblivion, then there is no intrinsic meaning to life. So a search for meaning is meaningless (except on a practical level. We all need to feel we are doing something meaningful so we can get through our days and even thrive). Life either has meaning or it doesn’t. Meaning isn’t something to find but to be. So, I’m going to search for meaninglessness, or at least accept it.
Such thoughts seem as meaningless and as trivial as the rest of life. They get me knowhere. (I’m leaving that typo, because . . . wow! So perfect!) But I need to find the bedrock of life, a foundation on which to rebuild my life, and meaninglessness seems as good a place to start as any.
July 26, 2011 at 8:46 am
I remember after my divorce that I didn’t know how to do stuff that I wanted to do – I was so used to doing things that we did together. This irritated me because I really wanted that divorce – most of our time together was painful but my heart kept remembering the good times, even if sparse. We had been a couple for so long, I no longer knew what I liked. Eventually, I worked through it and then met my soul mate. Life threw me another curve when I then met my father and discovered I’d been lied to my entire life. That took a lot of internal work and I recovered – mostly. 🙂 So much drama, I had to learn how to enjoy the every day things in life. I’m still working on that. 🙂
July 26, 2011 at 9:21 pm
Kathy, maybe that’s what it’s all about — just enjoying the everyday things of life midst the trauma and drama.
July 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm
I love this post because it is such an intrinsic part of our everyday living. What and why, and where do I find joy and color? I think what you said is true, and is beautiful.
I believe life does go on, somewhere, in some way, and in some how. You cannot destroy or create, just shift. Water is ice, and is mist, and is in our skin, and in our tears and in our blood and in our heartbeats. So your man is with you, near you, around you, and hopefully he can feel your love, and your thoughts, and also the pain and longing, and hopefully you can feel him giving you encouragement.
Whether you are playing solitaire, watching movies, reading, writing, sitting on the couch in your home, or whether you are traveling to Stonehenge or Mayan temples or wherever to seek “Meaning”, you and I and others hopefully can know that our loved ones are with us, and whatever we do is important. Breathing, and eating, as surviving another day is just as meaningful as enjoying spectacular adventures and wonder. There are all part of the miracle of life and the unknown wonders of living.
I have felt what you felt, and sometimes felt like getting by and going through the motions was not enough. I dont think it is a waste to be living life, and experiencing life. I think its not wasteful to observe, as long as you can report, or act, or be changed in some way. So just try to recognize how you are changed by your surroundings and experiences, and how your feelings for your partner grow and change, and how your feelings about yourself grows and changes. There is a moment when true joy will be rediscovered, and you will see beauty and newness again. Thanks for sharing this, I know a lot of people can relate.
July 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm
Diane, I like your comment “you cannot destroy or create, just shift”. Finding importance is necessary to living fully, but at times it’s hard to find anything that is important. For me, now, feeling the loss, the change, and expressing it seem to a major focus of my life. Someday, perhaps, joy will come to me, and then feeling that will become a focus.
Thank you for your so thoughtful and thought-provoking comment. It’s always nice to meet another seeker.
July 27, 2011 at 8:34 am
Every moment has meaning, I think, and it becomes part of a continuity that–at some level of mind and soul–we never forget. I often think that when we strive too hard to make moments meaningful, that we lose the meaning they might have had. That is, the meaning tends to get pasted on rather than arising naturally out of what we are doing or thinking.
Personally, I like the term “transition” better than the term “death” because it better defines how I see the movement from existence of one kind fo existence of another. While her novel may be somewhat fanciful in its specific details, Sanda Hatfield captured the way I think things are in her “Zero Degrees of Separation.” I reviewed it several years ago here: http://knightofswords.wordpress.com/2008/10/05/the-illusion-of-separation/
I am looking forward to seeing how you collect your posts together into a book.
July 27, 2011 at 10:10 pm
Malcolm, very interesting review! It’s sort of strange to be having all these discussion about life and death lately. Haven’t talked about it so much since my unmispent youth. I envy people their beliefs since I don’t have any. I just have a (quest)ion.
July 28, 2011 at 8:28 am
The (quest)ion is where it begins.
July 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm
Pat for me the questions, the search for meaning, was imperative to my survival from a very early age (my early teens) due to the way my life journey began. It was a matter of finding meaning or living a life of reaction and as most folk around me where doing the latter I could clearly see how destructive this was. Viktor Frankl’s 1946 book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ is a book that has always meant a lot to me and I wonder if you’ve read it. I highly recommend it as story of how one person made sense of what seemsed a sensless journey.