What is this life all about?
Funny sometimes I really think I have it all figured out but then...BAM! like a ton of bricks reality usually steps right in and reconfigures my focus.
Is this life about this life or is it about the next? If we live this life focused only on this life we miss the meaning of life. This life, the 'here and now' only makes sense if we look to the 'then' of the other life. By refocusing our efforts on what is needed to achieve the other life then this life will not only begin to make sense but actually take on a new meaning, a meaning that could never be imagined if we only keep focused on the 'here and now'!
What does all this jibber-jabber mean? You're asking me? Well let's see if we can make some sense of the confusion I seemed to have created.
I am a man who desires simple things. Love, acceptance, happiness, health, fulfillment; Yet if I am consumed with an obsessive desire to achieve these things not only will I probably never attain them, but I would miss the purpose of these things all together. You see in my quest for love I might try so hard to find it that when I am 'in' it, the idealized 'love' that I sought might not bear any resemblance to the love which I am 'in'. By seeking it without first knowing it's nature, function and purpose I will not recognize it in it's true mode or form. When I was a teenager for example, I 'loved' every girl that said 'Hello" to me, but was it really love? I had no experience of what authentic love was or what it entails so I had nothing to base my conclusion on. I felt this surge of emotion, this great build up of raw energy that inspired me to all of a sudden risk life and limb to impress, woo and secure this girl's affection for me, that I was sure it was love. It had to be, at least that's what love seemed to be like in the movies. So many well meaning people told me 'Oh Anthony, you'll just know it when you're in it.' Yeah that makes sense. I know trouble when I'm in it because quite frankly I have a lot of experience in that field. It's not like love is like water. I know when I am in water because I can feel it. I DON'T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS! Well I think we can all relate to this feeling, right? Good, we are getting somewhere now. Let's continue.
"Start with the end in mind." That is a smart little catch phrase used by many different people in many different ways but St. Thomas Aquinas used very similar words to define the virtue of prudence. So I apply this to my quest for meaning in life. What is the end of life? Well, logically speaking, death is the end of life. Dreary, huh? If that was it, if death was the final word on our existence here then life would be a long, meaningless mess of heartache and pain, intermittently sprinkled with a dash of momentary happiness here and a pinch of temporary fulfillment there. The point of life would be to get through it with as little suffering and disappointment as possible, grabbing whatever pleasure you can and trying not to hurt anybody in the process. Regardless though of how much pleasure and how little pain, or vice versa, all that would be awaiting you would be dark, dank hole in the earth. Some people live this way, I used to, however after twice attempting to kill myself (apparently the joy was too much to handle) I desperately wanted a better reason to live. So I searched high and low. But found nothing. I looked and looked but alas all I found was emptiness and doubt. What was I searching for? Where was I searching for it? After asking myself these questions and finding out I hadn't figured out what I was looking for, I called it quits. I needed to reassess the situation. So I did. And then I found it. Then I realized that what I had been living previously might have bore some resemblance to life but it was not life. I had found life, and even more then that, I had found the very meaning of my being and existence. I had found the road to happiness and joy. The only question I had was, "Why the heck is it so narrow?"