Meaning and purpose are the antidote to ‘What’s the point?’ Really? Surely, if I move home, have a baby, get that promotion, get married, buy that new car, move countries or …………………………… (Fill in whatever you think will give life meaning and purpose)… Surely, my life will feel full, rich and meaningful when I have that?
Nope! You’ll just have more possessions and baubles that I spoke about in my last post. There’s nothing wrong with possessions and baubles unless you rely on them to fill the emptiness, void or nagging feeling inside. They won’t. They’re just ways of trying to avoid the pain.
Taking tea with your demons
If the monks were unsettled or felt emotional pain in ancient China, they would gather sticks, draw water and collect a kettle. Next, they would head to a nearby cave, light a fire and get that kettle boiling. Then, they would reverently make tea and invite their ‘demon’ into their cave to take tea with them. In other words, they would sit and embrace their feelings and sensations, however uncomfortable or painful, knowing they held important learning.
‘Derrr!’ says your logical mind, ‘How does that solve anything?’ The point is, there’s nothing to solve. As Einstein said, doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results is insanity. You’ve created your life and current feelings and thoughts through use of logic again and again and again. But it’s not equipped to help with meaning and purpose. Instead, you’re being called to listen to your emotional/spiritual self and your inner wisdom which knows exactly what you’re seeking.
This involves ‘sitting’ with your pain just like the monks; no avoiding or trying to push it away. Sit with nowhere to go, nothing to do and nothing to pay attention to except your real and present feelings and sensations. Breathe steadily and gently, knowing you are safe and loved as you embrace your feelings. Now, ask your inner wisdom, or the divine within you, ‘Please show me what I’m here for.’ Repeat gently if needed. If you get nothing, just sit with the stillness of nothing, honouring the spaciousness of it. Be patient.
Take whatever answer you get, however bizarre or nonsensical you think it. Remember, this work mostly isn’t logical. It works in metaphors, symbols, sensations, pictures, senses and sometimes words. Record what happened in your ‘sitting’ and, if your mind doesn’t understand what you got, don’t worry. It soon will.
For other ways to find meaning and purpose in your life, there’s loads more in my book, ‘Whack Around The Head’.
Go well and gently with reading it… and yourself!