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On meaning in life

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 7 months ago

by Morninghawk Apollo (quoted with permission from Hawk's Cry)

 

Our culture suffers from a loss of meaning. Rates of depression are at all time highs and growing. Young people have bleaker views of their future with each passing generation. People turn to food, television and other drugs to amuse themselves. They feel a lack of reason for living. Life is just something to do until you die.

 

Those who have not given up the search for meaning seek it everywhere they can. They join fundamentalist religions and churches to join the Good Fight. They join political causes and march as activists. They frequently are recruited by people they know into causes, either religious or secular, that they don’t even really believe in. If you ask them why they became a member of their group, they frequently cannot really answer. All they can do is recite their party line. The less they know about why they are a member, the stronger they recite.

 

Why is this happening? What can we do about it? What if it is you who are suffering from meaninglessness?

 

Our culture focuses on material pleasures. It promotes people to work so that they can earn money. They earn money to buy things they want. To own everything is considered, culturally, the highest ideal. By promoting this ideal, the culture can keep people focused on working in a way that the culture wishes, which is to produce things and make money.

 

At the same time, the culture tells us that there are no other good ways to live. This is the only one. There are no other ideals worthy of spending time on.

 

The problem with this is material objects only provide pleasure for a finite period of time. Then we become bored with them, they break or they are consumed by our use. This forces us to feel empty and return to wanting more money to buy something else.

 

There is a different way to live. We can live for ourselves instead of living for the benefit of things. It is not easy and it is definitely not honored in our culture. Our culture has given lip-service and attempted to co-opt the idea of “living authentically” by telling us that we need to purchase things to do this, but that is all.

 

How do we live for ourselves? How do we live for people instead of for things?

 

Here is what you do. You live in total harmony between your ideals, your values and your actions. If you do this, you will have broken the cycle of materialism and will find meaning in your life.

The first step in this process is to know your ideals. This is the most difficult step, because our culture has told you from the day you were born that your ideals must be materialistic. Mother Culture tells you this today. She will tell you this tomorrow. She will fight with you in the hopes of making it so that you never realize that there can be other ideals.

 

This is where some people will seek out prophets, messiahs, or other charismatic people who will tell them what their ideals should be. Don’t fall for this trap. Only you can truly know your ideals. It is a fundamental part of having Free Will, which we all have.

 

Some things you can do to help you in this most important quest include meditation, prayer, yoga or talking to your spirit guides or angels. How you do it is up to you. The important thing is that in the end, you must know for yourself exactly why you hold those ideals to be most high for yourself. You also need to remember that your ideals will differ from other people’s ideals. This is okay. Do not think that your ideals are the highest possible. Just know that they are highest for you.

 

Once you know your ideals, you can formulate your values. Values are ideas that you live by that will allow you to work toward your ideals. Your values tell you what you should and should not do each hour of each day. Abrahamic religions, such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism, state that God dictated the Correct Values in Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments.

 

As witches who recognise that we have Free Will, we reject this idea that anyone other than ourselves can dictate for us our values, just as they cannot dictate for us our ideals. If, for an exaggerated example, your ideal is to rise to the heavens by building taller buildings, you would probably have a value that states you will not destroy buildings. You need to make sure that the values you choose will lead to your ideals and will also not detract (or distract) you from your ideals.

 

The final step in this process is to act in harmony with your values and ideals. Each hour of each day, you need to do things that follow your values and work toward your ideals. This means getting off your chair. You can think, plan and analyze until the day you pass from this world, but it will be without meaning until you put it into action. This is the most difficult step.

 

We all become comfortable in our lives with our daily habits. Your old daily habits are stopping you from following your values and working toward your ideals. You must make new daily habits to replace the old ones. What can you do today that will enact one of your values? What can you do today to work toward one of your ideals? Do it. Then do it tomorrow. Then repeat. It is said that after doing something for one month, you will do it automatically because it has become a habit.

 

Many people ask, “What if I change and it seems that my old ideals and values no longer speak to me?” This is a good question. The answer is simple; with conscious intention, change them. Do not do this on a whim. Make sure that the problem is the ideals and/or the values and not just your unwillingness to do the work. People do change, though. Sometimes people change so fundamentally that their very ideals change. This is a very significant change. To change your ideals is to change the whole course of your life. You can do it, but you must make sure that it is what you want.

 

This is exactly what you need to do now if your current ideals and values leave you without meaning.

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