Despite torrential rains and minor location confusions Meaning Place was off to a wonderful start last month. Our conversation stuck with me for the rest of the day and continues to make me think. Here is the gist of it:
Laura expertly related Viktor Frankl’s emphasis on meaning as a source for enduring taxing times. His insights and therapeutic approach being rooted in his experience of surviving internment in the Nazi concentration camps made them especially convincing. In the ensuing conversation we shared our responses and identified personal struggles of finding meaning via the conventionally promoted outlets.
A shared insight was that even though job accomplishments, material goods or academic achievements are worthwhile pursuits, their attainments still only fall into the short-lived (90 second) window of happiness, instead of a more enduring experience of satisfaction. Whether we approach our endeavors full of entitlement, in self-flagellating martyrdom or in a more healthy middle way, it appeared to us to still lead to the same dissatisfying result.
The small, yet helpful word “Why?” seems to be a key for a more rewarding path through life. “Why do I do what I do?” Especially in the apparent falling apart of traditional structures we need to become clear of our personal WHY.
It strikes me, that all along we have been searching for meaning expecting it to look a certain way and are learning now that the glasses through which we were looking hindered us from seeing it. If we equate happiness to meaning we won’t see it. Yet, maybe paradoxically, there can be happiness within meaning.
You shared that you see it hiding in plain sight at times in relationships with family, friends or students, in the realization that you are enough as you are in every given moment, in maintaining clear intentions (or a clear WHY), in cultivating stillness, and by pausing and noticing. So how do we strengthen our attunement to our personal WHY?
Having pondered all the rich things you brought up naturally makes me wonder about the relationship of tradition to meaning. Especially how traditions can help us strengthen the aforementioned attunement to our WHY. What within various traditions is worth preserving and fostering and what has become obsolete? How about we create an “endangered species list of traditions” that are meaningful to us the next time we meet?
Are you in?
We will meet Feb. 19th, 2017 for Meaning Place round 2, TRADITION at 10am-11.30am, in downtown Laguna Beach.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive address and directions.
Leaving you with the brilliance of Viktor E. Frankl (video link) until we meet again.