Meaning of Life- An exploration of reasons of human existence
Meaning of Life
Man is inquisitive by instinct. He has a questioning temperament and wants to know more and more about everything. He raises questions of ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ in regard to all facts that he comes across in life. Most importantly, he is curious about his own existence. Man, ever since, his emergence in this universe, has felt a genuine passion to know his meaning of life.
Meaning of life is like an umbrella which covers the most important and essential aspects of human life including investigations like why we are here? Is there a God or isn’t there, and if there is a God, what is his nature? Is there an afterlife? Are we primarily physical beings or spiritual beings? These are the questions with which we all wrestle at some point in our lives. Philosophers have been trying to find answers to these questions since the beginning of this universe.
Different philosophers and scholars have presented different viewpoints regarding the meaning of life. Like, Existentialism in the broader sense is a 20th century philosophy that deals with the questions regarding the meaning of life and purpose of human existence. It is concerned with finding oneself and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility. It is of the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. It focuses on the question of human existence, and the feeling that there is no purpose or explanation at the core of existence. It holds that, as there is no God or any other transcendent force, the only way to counter this nothingness (and to find meaning in life) is by embracing existence. So, are we just being ‘thrown’ into this world without any purpose?
Are we useless? Is our existence meaningless? And if it is meaningless then why exist at all? If there is no God or Creator behind us then who are we actually? Who made us? What is our origin? What is the significance of our life? What is truth? If the philosopher has no definitive answer, perhaps the answer can be found within the heart and mind that we ourselves possess.
If we look at the sky at night we will see infinite numbers of stars. If we see them through telescope we will see the gigantic spiral galaxies that exist. We can see the Milky Way, the planets revolving around Sun. The breathtaking view of these galaxies and the stars shinning like diamonds in the sky at night thrills us and inspires us to investigate and contemplate. How did it come into being? How are we related to it?
When we read a book, we accept that an author exists. When we see a house, we accept that a builder exists. Then how is it possible that there is no Creator behind the creation of these gigantic galaxies. The planet, Earth, on which we live, is revolving around the Sun at a certain distance. If it got much closer, the earth would burn up. And if it got too far away, the earth would turn into an icy planet making life impossible. Who decided in advance that this was the right distance? Could it just happen by chance? Without the sun, plants would not grow. Then animals and humans would starve. Did the sun just decide to be there for us? All the heavenly bodies are controlled by precise laws of physics. Can there be laws without a lawmaker?
Paul Davies, a professor of physics, concludes that man’s existence is not a mere quirk of fate. He states: “We are truly meant to be here.” And he says regarding the universe: “Through my scientific work, I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact. There must, it seems to me, be a deeper level of explanation.”
The universe, the earth, and living things on the earth all give silent testimony to an intelligent, powerful Creator. And we can see that there is a reason and a purpose behind everything which is being created. Then is it possible that, Man, known as the crown of creation has no purpose at all? If we were made by a Creator, then surely that Creator must have had a reason or a purpose, in creating us.
The purpose of life is to get nearness to our Creator. This means that man should regard himself not just as the physical existence i.e. the body he occupies as the only sphere of his life. Indeed man is a spiritual being in physical form.It is by re-making that spiritual connection with the Creator that man has a chance of finding true purpose of his existence and can achieve true peace. We should strive to get closeness to our Creator, by following the spiritual path (finding oneself) and especially by doing good deeds for our fellow human beings regardless of their race, colour or creed.
We can hope to achieve closeness to Him by showing love and compassion towards His creation. Even the essence of mysticism is to share the fact that ultimately everything that exists in the universe, all life forms and inanimate objects have their origin in the Creator of the universe.
Man himself is a part of his Creator. As all the humans share common origin, thus man should rise to the call of humanity regardless of race, color or creed.
He should spread good deeds and ease the suffering of other human beings. In doing these acts he rises to his higher self and becomes closer to his creator. He is able to realise his meaning of existence. His aim should be to do his best in any situation. He should put gain of others above his personal gain. And he should do it for the sake of his Creator.
A man does lot of hard work and effort to gain success in his life. He has set certain goals in life. So he spent his whole life in pursuing those goals. He has certain priorities and without them he considers his life meaningless so he spent his whole life struggling for his wants and desires which will not lead him to his actual purpose.
We often focus too narrowly on our specific objectives without giving much attention to our real needs. If we pay attention then we will realize that our needs are few, whereas, there is a never ending list of wants which will keep on getting long until we die. Our wants are endless.
According to Rumi as long as we pursue our wants we will be forever chasing shadows rather than the essence of happiness. If we focus on our needs we will see that they can be easily fulfilled and we can pay attention to other important aspects of our life. We then have time to contemplate and meditate on the purpose of our earthly existence. We then have time to reflect and review what is really important to us. We will come to know that true happiness and peace will come to us by realizing our spiritual side and re-establishing our connection with the Creator.
And once the connection is developed, a strange calmness descends on our hearts and souls which is beyond words.Our soul reaches a state of stillness that is unthinkable as an experience in the hustle and bustle of our usual and busy life.
In conclusion, the meaning of life is to know our origin, the Ultimate Reality. It is possible to know the meaning of one’s existence by pondering over nature and getting close to the other fellow human beings by helping them and by lessening their pain. We need to look at our lifestyles and our disturbed priorities due to which we are getting far away from our real purpose of existence. We also need to focus on the needs of our soul, which is to make connection with the Most Real, along with the body. Then only we will understand the true essence of our lives.