The Undiscovered Country

On most Sunday mornings, a good friend and I meet for coffee and a chat or outing.  Today we exchanged our Christmas gifts.

She gave me a pretty silver ring engraved with the words To thine ownself be true.  And this fits so beautifully with my recent thoughts.

Falling into winter has traditionally been my time of introspection, sometimes grey and dark, and always edifying if occasionally difficult.  Looking at the narrow slice of world around me, having removed the blinders normally keeping me on a bright and sunny path, I was saddened by the proud coarseness of those around me, and even more so by their addiction to what is ugly and hurtful to others.  Reality television humiliating people of low intelligence is cruel – no matter how beautiful, willing and foolish those people are.  Hatefulness toward people of other religions is barbaric.   Wars are ugly and usually needless.  Violence toward children and animals is the lowest of all: preying on those who are defenseless.

In considering this, the old and universal question again arose in my mind: What is the purpose of life? I have pondered this question many times; sometimes in the abstract, as an intellectual meditation, and sometimes in the heart, as a lament.  During my churchgoing days I prayed to God for an answer that engaged heart and reason, and received silence; I asked pastors and priests and rabbis, and none could provide satisfaction.  I have asked this question of others, friends and family, and have received replies ranging from God to Nothing, and none of these answers have served.  Yet, without a purpose what good does life offer a person?  We don’t ask to be born, and yet we are; we don’t wish to die, and yet we do.  It is the stuff in between that creates the problem.

So one might sympathize with my surprise when yesterday I found I had found the answer to my life’s question; more so, perhaps, in that this answer was not found in a religious building or a laboratory but rather my own backyard.

And now I begin.

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6 responses

  1. have you read mitch albom’s ‘five people you meet in heaven’? we are all here for a purpose, sometimes we realise what that is, sometimes we don’t, every life form that the soul takes over its entire universally connected existence has a unique purpose to be fulfilled.

  2. “Falling into winter has traditionally been my time of introspection” I could have sworn this was me. I think this could partly be attributed to the fact that I walked more in winter. slowly and without destination.

  3. Hmm I think that is an answer for each of us alone…for it means something unique for us all. Good luck in your journey honey. I will be there to walk with you along the way.

  4. Hi Smiling Dolphin,

    I suppose it is something meant for our ears, not something that can necessarily be dictated to us – thus, the difficulty so many people experience in finding themselves through religion. Though I can’t say anything too negative about religion, really, because it does work so well and beautifully for many people.

    It ends up being so simple after all, after the years of searching and wondering, that it’s precious, something to protect and hold close.

  5. Hi Phish – Winter is great, yes? It’s the time when we turn into our caves to sleep and dream. When we are in no hurry, we find time stretching before us generously, invitingly.

    I like the metaphor I see in what you say: I walked more in winter. slowly and without destination. I think of walking along the shore for hours, dog at my side, wind at my back. There is nothing more peaceful than leaving the world aside for a moment.

  6. Amber, agreed it is personal. Certainly not an easy path, but it will be fun, right?

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