As we often go and perform in public, through our musical discourses or through formal talks, a common reaction that we get from people is- you have such a meaningful life; I feel as if I wasted my complete life.
Initially, I thought people are just saying it, out of some momentary feeling of meaninglessness. As I meet more people, at a higher frequency, I realise that many amongst us, are questioning whether their existence has meaning or not.
I do not claim that I know what a meaningful life means. But, experimenting for past few years, I came to understand certain things about what ‘meaning’ means and how can one discover it in his or her life.
Instead of making it quite philosophical and complex, I thought of making it simple, straight-forward and actionable. Here is the list.
Spend more time with yourself (even if you don’t get paid for doing that)
Meaning is not an absolute term, it is subjective, different for each one of us. The process of discovering meaning starts with discovering oneself. The more the time you spend with yourself, understanding and observing yourself, easier would be the process.
We hardly spend some time just being ourselves. We rather avoid being alone, finding avenues to meet more people, or forgetting ourselves while watching a movie.
We are often fast to conclude things. We are very quick to evaluate a person, a thought, a concept or a piece of art. Conclusion means a dead end, without any possibility of going further into something. Meaning is a subtle term, often unveils itself in a form you would not have expected. If you have already concluded, you are bound to miss it.
One has to be an explorer, always. The mind has to be pliable, easy at changing itself. A mind that has concluded, is dead.
Manage time, wisely
Kabir says, start working in the morning so that the work will be ready till the evening comes. Same applies to our lives. We start about thinking about meaning after we realize that everything else that we have acquired so far has no meaning. Typically, till we turn 40, we will be busy making financial provisions for ourselves and then our kids. Certainly, that’s going to be late. One has to understand this and has to start early.
Manage time wisely. That does not mean one has to stop doing everything else. It simply means one has to act with awareness; not doing things mechanically, but with awareness. You might also have to stop doing certain things-like meeting friends and watching movies. It’s your time and hence, your decision.
Listen to yourself and not others
When one starts discovering the meaning, his path separates from the others. He or she behaves differently, not as the typical pattern which is followed in the society. When something like this happens with someone, there will be a whole lot of people telling him and persuading him to join the trend, the conventional pattern.
They will ask him to do a typical job which pays more or to blindly collect degrees and doctorates. One has to listen to oneself and act as per what he or she feels right.
Be ready to let go certain things
While doing all this, you might have to let go certain things; you might not be able to earn enough to jump on the latest version of iPhone as soon as it comes in the market or might not be able to match the standard of living of your other friends (perhaps you might do!)
One has to let go certain things; of course, the joy coming out of living a meaningful life is more vital and lasting than other possessions.
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