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Meaning and Purpose

Meaning and Purpose (June 1996)

If we are prepared to embrace and to find meaning in life, then our life will have purpose and we can actively pursue our understanding of that purpose to our own betterment and fulfillment.

One would have to say that unless life is truly worth living and worth living wholeheartedly, then it is not worth living at all. This is the kind of realization that an individual can run from all of their life and as long as the knowledge of it remains unacknowledged, then the individual can maintain a life of sorts, appropriate to maintaining an identity, but lacking in honesty and in meaning.

Meaning is achieved in life through honesty and only through honesty. Without honesty, meaning cannot truly manifest itself. Without meaning, life is simply an arduous journey of uncertainty and pain to which there seems no point. Not only that, but unless the individual is willing to give themselves over to the acknowledgment of meaning they will be plagued by unpleasantness and by powerlessness indefinitely.

A willingness to find meaning and to exercise trust in this meaning enables the individual to become strong and to embrace greater and greater strength. Meaning also ensures that no matter what the situation, the individual can find strength in that situation and retain their personal power, even when the situation seems to suggest tragedy or disaster. Being able to feel personal power in life depends on the willingness to find meaning in all things. And indeed, finding meaning depends on feeling a sense of
personal responsibility.

One cannot find meaning in life yet reflect powerlessness. As soon as one gives in to powerlessness, the individual becomes a victim of life and its cruel lessons, doomed to ride the uncertain roller coaster of change and emotion, forever pursued by hurt, disappointment and fear. One may find a sort of meaning in life without personal power, say if one hands the responsibility for what happens to an outside force, or if one acknowledges meaning intellectually, while denying it emotionally. Both negate true meaning completely and starve the individual of the power to change what occurs and to prosper from the situations that are encountered in life.

Living a life to which there is no point throws the individual on the mercy of chance and randomness and indeed surrenders the individual to the power of
accident. Accident and blame are destructive in their implications, for each determines that the individual is completely without the power to change things. Readily applying meaning to a situation arms the individual with the power to ascertain what is to be gained and to then set about the achievement of the purpose. Purpose and meaning are subtly different but inextricably linked.

Purpose doesn't exist without meaning and vice versa.
Purpose is more strongly linked with action. Meaning is more closely aligned with appreciation. We find appreciation in a situation, and we find meaning. We identity purpose in a situation and we identify a direction in which to head. Deny both and we flounder our way through life, the victim of all that is thrown in our path.

As with much in life, neither purpose, nor meaning can be created or made manifest without the recognition of contrasting values. Without an awareness of the value of the absence of these things, or the knowledge of a vision, the individual cannot commit to a decision between one option and another. In other words, if there is no value for purpose and meaning in life and if instead, there is more value in powerlessness and blame, until the individual is willing to acknowledge existing values, nothing can change.

It is the acknowledgment of existing values and moreover, the preparedness to move on from this point that determines whether an individual can advance and make more of life. Without a willingness to acknowledge value in the status quo, and a preparedness to embrace other greater options, there is no opportunity for choice and without choice, one must be satisfied with the norm - one must be satisfied with living a life without purpose and without meaning.

A realization of value and a commitment to the value of living a meaningful life provides a constant source of inspiration for wanting and having more. It allows the individual to achieve in greater and greater degrees, the ultimate end being a direction of quality and enhancement in every area of life.

Wayfarer International, Copyright © John & Melody Anderson, 1996 - 1999. All rights reserved.

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More (May 1996)

Many experts regard goal setting as an important and useful way of motivating the self toward change and betterment in life. Goals though, can be extremely limiting and in many ways do not allow the individual to take strength from steps along the way. These steps are significant confirmation of our ability to manifest our desires and lay the foundations for future achievement. Establishing a direction toward being and having more, unlike a finite goal, brings ongoing reward and ensures that the process can be and is, truly fulfilling...

While desire is a powerful force, it requires certain implied prerequisites in order for it to play a productive role in the life of the individual. If these prerequisites are not fulfilled, the desire cannot and will not work. And for all intents and purposes it would no longer be proper to call it desire.

When we look at our goals and aspirations, they often reflect an
imagined future lifestyle in which everything is a lot different from the way we live now. This lifestyle might depend on having a certain amount of money, confidence, spare time, clothes, friends, it might depend on having a partner, a certain kind of house or car or possessions, in fact this lifestyle, looked at realistically, may be far removed from every aspect of our current lifestyle. Many of the aspirations individuals claim to feel desire for, have little or no relevance to their lives now. They are aspects of a life that exists in the future. And this future lifestyle can sometimes be entirely nebulous.

The imagined lifestyle can continue to exist within the mind of the individual, despite that individual sometimes being entirely unprepared to do anything towards achieving it in the present. This anomaly seems to pose no problem to the individual who can continue to defend a current identity lifestyle, yet can entertain the prospect of achieving some imagined future lifestyle without any link between the two, without any actions to lead to the achievement of it. It is this lack of a link that provides a clue as to why many desires remain 'head' desires and why they could remain unattainable. Or if they are attained, why the individual could then find themselves without direction and without desire for anything more. This is perhaps the least of the complications of this limited kind of desiring.

Without any kind of
relationship between what we desire and what we have now, is it even possible to desire something? Can we desire something that is entirely divorced from our current lifestyle? Probably not, for in order to desire we must be able to feel something for our goal, we must be able to relate to our goal, to feel inspired by it. If this inspiration is absent then a head desire has been mistaken for the real thing. This fact alone would deem many professed desires to be false goals, goals that exist entirely in the intellect, without passion or love.

Another important point about desire, perhaps slightly obvious, is that desire is love. When we desire something, we love something. When we want something we feel love for it and we feel love for the relationship that we could have with that something. If we are not able to feel a sense of that relationship, then once again, our goal is a head goal. Is it possible to love and want something that bears absolutely no relation to our present life?

For example, say we have a goal to have a BMW and profess to have a
desire for one. Unless we'd seen a BMW, had some experience of one, shown some appreciation for a BMW, ridden in one or at least had some sort of relationship with a BMW, how relevant would the goal be? The conclusion would have to be that the desire to have a BMW is nothing more than a nice idea.

Our relationship with things defines the genuineness of our desire and more importantly, our
appreciation of things instills passion into these desires. This appreciation is absolute and non-selective. We cannot hate somebody else for having that which we want and genuinely feel desire for it ourselves. For it is the appreciation itself that is responsible for the existence of the desire. If there is no appreciation, then that desire is not what it appears to be. In this case it is more likely to be an intellectual desire or some part of an imagined lifestyle that appeals to us for some reason or other. Appreciation naturally leads to desire. Desire does not exist in isolation, devoid of appreciation. This is crucial to our understanding of the workings of desire and of lifestyle in general.

Something important happens when we experience appreciation. Firstly, we experience love and whether the thing we are appreciating is within us or outside of ourselves, whether it is an object or something intangible, our love of it feels great. When we feel appreciation and love for something, at that moment that thing is
ours, we have it, we are able to have it. Because we have it at that moment, this may be enough fulfillment in itself. Most often however, something else begins occurring, something fundamental and natural. Feeling as good as it does, when we have something or experience something and we love it, we want more.

When we want more, we embrace what we have now, we acknowledge the link between what we have now and what we could have and we demonstrate our relationship with it.

When we desire more, we do not divorce ourselves from our goal, we are connected to it.

When we desire more we do not hate others for having what we want, we are appreciating what we have.

When we desire more, it is always within our reach because in doing so, we acknowledge how far we have already come and thus, we acknowledge our ability to go on and achieve.

When we desire more, we do not set down conditions and limitations and because more is non-specific it will always be an enhancement of what we have now.

When we desire more, we do not set down a definable achievable finite goal that once achieved leaves us without further focus, but in so doing establish a direction for life.

Having more is a way of life, it is not a finite goal.

When we create
certain objectives, specific achievements or goals that we formulate and work towards, of a very determinate nature, we are in danger of establishing an environment of condition, with limitations and bounds that can steer us in narrow directions and prevent us from exploring other areas. Furthermore, because these goals are so specific and conditional and provide no room for variation, we are generally more motivated to cling to what we have.

An 'achieve and maintain' lifestyle is dependent on achieving something and then clinging to it. This of course, can inhibit the formulation and achievement of other goals unless they can be achieved without letting go of what already exists and only if they can be maintained as a permanent fixture in the individual's life. Certainty becomes an important component of an 'achieve and maintain' lifestyle. It must be upheld at all costs.

The 'achieve and maintain' way of life not only
resists change, but vehemently opposes it, the individual will do everything possible to maintain what they have and will actively fight against change or newness. They will fight against anything that could threaten their way of life. Even small changes become serious threats to 'achieving and maintaining'.

Obviously, if an individual adopts this way of life as a preferred one, it is dependent too, on friends, family, peers etc, to also remain unchanging. It is necessary for the relationships that exist between ourselves and others to fight off change in order to maintain their
permanency. With a finite goal, once it is achieved, the only option left is to try to keep that achievement in an unchanging state. Since more is not a recognized part of the achieve and maintain lifestyle, then it is unlikely that other goals exist beyond the achieved goal, for the achieved goal is everything and it has to be maintained.

The individual who adopts the 'achieve and maintain' way of life becomes entrapped in the 'achieve and maintain' mentality and prevents all movement, due to the urge to maintain and to cling. Unwilling to give up what has been achieved and dependent on certainty before taking further steps forward, the individual becomes hamstrung by the lifestyle itself. Therefore, even before the goal is achieved, the urge to maintain prevents movement towards the goal and the goal is then designated to the mind of the individual to exist in some mythical point in the future, but never to be reached.

Now this might seem to be a kind of consolation to some, 'if you can't have this future goal, at least you can continue to have what you have now', however, the natural way of things negates this hope. For we know that nothing that is clung to can be maintained and retain its
original essence - particularly in the case of love, where the physiological experience of love is such that it is short-lived. Love cannot be maintained at the same intensity in one context over long periods of time, it must be re-experienced in new contexts. Given then, that nothing that is loved and clung to can continue to be loved, it is sure that if an individual does not go on to have more, they will have less.

Nothing can stay the same. Things do not stay the same. Things are always
becoming. Becoming more or becoming less and if the individual seeks to interfere in this process by trying to artificially keep things at a predetermined level, then the whole order of life as it is meant to be becomes distorted. Things will naturally tend toward becoming less.

Life is intended to represent a natural process of
exchange. Just as breathing itself describes an exchange of used air for new air, a lifestyle of rightness depends on a similar kind of flow. Clinging interferes with this process and creates aberrations. For example, if we try to cling to the inhaled breath. If we were to adopt the same kind of clinging in breathing as we do in life, one of two things would happen. If we succeeded in the clinging, we would eventually deprive the body of oxygen and we would die. Life depends on the exchange of the breath taking place. The other more likely thing that would happen is that the natural urge to exchange breath would become so great, that we would be forced to exhale and to take in more air.

body is naturally equipped with mechanisms to ensure that exchange and flow occur and in the case of breathing it is possible to see that the mechanism is almost foolproof. However, in life we have developed the ability to override the natural tendency toward rightness and towards flow and exchange. We have enabled ourselves to introduce clinging and maintaining, which directly oppose a natural exchange.

With a lifestyle of
having more, not only is the goal self-perpetuating, but the lifestyle is truly open to change and to the exchanges that must take place in order to have more. With an achieve and maintain lifestyle, we impose clinging against our natural will to be open and as a result, in endeavoring to maintain what we have, we instigate stagnation and certain deterioration and are enslaved more and more by having less.

In choosing to have
more and making more a way of life, we imply many things. We can never reach the end of such a goal as the objective always remains relevant. We can always have more. Through the appreciation and acknowledgment of what we have now, we imply our ability to do the same and continue to have more. For example, in having a desire to be stronger, we imply that we are strong now and that we are stronger than we have been and that because of these two acknowledgments, our desire has every probability of success. We have proven it by what we have already done. If we have a desire to have more abundance, in doing so, we are naturally implying that we have a degree of abundance now. In other words we cannot deny our achievements to date, we cannot hate others for their abundance or we would be unable to appreciate our own and thus, we would also be prevented from wanting more. So wanting more depends on the acknowledgment of what we have now and indeed on the love and appreciation of what we have now.

Wanting some pinpointed goal or level of achievement encompasses more pitfalls. For example, wanting to be strong, to be wealthy, to be fit. These all imply an absence of them in one's life now. Wanting to be strong implies that we are not strong. Wanting to be wealthy implies that we are not wealthy. Wanting to be fit implies that we are unfit. These are of course falsehoods, because there are always degrees of achievement.

Wanting to be fit, for example, negates any fitness we might have. If we are able to walk and drive and climb, then we have a degree of fitness. We may not be as fit as we could be, or fit for particular tasks that we might want to undertake, but this is very different from the kind of blanket judgment of being unfit. Wanting to be more fit then, becomes a more desirable goal because it allows for the acknowledgment of what we can do, while also carrying a desire for more. Wanting to have more money implies an appreciation of the money we have, while carrying with it a desire to have
more. Wanting to be stronger implies an acknowledgment of our present strength, while carrying with it a desire for more.

In wanting to be
strong we also come up against the problem of deciding when we have achieved this goal. What is strong? How strong is strong? How will we know when we are strong? Or is it a goal that can never be achieved, because we have a vested interest in feeling weak and therefore the goal might always exist, but the attainment and use of the strength may always remain in the future. In desiring to have more, we do not set up goals that can never be achieved, because we are achieving them at every moment. We are experiencing a natural exchange of one for another. There is no end point to reach, no final achievement, the achieving goes on. Having more is a kind of fluid goal. In fact it is less of a goal and more of a direction. Having more is a way or direction for life. It is completely allowing, it is completely effective in producing results, it is completely foolproof.

We cannot have more if we do not have. We cannot have more strength if we are weak. We cannot have more abundance, if we are deprived. We cannot have more fitness if we are inadequate and so on. There is no way to fake a lifestyle of having more, because it is reflected in the life and the attitude of the individual. One cannot pretend to want more and maintain a vested interest in not having, or in hatred or, in weakness. It cannot be done. One can however, pretend or fool oneself into thinking that there is desire for happiness and prosperity and strength, because these are goals that can exist as goals while the individual is also able to retain aspects of
not having these things.

An individual can spend an entire lifetime professing to want happiness, harmony, strength, compassion, love, the list goes on, and yet feel no requirement to do anything about having these things now. There is no implied
requirement in these goals. They can go on being goals, yet the individual can maintain a deprived, weak, hateful, jealous existence with no motivation to begin any kind of process of change. Despite this, we could still be convinced that when the person talks about the things that they want in life, sometimes perhaps with great passion, their desire seems to be genuine. It can seem that they do indeed want these things and that they are working toward these things. However, if there is no willingness to express any kind of appreciation or acknowledgment for what they have, no willingness to be allowing of others, or to begin having what they want now, the goals for change are false. The only way to truly commit oneself to change in life is to make of it not a goal, but a direction and to adopt a desire for more and be prepared to embrace all that this entails.

Wayfarer International, Copyright © John & Melody Anderson, 1996 - 2002. All rights reserved.

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