Friday, March 15, 9974


Meaning is an idea that stems from the perceived relation of something to something else. That's all that meaning is. It is not inherent in anything, whether it be a word, an idea, a picture, an object, an event, or life itself. Something is meaningful, important, good or bad to us only because we perceive it that way, and our perception is determined by our life experiences, genetics, beliefs, attitudes, and preferences. Meaning, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. This is why different things have different meanings for different people. If meaning were inherent in something, then everyone would get the same meaning from it. But we don’t get meaning from anything – we give meaning to things.

Let’s take a cross for example. To a religious person it might have great meaning: a symbol of Christ’s dying for our sins so that we can eventually go to Heaven. To someone else it might be nothing more than two pieces of wood. The meaning that the former person sees in that cross comes from his own mind, not from the wood.

We might consider work, relationships, children, hobbies, travel, exercise, possessions, social events, etc to be meaningful, but that is merely our choice. We don’t have to do or possess any of these things. We don’t even have to live. But we choose to. This is ultimate freedom.

When we drop the false self and see that nothing in this world is inherently meaningful or necessary, we might lose interest in things that used to be important to us. Maybe we used to highly value our fine automobile or jewelry, and now consider it absurd to own them. Maybe we used to spend 3 hours each day in the gym, and now we consider it absurd to spend that much time there. Some might call this loss of interest “depression”, but only people who are still caught up in their false selves would put that label on it because they can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t find expensive possessions or body sculpting meaningful.

The false self wants its possessions and activities to be meaningful because it uses them as means to other ends or to make itself feel important. The true self can simply enjoy an activity or possession for its own sake and does not look for meaning.

If we feel depressed by thoughts of meaninglessness, it’s because of our belief that 1) we must have meaning, and/or 2) meaning is to be found outside of ourselves. Both are erroneous.