What is the Meaning of Life, Essence and South Africa’s awakening? Many people want the answer to what is the meaning of life, and the meaning of life is to evolve consciously, to become, of course, who you truly are, to discover reality within and then without. And to do that is no easy task, as just ask us as human beings who have been on a planet that’s been around for 14 billion years. All the proof we need of our journey away from an animalistic nature towards more conscious evolution has been the journey we’ve all has to take since a very chaotic bang rang the loud bells that signalled beginning of time. From that day to this, one thing we’ve been doing is evolving – consciously. Other than that we seem to do little else on any Universal scale of things.
120 billion of us have passed through the planet so far, and it’s quite clear what is happening, however painfully slowly it is happening in our perception of things it is happening! There’s a conscious evolution from the surface “I,” which is our personality. The surface that we scratch of who I am is very shallow, and we would stay in that shallowness if we could. We would stay there forever. And that is why we are not physically born to eternal life.
Scratching the surface
Here’s something we have to do first, and that’s wake up. So the very surface “I” that we start with in the first half of life is our personality, which is, of course, made up of all our thoughts, feelings, moods, attitudes, which in turn become traits, personality traits, and personalities, which become, of course, our personal realities. There is an inevitability of suffering as we shift towards more consciousness. We grind our way there, and in fact, St. Paul quoted this in the Bible when he said all of nature, the whole world is gnashing and grinding, pushing its way forward. And this is what we talk about when we talk about a paradigm shift, spiritual awakening, life transformation. Any kind of waking up or consciousness development is what we are doing without a doubt each and every second of each and every day.
We are moving. Moving towards our true essence, our authentic or sacred selves. This is what is the Meaning of Life is. And our true essence is non-defensive; it is based in love rather than fear, rather than judgment, rather than me, me, me. So we will begin life accumulating, racing, walking over finish lines, and trying to be the best. We’ll look for awards; we’ll look for people’s respect, and we’ll find it. We’ll gain assets and finances and hang on to them, saving them for a future. And all these things are very much a part of life, but they feed only the surface “I.” When nothing deeper is fed, suffering comes. And that suffering shifts us towards our true essence, our true consciousness. And you know, it is in giving away that we receive. It’s not something a surface “I” can understand. It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life can rarely only be understood by an authentic, developed side of who we are becoming.
It just doesn’t make any sense in the beginning. In fact, it cannot be understood by a mind that is not awakened consciously. Almost all truth cannot be understood by a mind that is not awakened consciously. And this is why the pace that we can move at is how reality unfolds. Now the realities we knew a thousand years ago are not the realities we know today. Likewise, the realities we knew when we were 10 years old are not the realities we know today. So there’s definitely an evolution of consciousness.
Why does God allow suffering ?
Now people often ask, “Why is there suffering?” Well, if there is such a purpose, why, if there’s a God, if there’s a controlling entity, why is such suffering allowed? Now to answer that question, we could speak as we have for thousands and thousands of years. But I think more importantly, we must understand that our suffering, our gnashing and grinding of teeth, as they used to say, is part of life. It’s part of the package. We are not going to stay the same as we are. That’s addiction; that is fear; that is avoidance. That is staying like a seed buried in the ground. And Thomas Merton spoke of new seeds of contemplation, these seeds which take us forward to discovering who we are and what reality is about.
Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”― Joseph Campbell
So to answer these questions of what is the meaning of life, we must understand that the meaning is to go beyond the surface. It is to move beyond the veil of ignorance. You know, we all come on a surface level as people who withhold secrets, withhold the truth. As children, we lie, we deceive, we manipulate. We try and get our way at all costs. And we’ll take the toys; we’ll take the prizes. The need to win surpasses the need to really grow. And we think that winning is growth, but it’s not growth. What we think is winning often ends up as losing. People have won medals; they’ve become the best sportsmen in the world, the best actors, politicians, stars. And yet they have not won. Often they lose even their lives; they lose their sanity; they lose everything to get back towards a deeper meaning of who they really are. And who they really are in their essence are free beings who don’t have the need to win.
So the paradigm when it comes to What is the Meaning of Life is, is the entire paradigm of what we strive for and what we fight for for most of our lives leads us nowhere. And that is also the story of history and war. History teaches us that we learn nothing from history. We keep repeating the same mistakes, and this is probably where the idea of reincarnation comes from. We tend to reincarnate all our suffering and problems over and over again. So although the world is in a peaceful state relatively to history at the moment, there are many, many of us operating at the surface level, trying to win, winning through murder, winning by raping and pillaging.
There are not only individuals out there that are asleep or unconscious, there are nations that believe that war is an answer that’s going to get peace. It’s never happened before and never will. Peace will attain peace, lack will attain lack. Cause and effect will not just disappear because we’re irritated and annoyed at our neighbour. Rather, we need to integrate the neighbor, and this same philosophy is what we need to do with our personality. “Love thy enemy” is to love the parts of yourself that are surface level, that are defensive, that get you into states of consciousness that dislike other people, that dislike even other nations, cultures.
South Africa’s conscious awakening
It wasn’t long ago that Rosa Parks stood up on a bus reserved for whites only and said, “Not today. I’m not doing this anymore.” After that, there was great suffering, rioting, clashes with political views, and so on and so forth. Yet, that suffering paved the way for conscious change. Today, we sit in a country like South Africa where all have become one. Although there is a lot of fear and control and nay-saying, the nation really has become one. Brother sits with brother. Brothers who thought they were different, who thought they were separate from each other, now come together, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful example of how consciousness has evolved collectively in a nation through one person at a time.
Through Nelson Mandela’s long walk to freedom, sitting in a prison cell for 27 years, getting arrested over and over again by people who refused to wake up, people who thought they were winning, were people operating on the surface of their personality. They had no clue of what the meaning of life even was.
The real essence of Mandela and even his captives was peace, it was unity, and it was love laced in pain and suffering. We slowly got there. We’re slowly getting there. And this is the task of each and every human being: to move from the surface level of your personality towards the deeper essence of your sacred self, of your true self. And your true nature, in the end, that nature will emerge. Consciousness will flower, one way or another. It may flower on your deathbed; it may flower through suffering before your deathbed, or it may flower today. Love and suffering are both teachers. We do get to choose love. We do get to put the ego and the personality defences down and choose love each and every day. This is how we become the meaning of life.