Life is a journey of discovery and belonging. It is about making meaning from our experiences for ourselves while allowing the meaning we have made to change. The active life is about being able to create and discover meaning in an ongoing way and not hold on to one meaning or we may miss an opportunity at hand.
As Joseph Campbell put it,
“If we are hanging on to the form now,
we are not going to have the form next.”
When we review our life and recall times that we experienced an awakening or an epiphany (either through someone else’s teachings or our own experience) what changed was some meaning we held. Our “ah-has” arrive from a shift in meaning; something we can only do from our side, from within ourselves. That is the reason not to hold on to one meaning for something. As powerful and transformational as it is or was, it can change and likely will.
So my Spiritual Journaling classes and the Zero Point Pilgrimage: How to Be Who You Already Are, (and the book, The Zero Point Agreement) offer ways to live life from within (from our side) and to make meaning with what we have, within the circumstances we find ourselves—to transform the world from within. So when I give journaling prompts or practices there is not a wrong way to make meaning with them. Where the practices and prompts take you is where you allow or choose for them to take you.
This makes life more interactive and conversational. This way we are open to new meaning, or to understanding others’ meanings while valuing our own.
For example, the word “wanting,” can hold many meanings. Sometimes it can mean I am noticing what I lack, as was recently pointed out to me. It can also mean to “want what you have.” Or wanting can create an opening to be present to our experiences. For me it is okay to want –. And many people have lost the skill of knowing what they want. So I begin many of my classes and pilgrimages with students asking themselves, “What do I want?”
Do you want to discover your purpose?
Do you want to find the love of your life?
Do you want to live life fully in your later years?
Do you want a Prius?
Do you want to forgive? Forget?
Do you want to get your book published?
Do you want to be happy in your body?
Do you want to let go of a pain story?
Do you want recognition?
David Whyte in his talks on creativity points to how people often create their life works from what they want but do not have – Like how Jane Austin wrote of romantic love but lacked it in her life. Many poets write about what they long for –. This just points to another side of wanting. (I confess that my first 4 books arose in part from my wanting recognition and the attention I did not receive as a child).
So just as an exercise, let go of one definition or meaning of “wanting” and then, let yourself want –. From this you can invent, recharge or update your intentions. Practice opening up to the many possibilities available to you by making meaning with any word, experience, or idea that presents itself to you. To want can mean to open up to your heart’s desire, to follow your bliss, it can mean you are focused on what you don’t think you have, and it can point to what you are missing. It can mean all this and more.
It’s up to you. You are the meaning maker.
“Life is without meaning.
You bring the meaning to it.
The meaning of life is
Whatever you ascribe it to be.
Being alive is the meaning.” –Joseph Campbell
Interested in joining me and others (twice a month for a year) on the Zero Point Pilgrimage: How to Be Who You Already Are contact me soon, as it is filling up. Begins October, 2013.