Sandy Stinson, a good friend of mine, asked a very poignant question recently:

What is the true meaning of life?

That is a tough question to answer! As I try to answer this question I would first like to offer the following quote:

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity answered, — “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived”.

I find this quote to be very profound and it illustrates a challenge we all face in life: Our false-self. The Dalai Lama eloquently outlines suffering which seems intrinsic to our being – born from the ego; this crude but necessary façade that evolves in early childhood is the same vehicle that will cause us unneeded suffering later in life. So it seems the polar opposite of suffering might be our first hint to this quandary. The opposite of suffering is happiness…

Our world appears to operate by money, charisma, and power. All of these vestiges of energy do bring immediate bliss and self-gratification but when such energy is absent, we tend to be unhappy and suffer. Unfortunately, much in life is fleeting including money, friends and yes happiness. Still, happiness can be found in this confusing world. What is vital in our search for satisfaction is defining happiness for ourselves and always determining its source – whether this happiness is genuine to us or whether we have allowed others to define it for us. These are difficult things to ponder, but these mental explorations are what spur our evolution into higher functioning individuals. In my recent publication, the Responsive Universe, I address the three elements that constitute a complete and happy person – body, mind, and True Nature. Faith, health, and mindfulness put us in touch with these elements, allowing us to channel positive energy into our lives and make actions that increase our energy levels and responsiveness. But we have to decide to be positive and responsive individuals. All of that effort, backed by our heart and courage, comes from the power of our minds. Therefore, you alone hold the key to happiness.

Life it seems is a university in learning. We learn from others and we learn from our triumphs and tragedies. So what is the true meaning of life?

To love….

Love is a small four letter word with plenty of hidden meaning. Love brings us into this world and love will carry us forward and beyond. To love is to accept yourself for who you are and not what you are. To love is to give… To love is to find compassion; even for your perceived enemies. To love is know that everything is going to be okay; even amidst conflict and challenge. To love is to be connected to energy and nature and have confidence that you are part of this vast and amazing Responsive Universe. Once love fills your heart it will begin to snuff out the wick of the ego and false-self. The true meaning of life seems difficult to grasp, but once you realize you are an integral facet of this grand Universe of everything the answers will come on the warm wind of mindfulness and self-actualization. Fill your heart and mind with love and the Universe will respond…

John C. Bader

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