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The Meaning We Give


Sitting, reflecting on the question that greeted me upon waking this morning--"Is it possible that how we live our life is the personal meaning we give to it?"--I find myself examining my own experiences, choices, and journey. I remember the people I've encountered, the places I've ventured, and the profound human connections that have been so openly shared with me. Like many others, in my younger years, I chased the elusive meaning of life, craving answers to the enduring questions: Why are we here? What is my purpose? And, crucially, how should I spend the unknown, finite time I have remaining?


Acknowledging that the personal meaning of our lives may lie in how we choose to live them has been enlightening for me. Instead of chasing a grand, universal purpose, we can adopt an alternative approach. In truth, I've realized that searching may be unnecessary, as we instinctively create meaning through the everyday moments and decisions that shape our existence.


Looking back on my past, I can identify numerous instances where specific choices have influenced my life's narrative, the direction I've taken, and the paths I've chosen to walk. These decisions have not only influenced my direction but have also enabled me to derive meaning and purpose from my experiences. For instance, my choice to embark on a Zen training journey at Dai Bosatsu Mountain originated from picking up a book called "The Three Pillars of Zen" after meeting Dr. Jamie Campbell, PhD., and discussing Zen with him, which seemed like a random encounter at the time. This decision led my friend Johnathan Gross and me to attend an Introduction to Zen weekend at the Rochester Zen Center. That experience inspired me to pursue the quest for awakening and to understand what lies beyond the moment of death. It's this series of connected choices and actions that have filled my life with progressive meaning and purpose.

The attraction of this exists in awakening to the reality that our life meaning is not static; it is fluid and has the capacity for endless dimension universal change. As we grow and mature, our priorities can shift, and our understanding of the world around us deepens. Consequently, the meaning we assign to our lives adapts as well. The journey of self-discovery and personal growth is a continuous process, not necessarily and event, with our lives meaning constantly redefined by the choices we make and the ways we live.


Going deeper, it's crucial to recognize that life's meaning isn't universally the same person-to-person, though we're living and standing next to each other at the exact same time. Each individual's personal meaning is unique to their experiences, desires, and beliefs. The meaning of our lives is a complex tapestry woven from diverse elements that form our identities. It can appear beautiful on one side yet chaotic on the other, yet both aspects are essential, making our lives' tapestry what it is. Our decisions, relationships, challenges, and lessons all contribute to the personal meaning we impart to our lives.

Embracing the idea that our lives personal meaning is dictated by how we live them is liberating and empowering. It reminds us that we are the architects of our stories and possess the power to shape our lives and infuse them with meaning. Rather than seeking a one-size-fits-all meaning of life, we could focus on building a life that holds significance to us through the choices we make and the actions we undertake. Ultimately, the personal meaning we assign to our lives might be the most lasting legacy we leave behind, as it can inspire others to envision what's possible.


--Reverence and Awe


Calligraphy Note: 意味| Imi | Meaning or sense of what is.


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