Saturday, November 12, 2011
An Essay -- The Meaning of Life
These words, from The Viscott Method by David Viscott, M.D. have meaning to me. The paperback I have that contains them has a shredded cover (the moreso since it's been with me since 1984); it is yellowed, and perhaps in danger of falling apart. But this morning it has served it's purpose, once again. It reminds me of what I value, some of what I believe, and of a teacher I read often when I was in my 30's.
I am a performer, so it's natural for me to give this to you vocally. Just imagine you are sitting in front of a radio, listening.
Lost Awareness's Vocal Reading of David Viscott's essay "The Meaning of Your Life"
I'm including the the written text, below as well, so you can interpret it for yourself, rather than simply accepting my vocal interpretation of it.
From The Viscott Method pages 150-152
The Meaning of Your Life
Your life means precisely what you do with it--no more, no less. The works you leave behind, the acts you perform whether or not you receive recognition for them, are your monument. It makes little difference why you did what you did. In the end it matters only that you did it.
Some people serve as links in a biological chain by transmitting life from one generation to the next. Some uphold tradition and values. Some inspire; others follow and validate their teacher. So meaning can come from giving life, sustaining life, creating wisdom, or accepting a teaching.
Each person is a part of life.
Each life is a world of its own.
Because there is slack in the universe, one can reason that no single life can be that important. Still, who could deny the importance of a single existence as a link in the chain of life?
If you believe that everything you do can be achieved by others, that you are only a number, your life still has meaning. If all the lives that supposedly have as little meaning as you claim for yours didn't exist, who would do the work of the world?
How could the grandeur of the world exist without the workers? For whom is all the spectacle performed if not for the likes of you? Your awareness justifies your existence. How much life, but for your awareness, would be unknown? How much of the world is held within you? Who will hold the substructure of the world together, sow the seed, applaud the singer, dance the dance, if not you?
Your life is more important than you think.
Consider how the lives of others would have been altered if you had never been.
Who wouldn't be here?
How much suffering did you relieve?
What work did you accomplish that would not have been done by someone else?
The world of which you are the center is held together by your perceptions, your needs, your values, and, ultimately your feelings. Your feelings center you and organize a world around you. Your feelings are the expression of your life energy.
If you have great skill in expressing yourself, you can change the larger world. Consider the lives of the great artists, inventors, thinkers. Their personal struggle found expression in their art, and their art in turn shaped the world that came after them. Except for nature, everything you see around you is the creation of some person expressing themself. Altogether, these creative expressions are our world. The good and the bad are all our own doing. We take our inner struggles, resolve them creatively or destructively, and share the results. Those are the dynamics of life.
Look at the way you share your inner world. Are you an emotional recluse? Are you open? Are you guarded, afraid to be seen as yourself because you feel that you aren't good enough? Until you accept yourself, you cannot make your greatest contribution. You cannot share your best.
Your life has meaning:
If you are a witness to your own truth and share it.
If you help another person discover themself.
If you relive suffering.
If you give people diversion from their toil so that they are refreshed in their efforts.
If you survive to tell your story.
If you survive to tell someone else's story.
If you are a performer.
If you are a member of the audience.
The meaning of your life is in sharing your unique point of view.
The life that is not shared might as well not be lived.