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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Meaning of Life, Revisited

"A man that I was working for at the time, about 15 or so years ago; asked me, kinda out of the blue, one day, “Charlie; what IS the meaning of life?”. Without really thinking about it, because at that time, I wasn't as mature as today; I replied; “Jesus is the meaning of Life!”. Looking back at that statement today, and thinking of the profundity and brevity of it, I can't help thinking, “where did that come from?”, but it is obvious to me, that God was guiding my steps from day one!

“What is the meaning of life?” is a well-worn phrase that many people, from all walks of life, have asked themselves, and others, over the course of the years. It it a question that, in all it's deeper meaning, could have 'eternal' consequences!

The Bible, I think that most of us would agree, seems to say that in Jesus only, is 'life' to be found!

Maybe the better question would be, and this is the subject of this paper; “What is life?”! Is 'life' simply physical existence; is it blood coursing through the veins, being pumped by a beating heart? Or is 'life' a spiritual reality, which comes only through a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?"

The above quote, written 20 odd years ago by this same blogger, comes from an article of the same title ( The Meaning of Life ). 'As above, so below'; I still consider myself a Christian ( if ANY label is necessary ), personally speaking, but, at the time of that first writing, I was still ensnared in the religiosity of Christianity. Currently; I have advanced beyond many ( most? ) of my brethren & presently consider myself to be 'Beyond Christianity'! This is not to say that I no longer follow or obey the main tenets of what is known in most circles as 'Christianity' although I now divine between what was instruction for the Ancient Near Eastern peoples of that age ( when the Hebrew & Greek scriptures were written ) & what is Universal Truth ( for all people of all ages ).

In the last few sentences of the quote above, I posed the question, 'What IS life?' The conclusion reached, of course, which MUST be 'reached' ( realized ) is that Life Is More that blood being pumped through the veins by a beating heart. It IS More than simply existing ( as a person ), Life IS a 'spiritual reality', though not necessarily in the terms I outlined those 20 odd years ago. Life, one might say, DOES come through the knowledge of 'God', the same 'God' that Jesus taught about & indeed, engendered, though the 'saving knowledge' part of that statement had reference to the 'instructions' above. In some sense, this 'saving knowledge' is a Universal Truth as well, because, when one realizes the truth of 'The Meaning of Life', a salvific effect tends to follow!

The Meaning of Life is somewhat two-pronged; on one hand, one may might understanding that by it, one is questioning the purpose, but on the other hand, the definition of 'Life': Life IS More than simple existence, with blood coursing through the veins; it IS a spiritual reality, but what is meant by a 'spiritual reality'? Is it simply that, in order to experience this spiritual reality, one must first have 'a saving knowledge of Jesus ( the ) Christ', or is it deeper than that? The apology herein is that one must have, not a saving knowledge of a historical ( or not ) Ancient Near Eastern person, but rather that they should realize, or come to know the Christ, or God Within. According to Orthodox Christianity, this kind of statement more than borders on the heretical. To most it is blasphemous & worthy of censure or even 'crucifixion'!

The Liberation brought by the knowledge of oneself, not as a mere human being, but a spirit being of the highest order, part of the 'God-head', so to speak, is glorious! Realizing that one has the Power to change their own situation, the manifestation that we know as physical existence, the knowledge that there is not 'An Angry God' up there in the sky ( 'Heaven' ) that we must appease by following 'His' Law, brings a joy to the soul that is almost unknown in most religious circles. We don't have to obey every 'jot & tittle' of some list of commandments ( just words ) written for an Ancient Near Eastern people. 'As above, so below'; this is not to say that these 'words' have no merit: on the contrary, there is much meritorious in following most of these tenets as a matter of principle! Loving ones neighbor as oneself, to say nothing of treating others like one wants to be treated are a Universal Truth which need no explanation. This, of course, is speaking on a personal ( individual ) level: when one realizes their place in the Universe, it's not too long before we realize that we are, in Essence, One; 'the Other' is merely a social ( cultural? ) construct!

'The Other', though a social construct, is a 'reality' that must be faced in what most people call 'Life'. 'Life' IS More than physical existence, but in the 'here & now', though we realize we are NOT this experience, it is in this biological construct that we MUST operate, as human beings. As More than Human, we understand that when our property, for example, whether it's our own body, the physical lives of those we love, or simply real estate is threatened, it is not us which is threatened, but merely our biological existence, something which, from all accounts, is temporary anyway. Those 'Others' who threaten our 'Way of Life' cannot harm us; they can only cause harm to this biology, which WILL bring ( negative ) 'Karma' to bear & they WILL reap what they've sown!

Individually speaking, there will always be differences which are cause for division, but must they actually cause division? Not to make light of questions like 'Why can't we all just get along', but why CAN'T we?! The reason we DON'T ( not 'CAN'T' ) get along is because of the ( personal ) Ego! Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all saying that the Ego is necessarily a bad thing; 'it is what it is', but there is always a choice of whether to reign over ones Ego, or to let It rule our actions. Here is where realizing ones true nature comes into play: once we understand that we are NOT defined by our Ego, but rather, that we define IT, it becomes second nature to treat 'others' as we ourselves would like to treated, we then realize what it REALLY means to love ones neighbor as oneself!

The original definition of 'heresy', condensed into a single word, might be 'division', It is the division of the One we are that is True Heresy! Division is not necessary, even on a personal level ( although many would probably disagree ) in order to exist side by side. 'As above, so below'; there will always be differences to deal with, choices to make, again, on a personal level, but they need not separate us; in fact of the matter, individual differences are what make this life ( physical existence ) worth living! When we allow our Ego, threatened by another's existence, to rule our actions, bloodshed WILL follow & negative Karma WILL kick in! By reigning over our Ego, we begin to understand that no harm is meant to us ( necessarily ) by what we view as another's negativity. For all we know, what we perceive as negativity might in actuality be a positive thing to them!

Life is not defined by our differences! Life is defined by our sameness, our Oneness! Our individuality, especially as human beings cannot & should not be denied, but we should not allow our differences to rule our actions when it comes to 'others' who may not live, think & talk like 'us'! For millenia now, the Ego has seemingly reigned supreme & thus we have what we have, 'wars & rumors of wars, people killing each other over a piece of dirt, or better yet, 'all the oil under the sand'!

This is not 'Life'; this is 'Death'!

Let's stop dying & start living; we need to stop spreading death & deastruction & start sharing life & prosperity! This should be an easy task, for we ARE Life itself; we ARE The Meaning of Life!

Charles Haddon Shank



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