“Challenging the meaning of life is the truest
expression of the state of being human.”
—Viktor E. Frankl
We can often get caught up in the thought that we must be doing something noteworthy and extraordinary for life to be meaningful. Thinking like this may cause us to go through our days on autopilot, waiting for the big occasions, the major accomplishments, or the life-changing events that will mark our lives. I want to assure you that there is meaning everywhere; our ordinary life is our spiritual life, our meaningful life.
- Consider the Dandelion…
At the end of my book The Practice, I share why the dandelion was chosen to represent the spiritual life as part of the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life logo. The dandelion is such an “ordinary” flower (or weed, as some might call it), and it is found abundantly on lawns and in fields and even in the most inhospitable places. Yet, the dandelion has many extraordinary health benefits and amazing properties. We search the fields in the distance for the flower that will take our breath away, but it is right there at our feet, shining brightly like a sunburst.
- Experience Life in Real Time…
Like the dandelion, those awe-inspiring moments we all hope to experience are everywhere! We often miss them because we are looking beyond the moment toward some future moment that we believe will bring us wisdom, joy, peace, and love. Stop here and pause a minute; those beautiful qualities are always with us—even in the most inhospitable of circumstances. When we look within daily through a practice of sitting in silence, aligning our mind, body, and spirit, we begin to see the outside world with a deep knowing that, if we are to find meaning, we need look no further than the ordinary moments that make up our days. How do we do this? By being present to what is right in front of us.
- Practice Focused Attention…
Know that everything in life can have importance and value, even the simplest and most mundane tasks, when we are open and aware. The next time you are doing something “ordinary” like washing the dishes, taking care of a routine function at work, or grocery shopping, practice Focused Attention by placing your attention entirely on the task at hand. Whatever your task, great or small, know that you are doing the most magnificent thing you could ever possibly do…living in the moment.
I close with a quote by Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, whose life and message serve as great inspiration for us to lead our most magnificent lives:
“In spite of all the enforced physical and mental primitiveness of the life in a concentration camp it was possible for spiritual life to deepen…we retreat from the terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom.”