I like to carry a book with me always, so I can have something to do (other than scroll on my phone) while waiting at the train station or at the GP’s.
The passage I have quoted comes from Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning, his account of what gave him the strength to survive Auschwitz, and his insights into human nature under duress.
It is a wonderful little tome I turn to every few years, because it centers me when life gets overwhelming and I lose my way, and reminds me of some fundamental life truths.
Three in particular stand out for me:
- Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure (Sigmund Freud), or a quest for power (Alfred Adler), but a quest for meaning.
- Meaning can be found in work (doing something significant), love (caring for another), and in courage during difficult times.
- Suffering by itself is meaningless; we give meaning to it by how we choose to respond.
As a wise person has put it, man is a meaning-making machine.
As a new week approaches, I invite you to reflect with me on this prompt:
“What makes life meaningful for you?” or “What is your idea of a meaningful life?”
Please share in the comments below.
I would love to learn from you.