The Meaning of Life

by Patrick Dykie

        During the Holiday season and the start of the new year, I always take the time to look at my life. I look at where it’s been, what lies ahead, the mistakes I’ve made and how I can live not only a better life, but become a better person as well. I do a lot of thinking, and often ponder many of life’s great questions. I was going through my old archives from another blog I write which is more spiritual than many of my other works. I had written this post during the Holidays at a time when life was hard, I was lost and needing direction, and was searching for meaning in my life. I hope you will take a few minutes, read the story, and possibly think about the meaning of your own life.


     For thousands of years man has pondered this question, and yet, this great mystery still remains largely unanswered. How many of us in quiet moments of reflection have asked this same question while trying to understand not only our own life’s meaning, but also our place in this world and our purpose as human beings.

     I’m reminded of a story of a man who had spent his entire life searching for the answer to the meaning of life. He had spent years studying with the greatest philosophers, as well as years of traveling the globe as he searched for clues to life’s meaning. After years of searching, he had heard rumors of a holy man who had spent the last 50 years in a cave in the Himalaya Mountains of Tibet.

     So leaving his home, he started a long and arduous journey which took almost a year as it led him high into the mountains where he battled extreme cold, landslides and oxygen deprivation, as well as the effects of fear and loneliness. Finally reaching his destination and near death, he traveled far into the bowels of a great mountain to a large cavern which appeared to have been carved out of solid rock. In the center of the cavern, on a raised daïs, surrounded by thousands of eerily lit candles was an ancient looking old man who appeared to embody not only extreme age, but also an internal peace which seemed to radiate from his body. Here, surely the man thought, I will finally have my answer, and I can die in peace.

     As he crawled up a set of steps, the old man noticing the man’s approach sat up straighter as if he had expected this visit, and as the man reached him, held the man’s gaze with his own peaceful, yet penetrating stare. As the man knelt before the holy man, his entire life’s journey was about to end as he spoke the question which had ruled every waking moment of his life. “Master, please tell me what the meaning of life is?” For what seemed like hours, but was only moments he seemed to ponder the question. Then, meeting the man’s steady, yet eager gaze he replied in a quiet, yet forceful manner.

“My son. I have been in this cave for over 50 years. I have met hundreds of travelers like you, and I tell each one of them the same thing. When I get it figured out myself, I will tell you.”

     The mistake the man made, as did the holy man is that they both spent their entire lives searching for an answer which can’t be found in books, in long journeys, or even in a cave. The answers that they were looking for can only be found by living. All of us spend so much time looking for life’s meaning when most of the time it is right in front of us. We must realize that the meaning of life is different for each of us. Each of us must learn to live our lives to the fullest while searching for what gives our life meaning, purpose, and eventually happiness.

      Ask the doctor who has spent his entire life researching a cure for cancer as he treats young cancer patients. Ask him the meaning of life, when after a long and frustrating day a small child, suffering from cancer and in pain looks softly into his eyes, and tells him that he loves him. Ask a nurse who gently holds the hand of a dying, elderly patient without any family who would most likely leave this world alone if not for her. Ask a teacher who works in an inner city school who manages to reach out and touch the life of a student. A young man who comes from a broken home in a poverty-stricken neighborhood, and is on a path to a life of crime. Ask her the meaning of life as she proudly witnesses his graduation, and knows that he’s just received a scholarship to a good college.

     I often think about the meaning of my own life. I’ve lived a good life. I have a family, and I’ve fulfilled many of my dreams. I, like the man above  have spent most of my life looking for meaning and purpose. Our lives are so short in the grand scheme of things. We are only on this earth for a short time. We have to make the most of it. As I sit here writing, I realize that maybe the meaning of my life is to help others find meaning in their lives. I write many different types of things. I especially enjoy writing humor. I like to make people laugh, and for a few moments leave their problems behind. I also enjoy writing about love and the beauty of the world. If through my writing, I can touch one soul, or cause one person to think and to understand what gives their life purpose. If through my writing I can bring joy, or hope, or even happiness to a single person, then I guess I understand the meaning of life.

8 Responses to “The Meaning of Life”

  1. 🙂 You mean the answer isn’t “42”???
    Loved this post. Especially since I’m a Recovering Purpose Seeker. LOL Oh, the time I’ve spent trying to answer that all elusive question. Here, just months before officially becoming a senior citizen, I am now at peace with the purpose issue.

    See, I’ve found my purpose and I meet every day, one day at a time. Today it might be one thing, tomorrow another. Just BEing here and engaging our lives and the people in them will fill our hearts and our time with plenty to do.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Bothered. It’s been a pleasure reading you this year.

  2. This is a really lovely piece of writing. x

  3. Thank you Janece. I thought you would say 29. I saw your picture with Boo a few days ago, and you look pretty good for a future senior citizen. I love your attitude about life. I can see it in your writing. Thank you, have a Merry Christmas, a happy new year, and take care.

  4. Thank you Elizabeth for your kind words. I write mainly because I want people to leave with a good feeling inside. I hope you took something with you. Thanks again.

  5. I think the meaning of my life is have more jobs than anyone else ever hah!

    I always think of that line from Eko in Lost right before he was killed, “I did not ask for the life I was given, but it was given none the less. And with it, I did my best.”

    And hopefully I can do the best with the life I was given!

    Excellent post.

  6. Thanks Pete for commenting. I know what you feel with the job. I am laid off right now as I furiously write this. I had a great job lined up, was told by a recruiter that the job was mine, was scheduled for a final interview, and then was told, “Due to economic circumstances the company is scaling back their expansion plans, and my position has unfortunately been elliminated.” Doesn’t that suck! I remember you telling Darkjade that with being laid off you have more time to write. I guess I’ll just follow your lead, write as much as I can, have a few pints, and keep looking. Have a Merry Christmas.

    • That sucks, I’ve had that done to me before, I said to the company I applied for, “Thanks for wasting my time when I could have gotten a job elsewhere by now, when the post opens up again don’t call me” although that was a sales job and it was before I hated sales, now I hate sales I don’t regret it.

      We’ll find something, even if it’s prostitution 😀

      You have yourself a Merry Christmas too! 🙂


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