In part I, we decided to take up the idea of "identity" and contend with its origin, its definition, and its natural use in society at large.
To recap, "identity" is a word meaning "wholeness" that we use in society to describe our alignments with certain things.
When we "align" with these certain things, no matter what they are, there is a trade-off between inclusiveness and exclusion.
When you choose to identify with your choice, you are embracing that collective and you are all "one" in that sense, but you have simultaneously excluded yourself and your group from the entirety of everyone else.
Now knowing this, you can see how the exclusion does not match up with the definition; oneness and division cannot exist together, so something must happen.
Everyone has done, is doing, and will continue to do this sort of thing in the foreseeable future.
We can't be blamed for our actions, our actions are our karma, the definition of which is just the total sum of our actions. There is no "good" or "bad", but what is the "result"?
The result is the imperative that we cannot keep going around deluding ourselves in a desire for equality, wholesomeness, and loving-kindness.
We must either get rid of identity or identify as true and entire "one"; one race, one species, one progress.
However, there is another option...
As the word "identity" means oneness, the word "ipseity" means uniqueness.
Let's do some clear thinking for a moment.
Ask yourself, "what do I know?"
You might be able to provide a multiplicity of answers for this question, but analyze your answers...
...they all revolve around "you" don't they.
"I" know this, "I" know that, "I" am this, "I" do that...
The "I"s have it.
By strict definition, everyone is selfish, since everyone has a self with which they move around and act.
Perhaps if we develop ourselves first before being concerned about identities with groups, or wide-reaching generalizations, perhaps it would behoove us to look inward.
Let us try finding ourselves, perhaps it might be the best thing for our future.
At least we don't have to search too far.
Here we are. Part last.
Now I must give you something. You’ve been waiting for the answer, and so I am obligated to give it to you. Have you read the first three parts? It would be wise to, but this is your choice.
The meaning of life.
Wow, what a concept. However, it is a concept, you know. You must understand a thing or two about concepts: they are not reality. They are illusions. They are in you and not the world. Your problem is you think you search for meaning in the world but really you are searching yourself. When you see that you and the world are one and the same, you will find the meaning of both the world and of you. The “meaning of life” as we know it, does not exist.
Do not see these words as a cop out, and do not think I am giving you nothing or telling you that you must become an atheist or abandon your morality. You have not been tricked nor fooled. In fact, if you have the sensation that I am leading you on, when here I am in fact, giving you the key to everything… oh dear, that is not the way to get there. But don’t worry yet. I will go on a ways more. I have four hundred or so more words to get there and maybe I’ll even throw in a few extra to make sure you get what was promised.
The meaning of life.
But what is meaning? What is life? Do you know? You have to, if you are to answer the question, no? Otherwise you do not know that which you are receiving information about, and so the information becomes useless. If the boy thinks his cat is a dog, and he asks: “mother, why does the dog purr”? Well, you see the mother cannot give an accurate answer without first correcting the confusion. If she simply tells him: “no, dogs do not purr.” Well, the boy has not understood. He will be confused the rest of his life when he sees ‘dogs’ purring. He can know everything there is to know about dogs and yet will know nothing.
You are like the boy.
I tell you: “the meaning of life is in you,” or “the meaning of life doesn not exist.” You do not grasp it. If you did you’d have no need for me. Does this mean there is no meaning?
Yes and no.
Does this mean the meaning is an illusion?
Yes and no.
Does this mean the meaning is subjective?
Yes and no, yes and no, yes and no. The problem is the words. Can a word ever describe reality? Well, by definition, no -- to “describe” is to convert reality into the symbolic meaning of words and so retreat from the reality. Can a word give you something you’ve never seen before? Can word teach the blind to see?
And so you ask: “what is the meaning of life”? This is what I mean when I say there is no answer: there is none in words. But there is one in seeing, which is what you must do.
What you will see is that meaning is inside of you, and not the world. What you will see is that the world and you are not separate; cannot be separated. There is only the observer and the observed, and what you think of as you is very different than the observer. When you see all this, you will find meaning.
But something else will happen, too. You will forget your need for meaning in the first place. You will say: “Meaning? So what? Why ever did I seek such a foolish thing?”
Coming close, coming close. I have room for just a few more paragraphs.
Here it is: you’ve already got it.
Here it is: seek and you will find.
Here it is: the meaning both does and doesn’t exist.
And yet none of those are true since they are merely words.
Have I led you on?
Listen: I have and I haven’t. Can you see why that is so? Can you find the truth in my words and dispose of the fiction? There will be both, as long as you, the listener, believes in fictions and sees them in my words. I can never change that about you and so I cannot help but give them to you. You must give yourself the gift of meaning.
How, how, how?
If you are still asking, know you are on the wrong track. You are lost. This is not a problem; there is much time to find your way. But know you are not there yet.
The meaning of life: go out and find it for yourself.
I am nobody. I am a ghost. I can give you nothing. Go out and find it. You have to do it. Everybody who ever found it did so entirely by themselves. The more you read others the more time you waste!
If you are still reading, that is ok. This means you do not yet want to have truth and meaning. Perhaps you do want it, but just not right now. That is wonderful. That is fine. Enjoy the fruits of your own free choices. If you want it, it will be there for you to go get it. All is well.
Perhaps if there is answer to the question of meaning, that is it: “All is well.” “Do not be troubled.” “Worry not.” “Drop the question.” “Do not be concerned with meanings.” However, it’s not so easy that I can just tell you these things and you will do them, or understand them. Like I say, see for yourself.
Let me finish with the strongest bit of advice for you: I promise, promise, promise, no matter how it seems, that only you can find the meaning. You do not need anybody to help you. If you find it, it will be you who does it. Use your awareness of reality. See. Don’t think.
You are the meaning. Find it, find yourself, find everything. But know too there is nothing to find.
Yes and no.
In yesterday’s thought I suggested you might be confused about the question. Are you? Have you thought it through? Are you ready to receive an answer?
For many of you, one night’s reflection on this question will not be enough. It takes years of introspection to illuminate the entire consciousness of your being, to know yourself so well that you are able to understand why you do the things you do, and more pertinent here, why you ask the things you ask. But I hope you can see now, at least, how important it is to do so. God forbid you spend years chasing your own tail, pursuing a paradox, thinking you are ever closer to an answer and always becoming disappointed because you lack the perception to see that you are the one with the answer; that it is not outside of you.
This probably doesn’t help, huh? Well I can offer you something of real value while you continue your search in the meantime.
Step back. Relax.
Your questioning, your searching. It is a luxury. It is a bonus. The meaning of life? What happens when we die? These are not questions we need for living. Here you are now, reading my thoughts and you are alive. You have lived since the time you were born effortlessly and with no trouble.
Now you may say, “but I have been depressed and downtrodden, and fearful and disappointed.” Oh sure. Of course you have. These things are a part of life for all humans. But you have been alive. And that you have always done without even meaning to or desiring to.
Remember you can choose death, but not life. Life is effortless. One day you simply appear into the world, and that situation will go on until you die or you choose to leave before your time. You can experience things in life, good and bad, you can struggle with challenges, but you can never struggle to be alive.
You are here. You are living. Just for a moment, try to give thanks for that.
Now, go on questioning all you like. You may learn all manner of things about yourself or the world which you desire, but don’t let your search allow you to forget that you do not need the search in the first place, you simply choose it.
Ah, now we are getting closer to the meaning of it all. At least one more part to come.
If you’re still with me, now we come closer to the meaning. I hope you had a chance to ponder this morning’s message. If not, you may be disappointed by what you read, but first things first.
Before we look at the answer to the meaning of life: “Why do you ask the question at all?” “Why do you even perceive that it is a question that is logical to ask, that has an answer?” Look back to part one if you need to. I can give you the meaning of life, but unless you contemplate and discover what it is you are asking, whether it is indeed a question that makes sense to ask, you will not be able to receive my answer. First you need to get straight that which underlies the question.
Listen to this brief story.
A young boy overhears his parents conversing one day. He hears them speak about different restaurants, and which are their favorite. His father says: “You know, the best food is McDonald’s.” The young boy, as all boys do, desires to enjoy everything his father enjoys, so he makes careful note that the best food is McDonald’s. Later the young boy asks: “Papa, can I have McDonald’s?” And the father says, “yes, we will go tomorrow and you will have McDonald’s.” And so the next day they drive to McDonald’s and the father orders their food, a cheeseburger and fries for each, and brings it to the boy to eat and says “Here is your McDonalds.” But the boy, given his food, replies, “Father, you’re just giving me a cheeseburger and fries, where’s the McDonald’s!”
Can you see how the boy became confused? Can you see how he got it wrong? He wasn’t ready to understand yet. He didn’t know yet that McDonald’s was not a food but a place. It was all wrong in his head. As long as he went on thinking McDonald's was a food he might ask questions like "What does McDonald's taste like?" or "What does it look like?" or "How many calories does McDonald's have?"
I ask you again: look at the question. “What is the meaning of life?” You are just like the child. You have got it all mixed up.
Tomorrow, we go further.
In the beginning, there was light.
Since this dawn of creation, scientists, scholars, and poets have pondered
the meaning of this event which historically, has been pretty important for us.
Now we put our mind to the test and deliver the answers.
Let us begin.
Ok, let me come clean: this thought is not about the meaning of life.
I will provide no rationalizations, arguments, suppositions, or presumptions towards what it is.
Not just yet, anyways. Like I said, this will be a multiple-parter.
Cut me some slack, I'm trying to answer the most difficult question in history, just for you.
Still reading? Good on you.
This means you’re not so distracted by the question so as to miss the reality.
While answers will come later, what this thought will do is look at the question.
“What is the meaning of it all?”
A doozy, huh?
Let me ask you this: since when did we begin assuming every question had an answer?
Tell me: What is the sound of one hand clapping? What color is a dog’s bark? Which is the most intelligent rock? What is the most physically solid poem? What is the volume -- not the area -- of a circle?
Do you see what happens when you go sticking your nose in things you do not understand? All of those questions involve applying labels that do not apply to the object being labeled. Questions are not as simple as we assume. Relevant information is needed before a logical question is asked. Perhaps when you ask for the meaning of life, you do not understand. Consider this well.
Stick around for part two, as we proceed in the direction of the meaning of it all.