Is It Just to P?
Why do you get up in the morning? Is it to engage in the P’s of everyday activities that include People, Play and sense of Purpose in what you do that gives meaning to one’s life?
Do you connect with people out of a desire for intimate connection, capacity for meaningful conversation and to engage in similar interests or is it a need to prevent loneliness, obtain financial, technical or living support, to satisfy societal expectations of marriage and having children, or to share parenting?
Do you play in whatever way that means because it satisfies a personal passion, gives you joy or keeps you healthy or is it about the satisfaction of sensual desires through the material possessions and actions that society says you should own or do? To own a big house, have fashionable clothes, technology, an expensive car or go on an exotic vacation? To watch sport all day on the TV? Go out for a good meal at a restaurant? Play golf or ski? Listen to the current popular musician or go to their concert? To buy name brand merchandise because it makes you feel important and part of a larger group? Do these activities define who you believe you should be?
Do you go to work just to earn a living so that you can survive or if you are lucky, to enjoy a lifestyle that supports your desire for a big house, great vacation or material possession or does work or volunteering fulfill a meaningful need to express your talent or serve?
This is not to deny that we live in this world and pleasure from the things we do and relationships we have is important. But is there also a reason for existence that is greater than this need for satisfaction of sensual desires and to engage in activities that give life meaning? I believe it is to explore and examine the important question of Purpose beyond the daily activities of existence. Who am I and what am I supposed to do with this gift of life? What is the meaning of life? What is this all about? Living a meaningful life is different than exploring what is the Purpose or meaning of life.
I see it as the opportunity to create the conditions for a life of exploration, discovery and integration of who we are leading to wholeness and skillful action. Can one cultivate one’s authentic self? The capacity to bring awareness to and expression of what is one’s unique gift and talent in being human. Whether it is an expression of an athletic, artistic, dramatic, intellectual or caregiving calling. Can one cultivate one’s transcendent self? The ability to move beyond one’s conditioned constructed sense of self to the unconditioned presence of mindfulness that has innate compassion and wisdom. Can one cultivate one’s human self? The ability to recognize and appreciate the magic and mystery of being human in one’s ability to just see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and think. And also to see this same beauty in the animal and natural realm.
As Socrates said: “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
Can we integrate these various aspects of who we are and be present in life beyond one’s defended ego so that we can be in a mindful relationship with every experience and act from a place of wisdom, compassion, interconnectedness, interdependence, joy independent of external experience, non-harming, kindness, generosity and respect?
by Dr. Phil Blustein
Dec. 8, 2023