“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” – Alan Watts
The meaning of life is a burning question that has inspired some of the greatest literature/art, fueled heated debates between atheists and spiritualists, and prompted existential philosophers to wax poetic on what the human experience really means (or doesn’t mean). But… what does life really mean?
It is easy to find insightful opinions on this query from influential authors, teachers, sages, mystics, and scientists with a quick Google search – but, what about from our peers, or people we wouldn’t necessarily think to ask?
As an experiment, I decided to ask this question to a diverse group of friends, artists, creators, and strangers alike – and the results were really incredible.
What Does Life Mean to You?
“What does life mean to me? Life is love, love is immunity. Life the beginning of ends to start again. Life is the grounding and understanding of your purpose in the moment. Life is the death of the old. Life is courage to let go and freedom to move on. Life is the balance of energy in vessels of flesh and bones. Life is the infinite spectrum of vibrations and motivations. Life is respect for all life forms. Life: User discretion is advised. Life is neither either or. Life is currently undergoing metamorphosis. Life is intending the future and living the moment. Life is love. Love is the flow. Go with the flow. Love is the undercurrent permeating consciousness. Life is the inexplicable moments and catching glimpses into the unknown. Fear is the antithesis of life. Life is tireless and evermore. Fear is wayword, life is forward. Life is the infinite maze of unravelling of truth. Life is knowing your power and using it wisely. To use it wisely is to use it for the greater good of the universe. Life is knowing the longer I stay, the more trouble I have adjusting, but realizing it all begins at the end of my comfort zone. Like the universe, I am beautiful, complex, harmonious, conflicting. I am a part of this universe and the universe is chaotic and constantly evolving. Dare to be. Believe in yourself, believe in others. Believe in your mission. You must remain open to receive. Life’s mission is clear: make bonds, claim time, right wrongs, leave fear and love through to come through.” – Nas Cilia
“Life, to me, is the quest for perfect balance. the balance between spontaneity & planning, so that things are fresh enough to avoid monotony, yet stable enough to lead to action. the balance between finding the good in the bad & attending to the bad when everything is good, so that one never becomes too caught up in the sadness or too distracted by life’s fleeting delights. the balance of doing things for you & doing things for other people, so that one may be devoted to themselves & the part of themselves that resides in every person in the universe. the balance of believing, loving, & supporting people, while committing to surrounding yourself with higher vibrations, & understanding that attitudes & vibrations are contagious. & the balance of respecting the multiverse of opinions, while speaking your own truth, so that people may, hopefully, come to see the beauty that is the spectrum of human experience in this life. life, to me, is about living the most positive experience possible, uplifting as many lives as possible, questing for knowledge & a higher understanding of the various truths experienced in this world, & avoiding complacency at all costs.” – Alyssa Rochelle, Student, Santa Monica, CA
“i believe in one rule and one rule only – ‘do whatever you want in life, absolutely anything that feels right to you and evokes your own true happiness; as long as it has no negative effect on another soul.’ i believe in connectivity and the concept that ‘we are united’; and we are. we are one big conscious entity operating in unison; humans, creatures and planets alike. i affect all that happens in the universe, as you affect all direction and reaction also. i believe in more than human. i believe i can learn more from the trees than i can from human words on paper made from them. i believe in more than what the eye can see and more than the science will temporarily find proof of; for what i can see may not necessarily be what you can see right now. i believe in reaching your goals in your own time. i believe there is no point in competing for or stressing about what you most want of your time in this name and form; it’s never too late to make a go at it. most importantly, i believe in the silent magic – the moments not fit for words – that feeling of content pure ecstasy; whatever may evoke it. we are privileged – not by situation or class – but by the mere idea that we have all been created from complete nothingness. we developed senses; birthed into the opportunity to feel and be more than what we have collectively been conditioned into believing of ourselves. i believe in living past the borders of potential. i believe in the power of positive progression – individual for collective.” – Rico Garilli, Acoustic Musician, UK
“Life, to me, is an amazing opportunity. We all play a part in our individual and collective evolution. We are given a body to house our souls and how we choose to use it is up to us. Personally, I feel I am on a constant journey of self improvement because everything starts from within. As humans, we were not designed to be perfect; it’s a learning process. But we leave our mark on everyone we meet and it’s up to us to decide what that will be; everything we project has an impact. One small act of kindness could spark a chain reaction of positivity and I think connecting with people is one of the most valuable things we can do. I want to meet people with a similar mindset, people who disagree completely, and everyone in between. I want to learn as much as I can and use it in a way to bring people happiness. We’re all interconnected at the deepest of levels and I think our growth comes from learning from each other, we need to treat each other with kindness and compassion and we need to listen. I feel that we are here to play our part in the growth of the earth and its inhabitants, it’s our collective responsibility to work towards an increasingly conscious and compassionate world. It all sounds very serious but it’s not! I just think we need to take care of ourselves and each other, we need to find our happiness and share it.” – Emma Summer, Model, UK
“Life means loving your body, your mind, nurturing your soul, creating with your community, your planet, and understanding your universe.” – Katy Walker, Things Are Changing Productions/Time is Art, Brookyn, NY
“The meaning of life to me is a little bit different than most people, I have the ability to connect with spirit as a psychic medium. The meaning of life for me is to face all these battles and lessons in order to help heal other people but I don’t find that to be the reason other people are here. I know the only reason I am on this earth is to connect people with their… loved ones and teach reiki. In the meaning for them I think everybody is on their own beautiful journey of their soul’s growth sharing their little bits of their soul that could help make this world better. I think the meaning of life is to stop trying to find the meaning of life and just live the most positive amazing beautiful life that you can and always make sure to help others. I think it’s to evolve your soul enough to see clear, that we create our own destiny with a little help from our higher sources and to have faith. ” – Alex March, Tattooer/Psychic Medium/Reiki Practioner, NJ
“Life is about connections and experience: learning from each and every person we come into contact with and giving others a new piece of insight from our own experiences resulting with positive encouragement to evolve and ascend.” – Jennifer Crimmins, brand ambassador/community manager Tarte Cosmetics, Pt. Pleasant, NJ
“Try to be the best version of yourself. Help other people try to be the best versions of themselves. Look at bugs doing their thing. Wrestle some dogs. Give someone a present when its not their birthday. Improvise a song about the person in the car next to you. Take pictures of your poop. Learn to laugh at your own misfortune. Be a sponge. Pay attention! There are a million things going on at any given moment and our senses limit us to only being aware of a very small fraction of those things. You should cherish every experience and observation because this whole “you-being-alive-right-now” thing doesn’t last for very long.” – Richie Brown, artist/animator/alien, Toms River, NJ
“The meaning of life is an endless question. It’s something that can be unique to every, single human being. And so every lifetime is an opportunity for a person to reinvent who they want to be in the world and how they want to impact every being around them. The meaning of life is there is no meaning, so you get to create it.” – Jesani Drew, Love and Empowerment Coach/Motivational Speaker, Brooklyn, NY
“I would just like to begin by saying that to speculate about the meaning of life is both an interesting and beautiful pursuit. However, the nature of life is much like the nature of that which created it: the great mystery or Wakantanka as the Lakota people describe it. For a person to say that they are certain of the answer to this question would be foolish to say the least, not to mention a bit of an admission of arrogant ignorance. I doubt I will ever really know the meaning of life. Perhaps in death I will receive that information. I have come closer to death than I wish I had or would ever want to again and don’t think it brought me any closer to understanding life’s meaning.
What I can share are a few humble insights I have had on the way. First, I believe the purpose of all life is simply to live, otherwise I suppose there would be no life. Therefore, if you are a squirrel be a squirrel: Eat nuts, climb trees, etc. If you are a human, be a human. Many transcendentalists say to avoid sensory experiences and “transcend” humanity. The way I see it, we are humans, if we weren’t meant to be humans we wouldn’t be human. It seems pretty obvious that the key to humanity is the same as the natural world: balance. Alright now, what is the meaning of human life? What to do? How to live? It is scientific law that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed. Matter and energy interact and exchange in a kind of dance perpetually transferring and transforming.
The way I see it, there is only one tangible thing that is completely created where there wasn’t something before and that is you and your life. I do not mean the physical person you are. I mean the personality you are, the people/places/things you touch and the way the world changes as a result of your presence is actual palpable genesis. Therefore, in my ever so humble opinion, there must be some meaning to that, so create something amazing! Before I get too long winded I’ll wrap this up by sharing what a colorful and insightful medicine man once told me. He said people were always asking him advice about their lives. “What should I do?” “What is it I really want?” “What is the secret?” The list went on and on. He said that his answer to them was always the same. He said that when it all boils down, “everybody just wants TO…BE…HAPPY! So…I am happy!!!” It hit me like a load of bricks because it rang true. Why do you want love? Love makes you feel happy. Why do you want money? Money provides comfort, entertainment, etc., and these things make us happy.
You can see that the list also goes on and on forever and at the end of all these roads we really just want to feel satisfied with a smile on our faces. He insinuated that happiness is really a choice and he chooses happiness. There you go. These things may not be the meaning of life but they bring a lot of meaning to MY LIFE!” – Ben DeVoe, artist/fabricator, Brooklyn, NY
“Life to me is about doing the things that make you happy. People spend their whole lives searching for happiness and when they find it they never want to let it go. It can be spending time with a person or a group of people, it can be a specific activity. What makes me happy is playing Basketball. I let that go last year and I had one of the worst years of my… young life. When you let go of what makes you happy you don’t feel like yourself. When you are truly happy you feel like you belong and there is no better feeling than that. The best feeling in life is being truly happy. When you’re happy all the little things that bother you don’t matter. All that matters is that moment and feeling right there. Some people go their whole life searching for the feeling so when you find it, don’t ever let it go.” – Arick Sodini, Student, Manalapan, NJ
“Life, for me, has always been beautiful and simple. It is being childlike and always searching for new truths. It is setting your heart free, so love can pour out. It is allowing your mind to break the chains of ignorance. Change is the only constant–spiritual, mental, emotional growth is necessary to live a life of fulfillment, love, & happiness here on earth.” – Kait Moorefield, Student, Freehold, NJ
“My meaning of life is centered around experience. I like the idea of going in the cold without a jacket, in order to understand the cold. Some call it Tantric, because you absorbed positive and negative aspects as a means to have a firm understanding. Although, these experiences only shape you and your story, and give you a basis to understand. Our journey in life is to seek balance and enlightenment, whichever path takes you there is up to you. Some of us prefer the road less traveled. There are many doors to the universe, and love is the key to unlocking them. We come into this earth as pure souls, but our environment and social development shapes us into the adults we are fated to become. The underlying theme is understanding karma, while connecting to the path toward your destiny. Destiny is written, and fate is malleable. Life is beautiful, and it’s the story that gives it definition.” – Billy O’Brien, co-founder of EvolveandAscend.com, Asbury Park, NJ
And, finally… here’s my take on life’s meaning…
“We incarnate on this planet with a sort of curriculum of learning, where life puts us through tests, trials, and tribulations in order to deconstruct our ego to reconstruct our heart. The paradox about this is that we are born exactly how we are supposed to be, but life tricks us into thinking we are to “become” something. The reality is, is that there is no “becoming,” there is only an unbecoming to reconnect with the heart we are born with in the first place. The key to appreciating life, and understanding it’s meaning, is to maintain a childlike enthusiasm during your curriculum, and to never lose faith in the satire of your story. Life is its own ouroboros of learning and unlearning, but maintaining passion, curiosity, and love for all that you experience during the cycle will help your heart stay light. Love, above all else, is the true destination of the journey… love is why we are created, love is the source of creativity, and love is ultimately what we return to when our time here is up. So, with all of that being said, this is my take… life is about letting your heart guide you as you live, learn, unlearn, stay light, let go, laugh through the darkness, and love every person/experience/moment as if they are an extension of yourself.” – Jennifer Sodini, Founder of EvolveandAscend.com, Asbury Park, NJ
What does life mean to you? Let us know via the comment section below!
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