By Abbey Mikha
Throughout my life I’ve been searching for meaning and this has been central to heart and a significant exploration process. It is my passion and most probably the most important issue of my life. I believe a life without meaning is valueless. The most important question when searching for meaning to me is, “We were born into this earth but why are we really here?” What is our purpose and what path are we supposed to take? For men and women in their late teens a primary question that might be thought about is: school, career, or marriage? Some might wonder if they should just volunteer in the community and in that way find employment? That could be a pathway for many rather than formal schooling. For people who suffer from illness this question might be even more confusing. For families who are immigrants and new to the country asking this question is important because they are starting a new life with new dreams. So, what are we supposed to do to find that meaning in our life?
Our traditional culture and its customs can be a good place to start to find meaning, but we do not have to believe every single thing our parents or grandparents or larger community believes. Sometimes the world we are surrounded by is a little phony and we have to find our own authentic way. Each of us may find meaning on different paths. It is really an individual matter.
Balance is also important for meaning. Let us explore an example. Imagine working overtime and exhausting ourselves in order to have all the things we desire. This may not always be the most significant thing to do in life, especially when we are putting our health at risk. Even Jesus said, “… If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
Can we do this though when we are in our vicious life routine? Some of us wake up really early barely even eating breakfast. Then get through the day drinking many coffees and eating a sweet snack. Then when we get home at night we have a huge meal and we go to sleep. We get six hours of sleep and then we do this routine all over again every single business day. The remedy to this issue must be minimalism because the fewer things we require the less we need to worry about being affluent.
My younger self wanted to have that routine of working very hard and perhaps being well-off. My reality now though is very different. I had to change the way I think about life and about having things because of life circumstances. I feel lucky to have a roof over my head, food on the table, and a loving family around me. That is what is most important to me. I feel like I am starting to find balance in life although my life is not perfect and in this way value my life and have experienced meaning. Finding equilibrium in our work and therefore also our minds and with our emotions is very imperative for meaning.
Harmony is also important in life when trying to find meaning. Harmony was the way in which Natives and the Aboriginal people of the United States and Canada interacted with nature and the earth. It is something we must learn from them and their advanced society. Whatever our situation may be right now if we look on the bright side and try to be happy we have found harmony and something significant.
There are people who live in regions of the world where there are hurricanes and where they have recently lost everything. They must have hope because they have survived and must continue to live and construct their life. I admire the way Americans have come together for the people who are distressed and are donating and helping as much as they can. This is truly beautiful to see in a time of much self-interest in the world. This is harmony and love at work.
There are also countries with war and even genocides, like for example my Assyrian nation who has suffered not just one genocide but from one massacre to the next. As Assyrians we will find harmony and meaning in this life by standing up for our nation and with all distressed people. That is why we were born as Assyrians. This is the time to raise our voice for Assyria! We are lucky to live in peaceful areas of the world where we can protest. We are not challenged by nature nor will we be slayed by other persons. This is the time for our beautiful Assyrian nation to rise together. We must continue working for our nation and this is the least that we can do, or else after we might regret what we did not do.
My further suggestion in regards to harmony in life is that we should not concentrate about the pressures and anxieties of life rather think about our dreams. Turn your dreams into little goals and whenever you reach or surpass a goal on the journey towards your vision celebrate and in this way experience harmony and meaning. The Assyrian people have a dream and vision to bring Assyria back on the world map and from invisibility to visibility. This is our vision and though it might be impending we keep it in our heart and soul every day of our life.
We also find meaning in life by transforming ourselves and who we first thought we are into who we will eventually become. Like a beautiful butterfly. When we are young we are all lost in this world especially those of us who did not have a lot of guidance. We do not know who we really are. Some of us are very innocent and only doing our best in this life. Eventually as time passes and we grow older, or rather we are involuntary pushed by the various situations and through experiences we go through into becoming the individuals we are now. We must remember we have power to control the person we become and if we do not like something in our character we can always change. There is much meaning in fashioning ourselves anew. We must remember we have much authority over ourselves and in this way find meaning.
In order to also find meaning we must realize that we are here to learn about ourselves, others, and the world. That is why we should always be students for life. Growing in awareness is very important. I have read that there are people that read a book a day in order to gain more information about how to get rich. I would like to read a book a day in order to grow in meaning in life and in my spiritual self. I wish we could all connect to our higher selves and believe this kind of reading about mystical matters will do this for us.
We will also only find meaning in the world if we do good in the world. If we are the type of persons where it is difficult for us to influence people positively then a desk job would be ideal. Certainly do not become a teacher or a priest. Teachers are supposed to be a force of light for their students and encourage them to reach the heights they dream of. I had a professor in university who happens to be originally from India. When he was teaching young kids previous to becoming a professor they would show him scribbles and he would say to them, “That is beautiful!” This is the type of personality who should be a teacher not the type who put their students down.
Priests on the other hand are supposed to lead their congregation in the right path of spirituality. So many times people in this profession only want to regulate the minds of their followers as they were also controlled by their predecessors, or where they originally learned about their “religion.” In this way they limit the awareness of the people who follow them blindly and believe everything they say. Some churches even try to control the complete identity of a nation just so they can continue with building their church. This is the way they have imprisoned the souls of their people and they are proud to do this supposedly in the name of God.
Also, it must be said if the churches and temples of the various religions on earth want to be effective they should give the priesthood back to women and allow them to be leaders and the speakers of lessons and even sermons.
Furthermore, to figure out what we believe in life is to find meaning. Are we religious? Are we spiritual? Do we believe in one religion? Do we believe in a few? Do we believe in none of them, or all of them? Growing in spirituality and in knowledge about mysticism will help us to find meaning in our life. Actively thinking about these issues is very important. Imagine a divine dialectic from the beginning of “religion” and civilization until today. There are ideas which are the thesis and one or a few groups of people follow those. Then there is a split and there are other ideas that other peoples follow which are the antitheses. These ideas eventually create other ideas that others follow which become the syntheses. Try to imagine that complex web from the beginning of time! While some continue to split into various groups there are innumerable beliefs, ideas, and traditions which continue to form, while they all seem to think that their way is set in stone and immaculate. This is what we are dealing with in the world of today.
We must also have courage to find meaning. Though the whole world might stand against us when we believe in something will we stand alone? That is a comment I remember saying and thinking when I was ten. I have stuck to this belief and am still with that energy trying to spread the urgent message that my suffering Assyrian nation is being deprived of a homeland, as the Kurds have started their referendum whereby they want to officially make their occupation of Assyrian land sanctioned, on the backs of the deprived and suffering Assyrian people. No one is standing in the way of these criminals in power and many do not care who are ill-informed about the Assyrian nation, history, and culture.
To continue to find meaning in life we must also change. I used to try to avoid change at all costs. Always more happy with the familiar, but we must be open to change. Being open to change means that we are open minded. Sometimes we think things about love for example like that we have a soul mate or twin flame. The truth is that there are many people who could be compatible with us not just one special person. Everyone is special in their own way. Being stubborn about a relationship won’t give us more meaning in life. We have to meet and get to know new people and try to develop in our relationships and in this way find significance and meaning.
We have to also care for others to find meaning in life and we have to accept them regardless of what culture and or religion they are from. We should not have a problem with any people from any culture or religion, but I personally do take an issue with people who are racist throughout history and also in the present time. There are bigoted and chauvinistic people and truly these racists are a tribe of their own. Not only do they have an immense hatred of people of various cultures they teach it to their children, students, and citizens of their country like in occupied Assyria where the Kurds teach lies about the Assyrians and our history. This is wrong and these people must be stopped because I believe the eventual fate of the human race rests on this issue which is interrelated with so many other world problems and concerns.
Compassion will also lead us to meaning in life. Yesterday I was watching Dr. Phil who interviewed Sinead O’Conner a singer who found fame in her twenties with her rendition of Prince’s song, “Nothing Compares 2 U.” The singer talked about how her mother beat and abused her sexually and emotionally. I listened to Sinead words and in the end all I found was that she had sympathy for her mother. What a great soul I thought to myself! Although her mother had hurt her deeply, all she wanted was that she could have taken care of her mom, shown her love, and let her know that she was loved. Her mother was not well at all when she was abusing Sinead. Sinead suffers from a mental illness now and is feeling alone in the world, but I believe though that she will find new meaning in her life because of her compassionate nature. Empathy for others is very important in life and to find meaning. If we can sympathize with others we can also direct this energy inward and sympathize with ourselves.
Spiritual love is also important to find meaning. This is the reason many of us have not been in a relationship for years. We hope to meet someone someday who we can have that kind of blessed love with. A love at a very sacred spiritual level where we see each other as beautiful souls and we forget about the physical or at least not make it the most important thing in the relationship. I wish that kind of love to every man and woman because it is the kind of love where we will really be understood and treasured. I personally have always been attracted to that soul to soul kind of love. Do you all want to have a relationship in life with someone who only wants to compete with you? I had that kind of relationship too and it was the worst experience. For those who said, “No” in regards to my question I know a spiritual relationship will be to our benefit and to find meaning.
Lastly I want to say that to find meaning in life we should not hate those who are different. We cannot hate others of other cultures. People who hate are cruel, unkind, and living in a box. Education could help in this regard. For some people though no matter how much they learn about people of other cultures and societies their racism and prejudice will only grow. These are very limited kinds of people. Meaning in life for them is connected to the supremacy of their own culture and society alone. They can never accept others. Eventually they will be confronted with situations where they must expand their mind and consciousness and hopefully they do that.
There are on earth people from various areas and they are all human beings, though sometimes the way several groups in the world conduct themselves in societies makes us wonder. The citizens of the earth deserve help in order to be able to live, survive, and thrive. We are all great, beautiful, special, and deserve respect in life. If you are not the type of person who knows how to respect others and their culture then put yourself in those individuals’ shoes. Can you? Would you want to be disrespected?
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Abbey is a writer and blogger interested in humanitarian issues. Abbey is striving to be a mental health consultant. She is writing her second book, "Not The End" and she hopes to speak to mental health communities all around the world using her story and experience with mental health to give hope to others struggling.
All articles at the Assyrian Thinker website are the copyright (©) 2016 Abbey Mikha