The Search For Meaning

Contrary to popular belief, truth is not synonymous with fact. We see the world not as it is, but as we are, something the fact-checkers miss. Facts rule the head telling us what things are but not what they mean. Meaning resides in the heart, and without it, we lose our way.  

Joseph Cambell defined myth as something that never happened but is always true. The insistence that reality is factual misses that point.  

Meaning is energy felt whenever a deep connection is made on a personal level. Meaning is the Spirit of a thing, visible only to the heart. Science filled our heads with knowledge but left the heart to fend for itself. According to Cambell, the hero mission of our age is to render Spirit relevant. 

Is subjective truth relevant in a scientific world?

Ken Wilber, the preeminent philosopher of our time, rejects the notion of competition between the two. He claims what we see depends on how we view a situation. For example, science looks at the outside world through an objective lens, while meaning is found inside us, using a subjective lens. Both enrich our lives.

Phillip Shepard, in his book “New Self New World,” claims wholeness is comprised of a “male element” associated with doing and a “female element” associated with “being.” In other words, an outside and an inside, or a head and a heart. When these out of balance, wholeness is lost. 

Perhaps this explains our growing anxiety. We live in a “doing” culture. Weekly updates of the newest technological advances bombard us. Meaning is rarely discussed. The “heart of the matter” has become less important.  

Google “Happiness,” and you’ll get nearly a billion results. Why is happiness such a big deal amid the riches of our time?

I believe our modern era is nutrient deficient. A complete diet requires protein, carbohydrates, and fat. A complete life requires joy, meaning, and belonging, ingredients that are too often missing. Ben Harper sings, “She wore diamonds, on the inside.” The heart is where our real treasure is kept.

I grew up in a religious family that never missed church. Yet, I didn’t find meaning in religious services. I felt something was missing and decided to search for it by studying the world’s great philosophers and religions.

After many years, I found the path of knowledge and reason to be impassable. Meaning is found on the inside, by the heart, not the head. 

When deeply connected, we experience joy, even in trying circumstances. 

Meaning is not the same for everyone. Meaning is personal. 

Our “hero journey” is to find it. 

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Follow me at http://tim-coats.com

2 Replies to “The Search For Meaning”

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