The Little Book On Meaning, by Laura Berman Fortgang, is a fabulous collection of stories about getting back to love and our connection with ourselves, each other and even the intangible things that we encounter during our journey in life. She emphasizes that meaning is a feeling rather than something we do, and a quality that we crave.
Through the conditioning of our past, many of us impatiently look for meaning in the world around us, hoping for someone or something to let us know who we really are. We are caught up in a world full of information which has disconnected us from the truth within, and we cling to quick fixes and cosmetic improvements to fill up the emptiness. “To attempt a meaningful life is to embrace that which can only be measured within ourselves. The yardstick is not our life picture. It is rather in how we feel about the person staring back at us in the mirror and how we feel about life.”
Fortgang states that depending on where we look and the way we look at things, meaning can be found everywhere: from the necklace we are given, to the work we do and the relationships we encounter. It is hidden in the pain we suffer and the discomfort we feel when things don’t go according to plan. Instead of appreciating the mystery in life and choosing to see life with wonder, curiosity and openness, we choose “fear, avoidance and denial.”
To battle the demons within, we must go through to get to the other side where there is light, but many of us avoid this since there can be much pain and loneliness. She states we are not the pain; we are the eternal soul. “And the experience of the soul lives on as wisdom to relieve suffering for others… Where we get into trouble is in handing all our power over to another human being, expecting them to be the ultimate deliverer of truth.”
To find meaning and purpose is to shift in consciousness and know that we have the power to change. We can ease the pain by inviting growth and feel lasting joy in our connection with ourselves, others and the things we encounter. Everyone wants to leave a mark, be validated and know they mattered. “Every life story is special and unique and yet totally inconsequential because the true journey is getting back to your Self. No matter how, no matter what. That’s the work.” To get back to love is to minister to yourself and others because “to minister is to actively love.” To know meaning we must courageously heal the separation by releasing the bitterness and nurture union at all times to feel love, a quality we crave. To have meaning is to get back to love.
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