H1>The Meaning of Life continued
ADDENDUM: A PERSONAL STATEMENT
(written seven years later)
copyright 1979 by Tracy Marks
Since writing the above Meaning of Life paper, my life has focused upon the process of
developing and integrating myself, and aligning myself with higher values, so that I
can better hear and discover my own purpose in this world, and express it fully.
In the process, influenced by the philosophers that I studied in college, I have
developed my own personal philosophy which is enabling me to progress in my own
ability to give my life meaning, and to make a meaningful contribution to
society. The primary influences upon my thinking have been the
works of Rollo May, Martin Buber, and most especially,
Here are some of the discoveries I have made, and the issues
I have considered in the process of further developing my own philosophy:
The Three Choices
In every circumstance, one can find meaning and
satisfaction through fulfilling one of these values:
a) love or service (personal love or universal love);
b) pleasure or personal satisfaction;
c) integrity, self-esteem and self-mastery;
If love and pleasure are impossible, then one can always make a choice which maintains
one's integrity and builds one's self-esteem. Such a choice often involves mastery of
the feelings, needs and desires which interfere with one's ability to make the
often difficult choice of integrity.
The most fulfilling experiences of life are often those which satisfy all three of
the the above values - they open us to love and enable us to be more of service to others;
they provide considerable personal happiness; and they build our self-esteem by requiring
us to master difficult feelings or insistent desires in order to choose the
most beneficial course of action.
Integration and Alignment
As one aligns one's own desires, values and goals with the
good of others, and with the call to use one's skills and talents to be of
service as fully as possible, the desires of the self become less at odds with the
tasks demanded by the world. One becomes identified more fully with one's spiritual
self, and able to make choices that honor that self, respond with love to others,
and fulfill one's responsibilities and sense of mission.
Over time, one learns to make every choice with an awareness of and commitment to one's
higher values.. As a result, one becomes able to sacrifice lesser values to higher
values. Every NO to a personal desire is a YES to the values that one most reveres.
The Three Circles
Life is not as simple as theory. Sometimes, higher
values conflict, or one has difficulty hearing one's inner guidance, or determining
the choice of integrity. Sometimes also the demands of necessity (earning
a living, coping with illness etc.)interfere with one's ability to make the choices
one feels called to make.
To this end I have benefited considerably by thinking in terms of three intersecting
circles - self, other, and society.
The circle of the self pertains to the desires and needs of the personal self,
which at best intersect fully with the spiritual self.
The circle of other pertains to meeting the needs of the people in our lives. We
might consider here two divisions - our inner circle of loved ones, and everyone else.
The circle of society pertains to earning a living through working in the world and
fulfilling our responsibilities to obey the laws and respect our government. We might
consider here too another intersecting circle of our chosen contributions through
non-income-producing volunteer work or service.
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Meaning of Life
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