A fantastic discussion about the meaning of life. It says, in better words, what I’ve attempted to get across on this site about the meaning of life as an atheist. Worth listening to, especially if you struggle with this issue.
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
~ Raymond Carver~
Read in Good Poems by Garrison Keillor
“The Life of a Day”
by Tom Hennen
“Like people or dogs, each day is unique and has its own personality quirks which can easily be seen if you look closely. But there are so few days as compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times more interesting than most people. But usually they just pass, mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, like autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight, or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle. For some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don’t want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when, we are convinced, our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well-adjusted, as some days are, with the right amount of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from the mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves, and the faint odor of last night’s meandering skunk.”
Read in Good Poems by Garrison Keillor
Ever since my deconversion I’ve been much more aware of how temporary my life and the lives of those around me are. Once I came to the conclusion that there is no afterlife, I became much more aware of how I want to spend my remaining days on earth. I find this has really helped me to keep my eyes more focused on what’s really important in my life and what isn’t. Of course none of us will ever be perfect at this, but contemplating death is a good thing to a point and we should use it to help us keep things in perspective and to appreciate each moment more. Considering I think the formation of religions was and still is based on this ultimate fear of our own death and our inability to control that and many other things in our lives, this is a topic that I’ve thought about a decent amount. And as foreign as the idea is to us – I encourage all of us to think about death more often! Not in a fearful way but in a way that reminds us that each moment in our lives is precious and that we should choose wisely how we spend them.
The book I recommended in a previous post also covers this topic near the end: The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman
In that book, I came across these other titles that he mentions and they are on my to-read list:
Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death by Irvin D. Yalom
The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
Anyone have thoughts on this topic?
I’m on a role with listening to audio books lately! I love listening to them while I’m cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. Might as well get some reading in while getting chores done! And the last few have all been awesome so I wanted to share them here. I’m not going to do lengthy reviews of any of them – just go read them! (… or listen to them …)
1. The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life’s Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D.
If you need intense and fast-paced books, this one is not for you – but I loved it! Rosenthal is a psychiatrist and in the book he gives examples from his own life and from those of friends, family members, and patients of his to teach us important life lessons. You feel like you’ve sat at the knee of someone very wise and walked away wiser yourself because of it. Highly recommended.
2. The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman
Loved, loved, loved this book! This book might totally change your perspective on how you approach life and your quest for happiness. Go read it! Did I mention I loved it? 🙂
3. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D
I’m only about halfway done this book but I like it enough so far to recommend it to you. If I hate it by the end I’ll let you know! What I love about this book is that it demonstrates how many various external and internal factors affect our behaviour and decisions without our even being aware of it. We tend to think that we make most of our daily decisions based on rationality and logic but the studies described in this book show that that is often not the case – and yet we are totally oblivious to it! Interesting read at the very least.
Let me know if you end up reading any of these and how you liked them.
Words can’t describe how much I love this. Really read it and let it speak to you …
How To Make A Beautiful Life
by Unknown Author
Make peace with who you are
and where you are at this moment in time.
Listen to your heart.
If you can’t hear what it’s saying in this noisy world,
make time for yourself. Enjoy your own company.
Let your mind wander among the stars.
Try. Take chances. Make mistakes.
Life can be messy and confusing, but it’s also full of surprises.
The next rock in your path may be a stepping stone.
Be happy. When you don’t have what you want,
want what you have. Make do.
That’s a well-kept secret of contentment.
There aren’t any shortcuts to tomorrow.
You have to make your own day.
To know where you’re going is only part of it.
You need to know where you’ve been too.
And if you get lost, don’t worry.
The people who love you will find you.
Count on it.
Life isn’t days and years.
It’s what you do with time
and with all the goodness and grace
that’s inside of you.
Make a beautiful life…
The kind of life you deserve.
via Optimism Revolution on Facebook
I love this so much! It describes wonderfully how I feel about life now and you should watch it!