What is the meaning of life, indeed, of existence? It’s a question probably as old as our race. Maybe it’s a question that only arose because of our race? Yet no one has ever found the answer, although many have found a truth that suits them.
Old Texts, New Thoughts
Religious texts, such as the Bible, at one time purported to have all the answers. Nothing much had to be questioned - and in fact should not be questioned - because everything was explained in these comprehensive tomes. Some insist on keeping these views alive, perhaps due to valuable morals but also from a reluctance to let go of beliefs and practices that once served a purpose. Maintaining beliefs also provides a sense of comfort, security and familiarity. New ways of thinking and believing can be daunting, frightening and difficult for some to embrace yet for others they’re exciting, full of possibility and ultimately necessary; eventually the new will likely triumph. Many people are moving away from the dogma of orthodox faiths today. Perhaps we have evolved to a point where we need a new understanding of life, despite some pertinent wisdom contained in these ancient texts. Enough of us now see and understand life in such a different manner that much of old religious thought simply does not apply.
This is exemplified today with the emergence of new faiths and eclectic paths that many individuals prefer to walk, perhaps forming new groups and movements with like-minded souls. For example, the interpretation of Jesus' word in the Bible being mostly allegorical instead of literal, implying that each of us can find God or Christ within instead of without (the idea that we are all God and God is all). Beliefs such as Pantheism are gaining popularity and old pagan beliefs are re-emerging with a novel twist. Thousands of years ago, texts like the Bible could be taken as literal and interpreted successfully by its followers because human beings were then at a stage where it was relevant. In another thousand years or so, current faiths and practices will probably have lost favour. And no doubt a new generation will attempt to herald some fantastic, innovative religion that promises the ultimate truth, inevitably to be met with scepticism, fear and doubt. However, like today and two thousand years ago, this 'truth' is largely a truth of the time and of where we currently stand on our evolutionary journey. Ironically this is not to say that the 'truth' is not true - it is true, but only for the now, for the present moment in time. Traditional views of holy texts and related practices are not inherently wrong but much of what was written is no longer applicable to current human understanding, in the same manner as they were a thousand or more years ago.
Perhaps we create religion as a means of expressing and understanding our current stage of spiritual development. Who knows what sort of outrageous beliefs we may hold in a thousand years time? What we can be assured of, however, is that no matter what way we choose to practice our faiths, they are all correct because they all ultimately serve the same underlying, root purpose - the celebration of our creation and existence. Ultimately we are all reaching for the same ideal - something greater than ourselves, something more powerful and superior to which we can aspire.
Perhaps the only reason we need a superior being, a God, is because of our human nature. We are all born, every single one of us - no matter what kind of people we grow to become, as dependent upon our mothers (and/or fathers). In those first couple of years we need to be looked after, nurtured, comforted and nourished in order to become independent beings. So it is conceivably our nature to continue looking for this outside of ourselves, even after we have become self-sufficient. For many people, life can seem like a struggle and so it is a tempting thought to believe that after everything endured on Earth there exists a higher being that will be there to comfort and relieve us, to reward even. Such beliefs were perhaps more steadfast just last century, when world wars gripped the Earth and death and despair were high. Life was largely a struggle and so the need for beliefs, such as Christianity, became more pertinent and widespread, with comforting dogma such as all suffering will be alleviated in Heaven and dying for God and country will bring just rewards in the afterlife. There is nothing improper about such beliefs because at the time they served their purpose and provided humanity with hope and a sense of togetherness to survive. Indeed at such times, divinity, God, angels and higher power all seem rather essential and beneficial to our race.
The New Age
Today, new movements are bringing renewed beliefs, in the form of Divine Spirit, Goddess worship, Arch Angels, Ascended Masters and other higher beings (souls who have transcended lowly human experience to evolve to a superior level of existence). Such beliefs endeavour to unite a much divided humanity in a spirit of Oneness, purporting notions of everlasting Light that is inherent in each of us; higher beings standing ready to help and guide us at every moment and the underlying unity of the Universe, the re-emerging Feminine encouraging us to reconnect with our abused Mother Earth. Again, such beliefs are appealing to many now because of the stage we have reached collectively but to others, traditionalists and sceptics, they can seem fanciful, ludicrous or threatening. Like orthodox religions of their time, these new beliefs are not inherently wrong; they are merely a fresh attempt at understanding a fundamental part of our human experience. These higher beings may not actually exist; the concepts of Oneness and Light-workers may not be real yet we essentially make it real through our current needs and desires.
Ultimately, we are a unique race in that we know of no other sentient life in existence that is self-aware and has created so much. Of course that’s not to say there isn’t another race more spectacular, out there, orbiting one of those other suns. We are a curious race too, curious ourselves about the meaning of our existence and in the sense that we’re just quite strange. But if everything is fundamentally connected, if the entire Universe all came from a single source or a creator being then we’re all pretty much the same in essence. We create meaning by seeking it and by seeking it we find it because the Universe responds to us, as perhaps a conscious entity itself.
Whatever the meaning of life, the Universe and everything, I don’t think it’s 42.