“What is the Meaning of Life?” this question pondered by scholars, theologians, scientists and each of us in our own unique ways embodies the simple and the profound.
Having just returned from Israel, I learned on my journey that this little country embroiled in conflict and potential threat for as long as it’s existence ranked 11th in happiness according to the World Happiness Scale–bypassing the US and 144 other nations around the globe. While happiness and meaning are not the same, I found this to be a compelling statistic.
What I observed in my travels throughout Israel is that these citizens consider themselves to be part of their respective communities and part of the greater whole—in which every member and every life matters.
The Israeli’s I met didn’t dwell in the past—although they learned from tough life lessons. They have a vision for the future yet they know how fragile life can be. In other words they know how to live in the moment.
They flourish, innovate, create art and music, and most importantly connect with each other as a part of their daily existence. Survival to them is not enough; it’s about thriving by living their life purpose and finding personal meaning.
As a psychologist and educator I know the importance of relationships and that the continuation of mankind as a species trumps all. Combining healthy connections with an ongoing commitment to alleviate the suffering of others, to be inclusive of all members of society and to contribute to the greater good of our precious world embodies the meaning of life.
Our collective consciousness about the greater good of our relationships, our communities, our countries, our globe imbues each of us with a sense of responsibility, intention and purpose.
Being part of the solution to help perpetuate our planet and performing acts of loving kindness to its inhabitants—brings us meaning as it dissolves the experience of loneliness and isolation. This to me is the meaning of life.
Happiness happens along the way when we find purpose, seek to understand the big picture and are of service to others. It’s about deriving meaning and satisfaction from making a difference in the lives of others.
Being of service to others involves recognizing our unique talents and gifts and creating something bigger and more vital for the greater good. In transcending our personal obsession with ourselves we stand to find purpose and meaning.