Man’s Search for Meaning
Life’s suffering has meaning. The challenges we face are lessons to learn from and for then wisdom to blossom. How can we look at our hardships and suffering to find the benefit, if only that we have survived…?
Our potentials can change but each new experience or focus can lead us to learn and to grow. If we share our learnings, these challenging experiences have greater value and “meaning” as wisdom for others to learn from and to possibly change their lives, or their potentials.
Our suffering is reduced and more gracefully survivable if we see the value and larger purpose/lesson in our experience of the suffering. With found meaning/purpose, we have more reason to live and then to teach from our learned lessons.
Viktor Frankl was a German, Jewish psychiatrist who was sent to Auschwitz in 1944. His survival and his observations were the basis for his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” and his creation of Logotherapy which is his version of psychotherapy. A basic premise of his therapy says that finding a reason/meaning in your suffering adds positive value and some resolution to your mental/emotional challenge. He believed that human nature is motivated by the search for a life’s purpose. Frankl’s story was difficult for me to read because of the losses he suffered as his life was stripped away in the German concentration camps of World War II. As a testament to his survival, he found “meaning” in this horrible life experience. His insights have served many people.
Common human responses to life’s stressors can lead to anxiety and depression. Frankl’s work helped to search for the reason that people have emotional stresses as necessary and important lessons. Observing these “reasons” can lead to wisdom to share and a change of perception regarding these stressors. This can lead to resolution of the emotional impact these challenges can have.
Taking full responsibility for one’s life is important. Circumstances can occur which you can not fully control, however, you do control the way you respond and you can understand more fully your role in creating this experience. An example, I was riding my bicycle down a hill and as I turned right at the bottom, a pick up truck cut his corner and hit me. I broke my arm and had other injuries. Sure, the young driver cut the corner but I was flying down the hill… I learned a great deal. For me, the experience with breaking my arm, being in the ER, and staying over night in the hospital were all important lessons of value for me to have. Sure, I would NOT wish this on anyone else, but the value held great learning for me. For me, being a “victim” of circumstance was not the direction for me to go. (And, showing the photo of my surgically repaired arm has been very interesting…)
Unlike Viktor Frankl, my experience does not match surviving in a World War II German concentration camp for more than one year. My suffering physically, emotionally, and spiritually can NOT compare with Viktor Frankl’s. However, making the most of life’s tough experiences AND then the willingness to be positive as I share the wisdom learned, does have some similarity. If fully shared the story of your life and what you have learned by surviving this far, your witness would most likely wonder how you made it through the drama and adventures… We have ALL been lucky to survive our life experiences and lived to tell about these how we managed to get through our lives.
AND, in my opinion a main purpose in living is to share our stories in support for other pilgrims we meet along our way. The service of supporting and offering guidance learned from experience to fellow travelers is what we are here, in this life, to do.
YOU are a Miracle! Whether you know it consciously or not, You are a perfect soul and more powerful than you allow yourself to know or believe. Thank you for being you. I bow in Love and Delight to YOU the perfect spirit before me. Namaste!!!