You and I live on a giant rock hurtling through space. We used to be apes, and before that we were fish. Before that, we were tiny little gooey things that you can’t even see. And before that, we were stars. Isn’t all of this just a little bit strange? Aren’t I, and you, and all of us, and the fact that we are here at all, just the weirdest thing ever?
Contemplating this mystery does funny things to me. I don’t know whether to despair at the apparent meaningless of it all, or to marvel at the evolutionary thrust towards ever more complex and ingenious ways the universe has found to realise and understand itself.
It’s the same with my personal journey through this life; simultaneously a painful, existentially agonising, pointless, lonely existence to be endured until that sweet final breath, and yet somehow profound with meaning, connection, purpose, teleology, laughter, love, friendship, kindred spirits and divinity.
It seems this paradoxical nature of existence is woven in to the fabric of everything we know. It makes me question if we can ever know anything with certainty at all, or indeed if all so called ‘knowledge’ is merely the play of the mind, which through meditation is found out to be illusory in nature; an ever-changing and endlessly morphing cacophony of thoughts that are born into existence, fleetingly occupying our attention before dissolving into the nothingness from which they arrived.
Life is a mystery. Awakening to this mystery is at once deeply profound yet simultaneously disturbing. Take this hurtling through space lark. I mean what the hell is that about? Cause for a party or a reason to despair about what any of this is for? Is meaning inherent in all of this or is it completely devoid from the nature of existence, freeing us to create our own meaning in a maelstrom of competing and destructive perspectives that eschews the notion of anything absolute that could anchor us in stability or guide us through this maze.
Our predominating societal narrative attempts to create meaning for us, imposing a patronising, insulting and superficial set of values on us which surprisingly we tend to swallow whole in a gross act of violation we somehow gain extreme pleasure from. When I feel lost, I prefer, if it’s possible at the time, to remind myself that this crazy world is the play of mind, a projection on a massive scale of our personal and collective dreams, fears and unconscious motivations and desires. It is not however, what is truly real.
When we meditate, contemplate, are moved by music or art, ingest entheogens or somehow connect with something larger and deeper than ourselves we recognise and become free of that illusory play of mind. We realise that meaning was indeed inherent in everything all along after all, and—to quote Charles Eisenstein—that ‘more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible’ is here for us now and in the future if only we begin to enact it in our lives, and to live from that premise.
So this giant rock that we’re on, as ludicrous as it is, indicates that even the most unimaginable things do happen. So always have faith in the highest values you hold, and never settle for the mediocre unless it’s what you truly deeply desire. Because if the universe was interested in being mediocre we never would have had dinosaurs, infinite time and space, black holes, amoebas that one day turned in to Nobel prize winning scientists, and mushrooms that allow you to commune with God.
Contemplating the absurdity of existence invites us to attempt the impossible. Think about it, and do something amazing.