Soul print consciousness gives a radical answer to the ultimate question: What is the meaning of life? In this chapter, I am going to unpack that question and sketch briefly some of the ways that people try to answer it—so that we can move on later toward unfolding the unique and special soul-print response that can be so powerfully transformational in our lives.
What is the meaning of life? Throughout history, philosophers and theologians have struggled to answer that huge, abstract question conclusively. Everyone offers a different picture of what goal, if we achieved it, would make men and women happy, satisfied, or at least somewhat more fulfilled.
We are all conglomerates, constructions of the philosophies we are fed and choose to feast upon. We nourish each other through a symphony of resonance and dissonance, defining ourselves in agreement with the beliefs that have walked before us, or challenging them.. And we have lots of beliefs around life-meaning to synthesize. For Marx and Engels, human meaning came from being part of the right economic system–which for them meant some form of a communist state. For Hegel, meaning came from participating in the progress of history–the unfolding of what he called the absolute spirit. For classical religion, the answer has been God–with an important side bicker over which is more meaningful, believing in God or doing good deeds: Is God most interested in right faith or right action? For mystical traditions of both East and West, Karma is the central concern–cleaning out the accumulations from a person’s past and getting off the wheel of suffering. For others, meaning has come from the drive to achieve bliss—Nirvana, Satori-enlightenment–through detachment, drugs, meditation, study, or prayer.
Certainly all this meaning-making is important and valuable. But I believe it is all too general and abstract to touch any primal place in our daily lives—to help us live our soul prints. Somehow, it seems that after reading all the popular and learned tracts, most of us still feel curiously untouched and disconnected from the possibility of meaning in our lives. We are left with a nagging sense that the truth of our lives should be simpler— even if it’s an elegant, profound kind of simplicity we seek.
In the ancient rabbinical Talmudic learning tradition I was raised on, we would spend our days simply asking questions in different ways before rushing to answer them. The reward and approbation we received in study came not just from a clever resolution of some spiritual conundrum, but also for a Gut Kashya–that is, a great question. As my teachers always insisted, framing the question is half the answer. So let us rephrase our what-is-the-meaning-of-life question in several new ways.
Where is the meaning in your life? That is not an abstract philosophical query but a passionate question.
What is the quest you are on? How are you searching for meaning in your individual existence? What meaning might you be able to wrap your mind and heart around and say “Aha!”?
Or to reformulate the question again, this time a bit more prosaically, What makes you get up in the morning? [Continue reading]