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The Meaning of Life
the impressions we make along the way are the true meaning of life

So, in less poetic terms, what is life really about? Philosophers have been discussing the conundrum for centuries; ordinary folk too. Our individual presence on this Earth is brief in the scheme of things, and we can't all be Napoleon or Marie Curie. Put simply, we are born to die. The most important part is the bit in the middle. That is when our living becomes meaningful and we can make a difference.

A person influences his or her immediate environment and those who enter into it. Sometimes, contact with another has a negative effect, as with a motor vehicle accident. The result may be tragic. A death may occur; and it could be argued that if whoever caused it had never been born, it would have been better for everyone concerned. But they were, and because of that there were consequences; one or two of which might be positive. Perhaps the deceased was an organ donor who gives life to others. Had they not died, a possible recipient would not benefit, at least not from that source. In truth, what happens, good or bad, is, for some reason, meant to be.

Small donations to charity by ordinary people help make life a little easier for total strangers. Their contribution is rarely planned and is, perhaps, a spontaneous act which compensates for the fact that they cannot, or do not wish to be on the front line in a soup kitchen. On a broader scale, Millionaires would have to believe their presence serves a greater purpose. They mine resources, manufacture goods and spend money, all of which benefits communities at home and abroad. Some of the more philanthropic designate a proportion of their wealth, providing funds for charitable work such as the building of hospitals and schools in poorer regions. They may be rich, but they are giving back; and they definitely make a difference.

It does seem crass talking about money; but the world turns on it, and it is a major influence on life in general. But the meaning of life is to be found in life itself. I think of it using the butterfly principle - the flapping of the insect's wings moves the air in which it flies; and that, in turn, affects air outside of its range, and so on. People have the same influence as they go about their daily routine. Others they meet are cheered or saddened by the contact, and they will pass on those emotions - that is human nature. One would hope the positive attitude wins out, because life was meant to be happy. The negative influences are merely there as a comparison so that we know what we definitely don't want; then have a clearer idea of what to look for when we go in search of happiness.

The period between being born and dying is the opportunity to do the best we can in all situations. Even small successes can be inspiration to others who may be able to achieve more than us. Someone perhaps seemingly insignificant said the words or performed the deed which helped the rich and famous on their way. Then they became legends and role models in their own right, inspiring ordinary folk to follow in their footsteps.

These are what we all leave behind, impressions of our presence during a lifetime. Even the seemingly unnecessary death of a child has meaning, influencing those close and others quite distant. Steps are taken by carers, medical researchers and governments to ensure the same fate does not befall future generations. Whether we realise it or not, our day-to-day actions make a difference to someone who makes a difference to someone else; and we should strive to keep this influence positive and beneficial.

This closing contribution is borrowed from the self-help eBook: A Season of Happiness. On the left is the question; on the right a practical way to help find and understand the answer.

The Meaning of Life - What's It All About?
However insignificant we may think we seem, each one of us serves a purpose.

For most of us, our special task will be minuscule in the grand scheme of things; but that doesn't make it any the less important.

It may take our whole lives to accomplish, or be achieved in a single second. Whatever our creator's intent for us, we should simply try to grow and change throughout life to the best of our ability.

Whatever we affect and whomsoever we touch along the way, these things will justify our being.

Take a ripe seed from a flower, a weed, or even grass. Sow it in a container of suitable growing medium, then water and tend it so that it can grow.

potted plant

The seedling has life because you wished and encouraged it. By your simple act of caring, you have made a difference to two lives. And, if only in a very small way, you have changed the future for both.

There's an old saying: if you can help somebody as you go along, then your living has not been in vain. In my book, that pretty much says it all.

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