I have a friend who is doing SEO research relating to the topic of meditation; she was surprised to discover that huge numbers of people google “Why am I here?”
I get that. It’s a pretty fundamental question, but probably not one that arises often, unless one is of a philosophical bent, depressed, a spiritual seeker, or at a crossroads in life.
Another friend of mine has been searching for how to express his purpose in life and not been altogether successful to date. Maybe people take up blogging as a way of thinking out loud, of figuring out exactly what they are thinking – something my friend has done.
We used to do journal writing, didn’t we, but who writes long-hand anymore? I have shelf with old journals (the ones I haven’t burned) and new “blank pages” journals that I’ll never use.
The writing process does help nut out the big questions, whether blogging, penning memoirs, or just Julia Cameron-style “morning pages”. All those processes have been helpful to me at various junctures in my life.
However, when push comes to shove, the yoga advice from Patanjali says that what we are looking for is near at hand. Until we make our mind like a still lake, we will be caught up in the movements of the mind:
Otherwise awareness takes itself to be the patterns of consciousness.*
This Sutra maybe be redolent of a quote sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein:
The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
“Why am I here” and “who am I” and “who is it who dies” are the big questions, to be resolved from one’s own exploration, but the help of the wise ones is invaluable.
*The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Chip Hartranft.