We are all looking for the meaning of life—pursuing happiness,
seeking our places in the sun, trying to fulfill ourselves.
How shall we spend our 600,000 hours of life?
We have tried to fill the haunting hollowness
by acquiring, accumulating, owning, consuming,
but money and possessions have not made us full.
We have striven to create meaning by the work of our hands:
undertaking difficult tasks, exercising our special abilities,
achieving important goals, serving our fellow human beings.
And yet, for all our accomplishments, we are still not satisfied.
We have sought elusive happiness in marriage,
hoping that a close, warm, secure, permanent relationship
would enable us to "live happily ever after".
But no matter how good our marriages,
we still feel an unfulfilled yearning, an unanswered question.
Perhaps we thought that raising children would fill the empty longing.
Altho they have brought much happiness (and some sorrow)
and we hope they will live after us and bring credit to our names,
as parents we still find ourselves asking "Is this all?"
And always we continue to seek enjoyment in leisure time:
reading good books, going to the theater, traveling to interesting places.
For our vacations or retirement, we escape to the countryside,
the lake, the seashore, the mountains—away, away.
And altho we can't think of anything new to do,
we still feel incomplete and unfulfilled.
Finally, we may turn to religion in our quest for peace and joy.
We direct our efforts toward making our lives morally perfect.
We work hard to earn or merit ‘grace’.
We discipline our feelings, hoping to achieve ‘enlightenment’.
We contort our minds, trying to believe the absurd.
We plunge into ceremony and ritual, hoping to emerge as new persons.
And we try to pull ourselves together by sheer will-power.
But even our highest religious striving does not bring peace and wholeness.
Somewhere beyond all this acquiring, achieving, loving,
nurturing, enjoying, and believing lies an unexpected fulfillment,
a consummation of being that far outdistances our most ambitious dreams.
It is peace, joy, wholeness, satisfaction, meaning, harmony, completeness
—being already at the goal of life, ultimate fulfillment.
Nothing more is wanted or needed.
This inner condition-of-being is unimprovably good.
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