I’ve been getting out onto the land lately. I live in the Wicklow Mountains and the hills have been calling me out of my Winter slumber. Thankfully, those around me have also been hearing the call, so what usually ensues is a walk long enough to cover the ‘catch-up’, but also to move into a conversation that becomes much deeper. And what these conversations have been unearthing, for me and many of my friends, is this deep desire for meaning, or significance in one’s life.
Joseph Campbell says ‘[l]ife is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning’. So how do we bring meaning to this life? How do we be ‘alive’?
Our mindfulness practice is a great start- awakening to the present moment and being open to, noticing and present for whatever it is that is unfolding before us. However, this still leaves the question of how can we bring significance or meaning? How can we feel truly alive- a move away from sleeping through the mundane towards seeing the beauty in the everyday? An active mindful aliveness.
For me, being in the wilds, connecting in with what feels like a wider, more expansive environment and ecosystem reminds me that I am simply part of a whole and that we are all necessary cogs in the greater scheme of things. It pulls me out of my worries that may or may not be real, and highlights the fact that there is more than my limited perspective to bear witness to. This feels quite significant. My perspective is limited and there is always more to view. In turn, my curiosity is peaked, and I am inspired to touch, taste, smell and truly LIVE the unfolding moment.
The land, the hills, the forest are my inspiration, for they make me feel alive. They create the conditions for the present moment to not only be something to tap into or to notice, but also to be something to live with an activeness: a way of life that brings meaning.
I don’t want to simply notice or know- I want to be busy living it, as well.
This got me thinking about this week’s challenge. What could be a more ‘meaningful’ challenge than to reflect on what is it that makes us feel alive? What activities, relationships, places in our lives inspire us, or shift us into an active living moment? One of my inspirations is getting out into the natural world- but what is yours?
So, this week’s challenge is to drop the question of ‘what makes me feel alive?’ into your practice, sitting or on the move. Over and Over again- ask the question and allowing it to drop a bit further in with each asking. See, if you can refrain from searching for the answer. Instead, can we be with what surfaces? Can we bring an insatiable curiosity that demands a tasting, feeling, smelling and aliveness?
Let us know what it is that makes you feel alive!
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