I used to think about – and still do – what the meaning of existence is. It appears that we simply live for a period of time, go through some events, and then we die.
I used to wonder about (and sometimes I still do): what is the point of being happy when I will be sad due to changing circumstances? I mean, it’s like the moment I am happy when something good happens, there will come a time when something disappointing happens, and I will be sad again. So, life is like – happy, sad, happy, sad, happy, sad… and then we die. So why be happy? Why be sad? For example, why rejoice over something like the birth of a child when we know the child will die one day and we will mourn the loss of a life? Wouldn’t it be better to remain emotionally frozen or frigid and not feel anything at all, in order not to be tossed to and fro by the circumstances that are often unpredictable and uncontrollable?
Then again, if I were to apply the same logic to eating, I would need to ask myself: why eat when I will be hungry again? Isn’t life also a matter of being hungry and filled, hungry and filled, hungry and filled, and then we die? So what’s the point of eating when I know I will go hungry again?
Maybe one way to answer this question (or dilemma or koan) is: well, I can still choose to eat because eating can be a pleasurable activity, other than getting nutrients and staying alive. Similarly, while I can still survive without expressing happiness or sadness, at least I get to express my emotions or feel my feelings. I suppose feelings or emotions are there for a reason. Animals, for example, have feelings too – they feel happy at times and they feel sad too. But I don’t find animals mulling over the seeming futility of life. They live in the moment, or so it seems.
So, maybe the meaning of existence is to create my own meaning and choose to live in the moment. To live in the awareness that I have the ability or the gift or the opportunity to at least feel alive, to love and be loved, to experience compassion and empathy. Emotions or feelings may be Nature’s gift to us to experience that aliveness. After all, dead people can’t feel anything – they can’t laugh or smile and they can’t cry too. But I can. And you can. We can be happy if we want to feel the happiness. We can be sad if we want to feel the sadness. It sounds basic and simple, and I may well be stating the obvious here, but then again, I wish life is that simple… Well, perhaps it is, and it is us human beings who are complex and mysterious creatures.