At some point in life people always wonder about the true meaning of life and the way to know it. Is the meaning of life something that can be intellectually comprehended, or is it something to be experienced? Is it something Personal or Universal?
Prophets, saints, and philosophers have always talked about finding one’s true north, the meaning, and the calling of one’s life. People have looked for the meaning of life in religion, from hedonic consumption to esoteric rituals. In India and around the world, multiple schools of thought have tried to address this question, with answers ranging from there is no true meaning of life (Charvaka/Hedonistic school), Search for God(Jnana School) being the goal of life, Devotion is the meaning of life (Bhakti School), the purpose of life being the end of suffering(in Buddhism), to the meaning of life is accumulating good deeds(as per the religion) so as to live the afterlife with all pleasures and comfort as in some Abrahamic religions, etc.
But none of these searches paint a coherent picture to give a definitive path to the meaning of life. But they certainly give a clue. A close analysis of all the schools of thought and experiencing the path laid by them give rise to the emergence of what I call the Golden Triad which can point to your true north as the meaning of life seems to be a personal one. So let us delve into this Golden Triad.
Golden Triad : Meditation + Prayer + Desireless Action
Meditation is the inward action, being in constant touch with our inner self is the prerequisite for an authentic life, a life that is not driven by FOMO but by your innermost desires and needs. Being in constant touch with ourselves also helps in shedding parts of our being that we have accumulated consciously/unconsciously, which no longer serve us (Purging the karma). For being meditative you just have to listen to your deepest voice by being in the moment and acting consciously, so every act done consciously is inherently meditative. The direct outcome of being meditative is the ability to follow one’s heart as meditation lifts the veil of ignorance and clears the clutter in our minds.
Meditation goes in. Prayer goes out. But they both aim for the same place of union between you and the divine. — Lisa Jones
Every inward action has to be balanced with outward action, and that is where Prayer becomes important, Prayer is the total acceptance of the moment as it is and being grateful for it. Because past is memory and future is speculation, all you have is the present moment, so this realization of the eternity of the present moment is enough to make you grateful for it. Because when you truly accept and are grateful for something, only then you can really appreciate its full beauty. So Prayer connects microcosm to macrocosm, Individual to Universe.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein
Desireless action is what we call the state of Flow these days, has its roots in Nishkama Karma as expounded by Lord Krishna in Bhagavata Gita, which is that state where the motivation and fruit of labour become irrelevant and the action takes the highest importance, a state where the action is for its own sake. Desireless action can only be achieved when we are meditative and grateful for the moment as it is. Hence Desireless Action is both prayer and meditation at the same time.
Flow is a state of mind in which a person becomes fully immersed in an activity. — Anonymous
When one’s experience of life is so profound that they are in constant state of Desireless Action ,the search for meaning ceases.— Anonymous
Great Psychologist and Philosopher Alfred Adler defines ‘community-feeling’ as the meaning of life, which one gains from serving others while following one’s heart and feeling a sense of connection with the Universe both animate and inanimate across past, present, and future. This community feeling is easier to achieve if an individual has a practical understanding of the Golden Triad. Following the Golden Triad in my life has helped me a lot, and it has become the overarching guiding principle of my life, a rule above all rules, I hope it does wonders for you too.