Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why Am I Here?

Trey Smith

At some point in every human life, we ask the question: Why am I here? We want to know what our purpose is. No matter how many times we ask it, a definitive answer is never provided.

The Abrahamic religions offer an answer: We are here to serve each religion's version of god. That answer provides some people with comfort, but still the underlying question nags at us. Why am I here?

One of the insights that I believe that Zhuangzi offers us is that we are here to be here. There is no ultimate purpose beyond the purpose of being. We don't know what sparked life and, even if we discovered it, it would be beyond our realm of comprehension. All we think we understand is that we are alive. And so, our purpose is to ride the wave of being wherever it takes us.

While I embrace this notion philosophically, there are times -- like right now -- when I have a bit of trouble embracing it in my own ego-based life. I am stuck here on my hill 23 hours or more per day with little to do except write blog posts and dismantling my home piece-by-piece. Aside from a few phone calls here and there, I talk to no one. Once I have donated all we don't need and boxed up the few belongings that will continue on to the next stop, what then?

Aah yes, intensive cleaning! But once I've cleaned like there is no tomorrow, what am I left with?

That's the question I've been wrestling with lately. When the organizing and cleaning is finished and I still have a few weeks or months left in this house, what is my purpose?

I haven't come up with a satisfactory answer yet.

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