Life is complicated don’t you think? Sometimes we are able to see & experience the pure beauty of being alive & we feel holy joyful, grateful, hopeful, energized & purposeful. And then other times we experience & see unavoidable tragedy & we suffer & lose our sense of meaning, belonging & purpose in life. As our life experiences seem to shift between beauty & suffering, upon occasion, it can be a challenge to understand exactly what the ultimate meaning of this life we have been given is. That is especially true when we are experiencing suffering, be it caused by: serious illness, grief, loss, injustice, loneliness, betrayal, etc.

Living with a Spiritual Hunger for Meaning:  Part 1

Life is complicated don’t you think? Sometimes we are able to see & experience the pure beauty of being alive & we feel holy joyful, grateful, hopeful, energized & purposeful. And then other times we experience & see unavoidable tragedy & we suffer & lose our sense of meaning, belonging & purpose in life. As our life experiences seem to shift between beauty & suffering, upon occasion, it can be a challenge to understand exactly what the ultimate meaning of this life we have been given is. That is especially true when we are experiencing suffering, be it caused by: serious illness, grief, loss, injustice, loneliness, betrayal, etc. The Holy Bible proclaims that God created life declaring life to be good, beautiful, balanced, & whole. That is God’s will for all of creation, but it does not always work out that way, does it? It is proclaimed that God created the universe with order despite the apparent chaos & that each person is given the free choice as to how they wish to participate in that order. Their choice is generally based on their view of the ultimate meaning they ascribe to life.

There are two kinds of meaning of this life we have been given: “ultimate meaning” & “the meaning of the moment.” The existence & understanding of the ultimate meaning of life, based on God’s order of creation despite chaos, is an unprovable assumption, for it is based on faith. It can be approached but never be reached. What matters is not attaining or proving the meaning, but rather how we live into the faith that all life is created to be good & whole & that the meaning of our life is found in the unending search for ultimate meaning in spite of the chaos & unavoidable suffering we encounter.

The meaning of the moment is more accessible than the ultimate meaning of life. Our lives are made up of moments, some beautiful, true & meaningful at a particular moment & others tragic, sad & painful at a particular moment. In the actual moment, we generally have the capacity to discover the meaning inherent in the situation offered by the special circumstances of the situation, i.e.: one is very sick due to the fact that they had food poisoning. To recognize the meaning potentials of the moment & to respond to them, presents a pathway to the way we experience a life informed by the ultimate meaning we chose to ascribe to life.

It is a well-known & accepted fact that humankind can only be understood in their fullness if they are considered as being composed of mind, body & spirit. From this reality, human beings are literally “indivisible”, as mind/psyche, physical, & spiritual beings, each part affecting the other. The mental health of humans requires the wellbeing or balance of all three dimensions, with the exception that the body & mind can become sick, but the spirit cannot. Studies indicate that people report more distress in their lives caused by emptiness & feelings of lack of meaning & purpose than they do from physical sickness. Biblically speaking, the spirit is the healthy core. Though our spirits may be blocked by physical or psychological causes of the moment, we are primarily pulled to find & recognize the ultimate meaning of life by the spiritual forces of our spirit. As human beings searching to understand the ultimate meaning of life amidst all the beauty & suffering we encounter, it is our challenge to be open to identifying & removing the physical & psychological blocks in order to gain access to our God given spiritual, uniquely human resources, as we reach out to our goal of seeking & living into our hungering for the ultimate meaning of life.

 

~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy

Sign up for our Health e-Newsletter

Inspired Health Group

3671 Southwestern Blvd.
Suites 101 & 213
Orchard Park, NY 14127-1752

Contact Us

(716) 662-7008 Office
(716) 662-5226 Fax

Office Hours

Office Closed
View Office Hours by Practitioner