Seventy years ago, Victor Frankl wrote a book titled Man’s Search for Meaning. It has been a popular book ever since. There appears to be an ongoing hunger to find the deeper meaning on life. One might argue that the need to find meaning is more acute now than when the book was written.
Distracted living abounds. We are constantly bombarded cell phone, TV, radio, online messages and a constant barrage of advertising from every angle. Silence is rare. The connection to nature is limited for many. Deep conversations are uncommon.
Eventually, most people who live on the surface notice a sense of emptiness. They ask the question, “Is this all there is?” This is the critical meaning question. It is challenging because it cannot be answered with an app. It cannot be delivered express from Amazon Prime. There are no quick fixes for this question.
The path to find meaning is unfamiliar because it requires quiet reflection, focus, and deep thinking. It is an inward journey that is like a foreign land to those who live on distractions and acquisitions of the latest and the best.
Those of us in the Third Chapter who have slowed down enough to pursue the inward journey have an important contribution to make. We can model another way of living that demonstrates values that are not dependent on things and endless activities. We are in a position to share the wisdom that comes from reflecting on our lives. Things that at one time seemed so important fade. Rather our focus is on such values as love, faithfulness, sacrifice, and service. Empathy and compassion take the place of judgmental thinking.
Studies have shown that, in general, older people are happier and more satisfied with their lives than young people. My theory is that is because we are more likely to have shifted inward to seek and find the meaning of life. It is a great place to be!