The Meaning of Life by Arda Ozdemir and Elizabeth Ouellette
Why did you come to life?
To fully experience every moment,
Until you find your essence,
that is who you are without the layers.
Since I was 12, I’ve been relentlessly asking myself, “What is the Meaning of Life?” Even though many claimed this question was unanswerable, for some reason, a life without exploring this question was “meaningless.” Maybe deep down, I sensed that there was an underlying system to life. Well, how else does one explain nature’s delicate balance?
When we look at nature, we witness life and death. Here in California, we have wildfires, where acres and acres of land, brush, and trees burn and perish, but two or three years later, what happens? Time and time again, nature renews itself. I’ve watched its rebirth many times: new leaves sprout, flowers blossom, and saplings spring forth, full of vitality, ready to embrace life again.
We are all equal in the face of death; no one escapes it.
I decided to take a scientific approach to this seemingly unanswerable question. I developed hypotheses about life, exploring them in my own life and in the lives of my clients to prove whether these theories were right or wrong. Over time, my answers evolved as I constantly challenged and fine-tuned them. In a sense, I have used “life” as my “lab” to investigate every pattern of life revealed to me. And after many experiments and personal experiences, I finally realized that there is a system of life.
What is this system of life, and how does it relate to human beings?
French Jesuit priest, scientist, paleontologist, theologian, philosopher, and teacher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said: “We are not human beings having spiritual experiences, but we are spiritual beings having human experiences.” What human experiences are we having as spiritual beings, and why do we have them? When you apply Chardin’s quote to the system of life, you’ll understand life’s meaning: To get to know ourselves. In other words, our mission is to use our human experiences to reflect upon who we are and to use them as building blocks toward a higher consciousness. Hopefully, we will gain enough self-awareness and acquire adequate self-knowledge to improve our reactions in the future when we face similar situations. Right there and then, the quality of life improves. Don’t believe me. Test it yourself. Explore life as if it is your lab.
Physical vs Spiritual
Based on Teilhard de Chardin’s words, which describe life so perfectly, we can conclude that we all have two distinct parts – the physical and the spiritual. The spiritual side is the being part, made up of presence and energy; the human being side is the doing part, made possible by the physical body.
As spiritual beings having human experiences, could life be a mirror of ourselves for us to learn about Self? When I say Self, I mean the Ego, thought patterns, belief systems, values, fears, repressed feelings, hidden desires, and individual wants and needs. We are doers in the physical world and go through these experiences to acquire self-knowledge. When we are born, we start our lives in survival mode; our spiritual beings are dormant. When you look at very young babies or toddlers, you will see their spiritual beings are active.
Still, since they chose to be born into a nurturing environment, the human side evolves, and the spiritual part is all but forgotten. As life progresses, we accumulate traumatic life experiences and tuck them away deep inside our bodies. Over time, these repressed and ingrained fears create suffering and unbearable pain; they hold us back from living a fulfilling and expansive life. When emotional pain sets in, listen carefully. The universe is sending a message, a wake-up call of sorts. Suffering fosters a connection back to our spiritual part; as a result, we become more conscious – if we decide to answer the call. Imagine how our lives could change if we lived more consciously and made decisions with more mental clarity and emotional balance.
Ask yourself now, “How would your life change?”
The suffering in the world comes from being stuck in your comfort zone. As human beings, repressed fears and faulty beliefs govern our lives. Can you relate to any of the following thoughts?
– I am invisible: I am not seen nor heard
– I am not good enough.
– I am dismissed all the time.
– I am excluded from everything.
– I am not appreciated.
– I am not connecting.
– I feel lonely. I have family, but I’m all alone.
These fears govern our lives, control our actions, and cause our re-actions. We end up paralyzed, trapped in habitual thinking and familiar scenarios. Suffering comes from the conflict between our fears and our desires. So, if I fear not being recognized, my desire will be recognition. My human experience will tilt toward being recognized, and I will run into that same pattern each time I am not recognized. I continuously get triggered and think, “This life sucks because nobody recognizes me.”
How to Bring the Spiritual Being Into Your Experiences?
Whenever there is a trigger, a stressor, or a challenge, pause and notice your emotions. When you think, “Oh, I am angry. I am nervous. I am anxious. I am frustrated. I am jealous. I am sad. I am worried, etc. ” Stop and dive deep into the thoughts creating your emotions.
Emotions are the tip of the iceberg. Dive under the iceberg to grasp what is going on below the surface. I’m inviting everybody to become curious. Your life is your lab. Keep experimenting with self-meditation observation because you need tools and training when survival mode takes charge. We have to learn how to pause when survival mode gets a grip. We don’t know how to stop, and we don’t know how to observe our thoughts. We don’t even know how to notice our emotions. We immediately resort to emotional re-actions and defensive actions. Remember, it is okay to be in your head. Just keep observing the flow of thoughts and assumptions. If my spirit takes on that repressed feeling of not being good enough, I will focus on being included and feeling compassion. Every thought, belief system, and value we develop over time becomes part of our life conditioning. Our internal programming is reflected in every experience we have as human beings. To decipher our experiences, pause, observe what’s happening internally, and examine how we perceive people, situations, and societal messages. When your vision opens up, you see life through different lenses. And guess what? You don’t have to have rose-colored glasses to see positivity in life. You will start connecting with life so profoundly that you don’t have to do anything except pause and observe your thoughts to decipher your internal programming, which develops your spiritual side over time. The higher you rise in consciousness, the closer your true essence is and the higher your integrity will be.
I hope one day, everyone becomes curious enough to explore how this system of life works. My dream is to see everyone discover their purpose on this Earth by bringing their attention inward, embarking on the journey within to understand what is going on so that they can build the spiritual being side of themselves and taste a glimpse of heaven on Earth.
This article is an excerpt from the Ask Arda Podcast. Next podcast coming up in April 2023. You’re Invited: March Community Event
Thanks for reading! I am now a Certified Rise 2 Realize Life Coach, accepting new clients. For more information on Rise 2 Realize and our methodology, go here: https://www.rise2realize.com/our-team