The Meaning of Life…

Winking Universe Lady

What is your take on the meaning of life? When Excellence Reporter first asked to interview me on the meaning of life I felt incredibly honoured, but also, I don’t mind admitting, slightly overwhelmed. Rather hilariously ‘write the meaning of life’ has been sitting at the top of my to-do lists over the last couple of months. The question floated into my practice, conversations and dreams and then after one meditation as I wrote in my journal the following just flowed onto the page…

What a wonder it is just to be alive, more remarkable still to be aware of this and to wonder what might be the meaning of life?

As endless reflections of consciousness becoming conscious of itself there are as many meanings as there are makers of meaning. Perceived by the perceiver, these ever-changing ripples of reality and perception shift instant by instant, uniquely filtered and distilled.

Even if you know what I mean, you’ll never really know my meaning, for no two of us live the same life. Many may have had a moment of ‘no-one understands me’ and on one level we are right, yet this is only a tiny fraction of the picture. The little surface me, the flesh-bound layer of self-consciousness. The part of us that is easily wounded, critical, anxious and needs to be right. This is the layer where life happens to us, our actions and reactions driven by fear. It is easy to be held here on the surface, so compelling our storylines, so persistent our thoughts.

For me, the meaning of life is to wake up to the wonder of life beyond meaning and experience the wonder it is just to be alive. With this human equipment it is so easy to forget ourselves, lost in the maze of the mind, so we are here to remember why we are here. This can be seen with the naked eye when the eye is truly naked. Grasped only when we stop grasping. In our search for meaning we can get in our own way, for searching is doing and defining is confining.

When we awaken to the brilliance of our being, so much vaster and greater than the smallness of any thought, we wake up to the true meaning of all meaning. The solid reveals itself as spacious and fear gives way to love. We experience the energy of life flowing through us and in this eternal moment we join the dance. No longer the spectator or commentator we step into our true nature. The emptiness that propelled our search for meaning, that hungered all of our wanting, once realised becomes wholeness. The need for meaning satiated by knowing who we really are. Laughing and crying at the same time, just because, feeling the full contradicted contrast of things. Two opposing truths, both true at the same time; wholeness and emptiness, darkness and light experienced together as one, no beginning, no end, just now.

While we are here, we are here to be here fully, to have a direct experience of life. Indirectly experienced meaning holds no meaning. Even the most vivid of imaginations cannot summon up a taste without lips and a mouth and taste buds. If no taste had ever been tasted before, the sensation of dripping juice, the essence from ripened fruit, is just meaningless. Yet to you and I, to us who know, we know, without words as signposts or pale imitations of the truth. Sweetness only sweet through direct experience and contrast of the sour. Together we can sip on the full flavour of life, whilst catching fleeting glances of ourselves in the mirror of awareness along the way.

How would it be if I had never had feet that touched the earth, that walked and ran and leaped in exploration? If I never had this body to feel and to touch, to move and express, to hear the beauty of birdsong and look up towards the sky? If I had never had the chance to live and love and be loved and lost? To be here, to create, to play, to learn, to grow. Then to unlearn, unfold and to let go, surely this is what gives meaning to everything and to every nothing?

In life we eat the sun, turning our many faces towards it to feel the light. Until breath, the thin layer of separation between inside and out, between living and dying, here and there, falls away. And the ripples of an endless echo find no surface on which to bounce. The roar of the wave of all things crashes without crashing and we become the light once more.

The above is from an interview first published by Excellence Reporter in July 2018: Frances Trussell on The Meaning of Life

What is your take on the Meaning of Life?! Please share your take or comments below.

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HOW TO BE MINDFUL IN EVERYDAY LIFE

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Life is in the little stuff; by showing up for the small we wake up to the big picture. As we let go of story and focus our attention we transform the everyday. Folding the washing becomes a sacred ritual, taking a shower a sensory delight, each step on a walk down the street a meditation of arrival.

Listen to the birds. Flying messengers of mindfulness, those birds, singing for your attention ‘notice me’ they call ‘be awake to the aliveness of this moment’. No App required, no text alerts necessary – just ears. It is always now as the birds are singing, we can use them to help guide us home.

Find your feet. Where our attention goes our energy follows, as we get lost in our heads we can feel a little ‘top heavy’ and out of balance. Sink the anchor of your awareness into your feet, feel your soles against the floor, relaxing the weight of your body into each foot. Breathe into your contact with the ground. As we dive into sensing we release thought, we release tension, we move from clinging on to letting go.

Meditate; if, as, and when you can. But know that mindfulness is much more than meditation alone. Be where you are. Meditation is at the heart of my life, I find myself there, lose myself and find myself again but it wasn’t always this way. We can only ever be where we are and meditation reminds me that there’s nowhere to get to.

Keep it simple; all of life is an opportunity to be mindful, the obstacle is overthinking it.

This is the summer of your life

mindfulness, summer

On childhood summer evenings I would sit by the breeze of my open bedroom window listening to the symphony of the season. The laughter of those children still allowed to play out, the kicking of balls in the park and shouting to friends. Birdsong soared high amongst the barbecue smoke whilst the clinking of glasses accompanied grown-ups chatter below.

How bittersweet those balmy nights, a loveliness and still a longing. A longing for a time when the days would be mine, the laughter my own in a no-bedtime, no-rules, me-time-all-the-time kind of way.

So now, I have arrived. And you have too. Here we are, exactly where we wanted to be back then. This day is ours, this night is ours and it’s us who makes those rules. We made a promise to ourselves that when we got here we would embrace those evenings with all our being, feel the warmth of the sun on our face, that now would be that time.

And yet, how easy it is to shift those jumper goal posts, lost in the mourning mind of summers gone or the longing mind of summers to come. But it is not going to get any better than this, now is the only place we get to experience anything because it is always now. There will, of course, inevitably be the perfect-house-bigger-garden summer that lives in our heads. The one where a slightly thinner and more attractive version of ourselves has our hair windswept whilst driving our top-down Aston Martin. The next holiday, the next job, the next relationship, next month or next summer, that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The wanderings of the mind can trick us into believing that the next lick of the ice cream will taste better than this one. So remember to savour the flavour of this moment. There is little point saving happiness for best like Grandmas crockery.

Feel this summer, own it, squeeze the juice out of it. You have arrived at your destination; this is the summer of your life.

It is always the summer of your life should you choose it to be.