Vaishali Love’s tip: Practice true human connection and kindness to others by interacting from a “core of love”
BY VAISHALI LOVE, read part 1 of this 2 part series — Whenever we create a “quality meaning” vacuum in life, the emotional and psychological aspects of our existence start to erode and diminish. Ultimately this will affect the physical.
As Victor Frankl points out, the ability to choose meaning in our lives is what makes us distinctly and uniquely human. So whether we derive life-enhancing meaning, or suffer from a lack thereof, our choice is going to affect every aspect of our reality.
Nature does not like a vacuum. When we fail to bring a transcendent meaning to our lives, whatever stimulus we are exposed to moves in and defines our internal understanding and knowing of ourselves. The risk is that without actively participating in the search for meaning, the “know thyself” quest becomes a shallow, unsatisfying excursion.
Frankl based his theory of the critical nature of the search for meaning on his real life experience as a Holocaust survivor. But what most interested me in this search is this: within the framework of personal and individual freedom to create meaning, are there some universal choices that would bring liberating results no matter what the underlining circumstances might be?
How to cope with adversity
If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one, employment layoff, divorce, foreclosure, medical complications, bad hair day or all of the above, is there a choice you could make, a default, which would bring life-enhancing meaning to your experience unconditionally?
And if so, what exactly is that meaning choice? We always ask why bad things happen to good people, but what I’m asking is what do good people choose when bad things happen?
Although not on the scale that Frankl went through in a Nazi concentration camp, I found myself searching for meaning amid the grief and sadness following four deaths within the span of two weeks. Two were violent and traumatic deaths; two involved watching the final suffering of loved ones as they crossed over.
I wanted to choose a meaningful way of growing beyond the shock and unhappiness. I wanted to choose a deliberate and conscious method of life operation. What could I choose to bring alive and nurture an intelligence that would counterbalance the outflow of life that had just occurred?
Is there a meaningful choice I could make that would cover this deep and widening gap, providing a stable supportive path for moving forward through the tragedies and ugliness that find their way to this planet?
Add meaning to ALL of your relationships, even the fleeting ones
I needed to know where the truth that sets one free could be found. So I started in the most fundamental area of life — relationships. I wanted to search for meaning in the human contact I encountered, with every person, no matter how brief.
These passings had awakened the realization that tomorrow is promised to no one, and that with each interaction we have with our fellow human beings, any one of them could be our last. I wanted to choose to connect with everyone I encountered with the essence of the old Christian adage, “love thy neighbor.” I wanted to know if this, the greatest of all Spiritual Laws, was a choice that would bring meaning to my life, ubiquitously, no matter what the source of limitation might be.
If I died unexpectedly, and the last person I spoke to was a hi-tech customer service rep in India, I wanted to choose that even as transient as that contact might be, not counting my time on hold, I was going to speak to this person with the same integrity, patience and understanding that I would to the most important person in my life.
That was the meaning of reality I chose to bring to that exchange. I found that honestly thanking them for being of service brought a profoundly comforting meaning to my life. I also tried to make them laugh if I could.
Love thy neighbor, not old-school advice after all
Interjecting a quality of basic human kindness into all relationships I encountered was the meaning I choose to see in the loss I could not change in my own life. My choice, love, considered to be the highest ethical, philosophical teaching, and laughter, did in fact bring a life-liberating meaning regardless of the source of the suffering.
The old Christian adage “love thy neighbor” worked! It worked to provide that universal, one size fits all meaning. I could apply it anywhere and everywhere in my life, and it brought a transforming power that gave my life a richness of meaning and purpose.
Don’t get me wrong, I still cried and grieved for those loved ones who died. Emotionally digesting these events still manifested to its fullest extent and intensity. Finding meaning did not give me a vacation from being human; it is not a reprieve from working through challenging emotions. It did not change the details of the exterior world.
However, infusing this search and alignment with meaning made it a journey I could endure with grace and dignity. A quality of self-realized development strengthened my understanding of what is truly valuable and important in life and what it means to be fully human.
The meaning you add to life events is up to you
The extent of my wisdom is this: meaning is chosen by your free will. It is not inherent. There is no “meaning instruction tag” sewn into the fabric of life. Finding a meaning choice is not based on how much money you have or don’t have. It is not determined by what education you have or have not completed. It has nothing to do with politics, religion or sexual orientation. It is an internal action that is applied externally through the exercise of free will.
So much of the suffering on this planet is intrinsic to the human experience itself. Regardless of what your life is yielding, you are not alone. Many others on this rock know what it is like to share your pain. If the “love thy neighbor” choice achieved such a deep-seated across the board deliverance quality of meaning for me, I suspect there is boundless value in it for you as well. After all, my suffering and your suffering do not exist in a vacuum. We are all connected.
When I choose to interact from a core of love, I can see the Divine in all, and it endows my life with a pristinely elegant, expansive, tangible sense of meaning. The best part of all, I have yet to find a downside to relating to others from an authentic inner place of tolerance and compassion.
And most importantly remember, when a customer service rep asks you if there is anything else they can do, always answer with, “How about a life without suffering and a body without cellulite?” And when you find one… call me day or night!
Read part 1 of this 2 part series: The answer to the meaning of life. . .is multiple choice!
Vaishali is the author of Wisdom Rising and You Are What You Love. She is also a national health and wellness speaker and radio host of “You Are What You Love” heard weekly on KTLK 1150am., Sunday 11-noon PST in greater LA. Read Vaishali’s previous articles for Soul’s Code: The anatomy of emotion: Where feelings live in your body and 7 Ayurvedic tips for de-stressing your digestive system.
Visit Vaishali’s site at www.purplev.com.
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