What is the meaning of life?
I’m sure you’ve been asked that famous question at least once your life. I’m asked it at least once a year, for what reason I do not know. I’m not the old all-knowing guy sitting on top of a mountain somewhere after all. Anyway, no matter how many times I’m asked, I always give the same response: suffering.
What would your life be without suffering? You would be “happy” all the time with no concern over your actions. Wonderful, right? Not really, since your life would be meaningless.
Think about it for a moment. Without suffering, you wouldn’t be able to know what happiness is, let alone appreciate it. And if you weren’t afraid of doing something that might result in you suffering, you wouldn’t be able to identify the tough choices in life nor their circumstances. I think the Lady Antebellum song “Need You Now” has a great one-liner that summarizes this perfectly. “Yes I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all.”
A life without suffering would be almost numb, just like your mouth when you go to the dentist. When they numb your mouth, your lips can’t form a proper smile, you accidentally bite your cheek or tongue, and you can’t sense much of anything as far as feeling nor taste. Why would you want to live your life like that (if you could even call it “living”)?
Next time you find yourself feeling down, reflect on what made you happy in the past. And when you find yourself feeling happy, be thankful that you were down before so you can appreciate the positive emotions you are experiencing.