We all ask “Why am I alive?” Some of us near obsess over the question. “Why am I alive?” How do I find purpose in life? What’s it all about?”
A short while ago I too found myself asking this question, wondering how to find purpose in life. I’ve done a lot in my life (mostly to do with the arts). I’ve always been intensely passionate about life itself and about making the most of the time that I have, but I had never quite discovered exactly why I am alive; what it is I, as an individual, am supposed to do.
For the first 29 years of my life I would think about this question, “Why am I alive?” quite regularly, sometimes to a point of obsession. There have been times in my life when I simply refused to do anything until I knew the reason for living. After all, why act if you see no cause to? Perhaps this is something you can relate to. I suppose millions of us (especially we of the introspective sort) have whiled away hours questioning, questioning, questioning. And what have we gotten for it?
I can tell you right now that there is but one benefit I have personally gleaned from so many years of questioning: Questions do not provide answers. Yes, it’s one of life’s fun little quirks, the fact that asking questions will never provide answers. Asking questions simply provides more questions. Why am I alive? So I can be happy. But what’s the point in being happy? Cause it’s fun. Well, yes, but what’s the point in… . Oh, shut up! Jeez.
Why Am I Alive? — The question stops you finding the answer
Let us not question. Let us stop asking “Why am I alive.” Instead, let us look for the reason why we are alive. Let’s look logically at our request.
Why am I alive? Well, if there is an all encompassing reason why we are alive, it logically must have been there since day one. Being 29, if there were one all important reason why I am alive, then that reason must have been with me for 29 years.
Now then, with this logical understanding I am able to deduce that, because my reason for being has always existed inside me for the past 29 years, then the problem is that I simply have not seen it. In all my 29 years I have not been able to perceive the reason for my every day. Why might that be?
From personal experience I can confidently say that the reason I have never been able to see why I am alive is that my eyes have always been focussed on distractions. Hot women, acting, video games, movies, the arts, writing and a lot of questioning. For 29 years I had distracted myself with the superfluities of life.
Allow me to make one important point here. I’m not about to say that video games, movies, hot women (or men) and the arts are evils or that they should not be enjoyed . They should be enjoyed to the fullest, as should life itself. However, the fact of the matter is that people do not enjoy the niceties of life half as much as they should because they are always distracted. If you’re playing a game, you’re half thinking about hot women. If you’re with a hot woman, you’re half thinking about games. If you’re watching a movie… so on and so on. We never enjoy anything to its fullest because we are never sure. We are never sure why, how, when, where etc. etc. We have a lack of purpose, a lack of focus, and that lack of focus causes everything to become one big pointless blur.
In order to truly enjoy anything in life we need to be able to focus on it and give our full attention, and for an introspective like me (and probably you if you are still reading this) that means ending the questions, and the only way to end the questions is to see the purpose in life, the reason why we are alive, so that we can understand our existence and enjoy it to the fullest.
Right; let’s quickly sum up what we have discussed so far:-
Why Am I Alive, Summary
- Questions do not bring answers
- Question bring more questions
- Questions cause us to be unable to focus on life and enjoy ourselves
- The true reason for life must have been with us all the days of our lives.
- The true issue is that we have been unable to see why we are here because of distractions
Why am I alive — The answer is in you right now
Now, there are two very important points I should like you to consider in sincerity right now. Firstly, you are alive right now. If there is a reason why you are alive, then it must be with you right now. Only you cannot see it. Secondly, the reason why you are alive would be with you no matter what. Failing your death, if there is a reason why you are alive it logically must be with you no matter where you are, what you are thinking, who you are with etc.
Now, with these two points we can finally get around to realising why we are alive. You are alive right now and so long as you are alive your reason for being alive is still with you. What does that mean? It means that when you cut away every single superfluous part of your life, you will be left with your essential reason for being.
Like a sculptor, you must chisel away every part of yourself that is not vital to living in order to see the inner most part of you.
Thankfully, you don’t have to literally destroy or get rid of those unessential parts of your life, you just have to learn to let go of them for a moment so you can see the deepest part of you. And this, of course, happens to be exactly what meditation does for us. By meditating we sculpt away all the fat of life. We come to our very blood and find the pulse that keeps us ticking. We realise why we are alive.
To answer the question “Why Am I Alive” right now, simply do the following.
- Get into a comfortable position lying, sitting or standing
- Focus on your breath.
- Coninue to focus on your breath and every time any thought arises simply allow the thought to fall silent and return to focussing on your breath.
- Notice how your perception of yourself changes as you continue to meditate. Notice how certain wrong perceptions leave you (for instance, you realise you are not a job, a relationship, a personality, you are essentially just energy).
- Once you are completely relaxed (which may take anywhere from ten minutes to a few hours depending on how regularly you meditate and how relaxed you naturally are) allow yourself to voice a question silently “Why am I alive.”
- Continue to focus on your breath whilst that question stirs inside you. Welcome any ideas that arise, be appreciative of them but continue to return your focus to your breath.
- Your answer will arise. It may not come the first time you do this exercise. It might take many many times, but once you are able to silence all those thought and questions, you will come to see why you are alive.
Doing this exercise, you will no longer have to ask “why am I alive?” The answer to “why am I alive” will come to you.
Here is more advice on how to find purpose in life
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