Table of Contents


What's the meaning of life? It's a silly question, really. It pretends to make sense, to be an obvious question anyone who carefully examined life would ask. But looking closer I can see it's just some linguistic sleight of hand, words pretending to make sense but they're empty and barren. Meaning is internal; it's not out there somewhere to be found. In my own story meaning is one of Leela's qualities, like love, wisdom, satisfaction and happiness. I have to make my own life meaningful internally: meaningful to me. I'm the only one who can make my life meaningful. There is no meaning of life per se.

The spiritual quest is what gives my life meaning. Nothing else does. I used to think love was going to do the trick: if only I could find the perfect relationship everything would be great. At different times in my life I've thought I could fill the empty longing inside me with sex, money, the perfect career, travel and adventure. All the usual suspects except kids. I always knew having a family wasn't for me. But no. I can't get meaning from outside, from anything outside because meaning is inside. It doesn't exist out there. It doesn't exist. It's in 5-space along with all the other things that don't exist in the physical world but life is empty without, like love. I have to find meaning inside myself. It's true that the spiritual quest is about love. It's about making progress with love. If I see I'm becoming more loving and having more love in my life over the course of months and years, that's profoundly satisfying. That gives my life meaning. If I keep making the same mistakes, doing the same old crap, slowly getting older and less healthy, treating everyone just as badly, then life is meaningless. I have to work hard at becoming a better human being if I want meaning, satisfaction, richness in life. Better at being a human, not at being a holy man or a saint. Making progress with love, aka the spiritual quest, is ongoing work I undertake to realize my human potential, that is to make myself a better human being.

Longing for more. I've had the longing for more as far back as I can remember. Longing for more is the foundation of my spiritual quest. No one would do this frustrating, endlessly demanding work unless something inside would give him or her no peace. Something always egging him or her on. The longing for more never lets up. It can never be satisfied. That's another way of saying there's no shortage of headroom on the spiritual quest. But not being on the spiritual quest is just as relentless, with no upside: there's nothing to offset life's inevitable decline into age, weakness, death. The spiritual quest is the only thing that gives life meaning. It's ultimately the only reason to go on living. Everything else eventually turns to ashes without the spiritual quest. I'm nothing without my longing; nothing if I aspire to nothing greater.

Without creativity life is meaningless. I'll never find the meaning of life by searching for it out there somewhere. I can only create a meaningful life by doing hard, creative, life-affirming work. That kind of creativity isn't limited to the arts: it can be applied to any task or project. But if my work isn't life-affirming, if it doesn't contribute to human well-being or human nobility, it robs my life of meaning rather than creating it. Creativity in service to greed or in any way turned against humanity is the source of human misery. Without hard creative work my life is meaningless because I stay stuck in a rut. Creative work lays the groundwork for a new me in the future. I can gauge the creativity of my work by how uncomfortable it makes me, by how much it challenges my beliefs, pretensions, and status quo. Creativity, aka making progress with love, is never comfortable. It always hurts because when I create the new I displace the old: the old me has to die for the new me to live and dying's painful. Creativity is risky, terra incognita. I have to take a chance because I don't know what will happen. It's crucial that I don't know the future.

Sanity. Creative work is whatever it takes to make me a better human. A sense that life has meaning is a basic element of sanity. Insanity is life lived in meaninglessness, unhinged from what's real. A life lived in the dreary realm of mental noise.

Instead of in the world, which is pretty fucking awesome.

Drenched. My life had meaning before we moved to Kenya. I found richness everywhere, especially in nature. Nature was magic, and it thrilled me, even though I was just a shy fat kid with no friends. Nature was a better friend than any human friend could ever be. Nature was teaching me how to make progress with love. Those magic moments I write about were moments I was in touch with who I really am. I write about the most memorable moments, but the same thing happened on a smaller scale every day. My life was drenched with meaning. When I moved to Kenya I traded all that in for booze and pot. I gave up real magic for harmful fake magic. Now, fifty-five years later, I finally made it back to the garden, living in my new home. My life is drenched with meaning once more.