Frankl suffered more than most of us will ever suffer, losing his parents, his brother, and his pregnant wife, among others. Through his experience of such tremendous pain, he developed a theory of meaning that laid the groundwork for decades of research and inspired millions of readers to seek out meaning for themselves.
Throughout the book, the reader will be presented with evidence and anecdotes that show how powerful it can be to choose how you respond to suffering. In his 80s, Klein revisited this notebook and added, edited, and revised his entries, providing annotations and notes for the reader to follow along. With the wisdom and experience that only age can bring, the author explores how he has changed and how he has stayed the same, and how each quote applied or missed the mark!
If you are looking for a book that is fun, humorous, and enlightening all at once, this may be the book for you. Learn more about it here. Likely a familiar book for philosophy students and teachers in the humanities, this tome contains the personal writings of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor from to CE. It contains twelve books, each composed of several quotations ranging from one sentence to lengthy paragraphs.
While these writings were never intended to be published and distributed to the masses, they are still full of some of the most interesting and thought-provoking ideas to ever be put on paper. It is not a quick and easy read, but it is certainly worth the effort required. Click here to read more about this book or buy it on Amazon.
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Whether you are religious, agnostic, atheistic, spiritual, or anything in between, there is something to be gained by reading these foundational works of the major religions. Likewise, if you belong to one of the other religions on this list, I highly recommend reading the holy books of the other major religions. Even if you think you know all there is to know about another religion or denomination, you will certainly learn something new by branching out your religious readings. While you will likely not agree with all or even most! You will notice interesting overlaps between the belief systems, and notice what they have in common like the famous Golden Rule.
Making your way through each book will be challenging, but the reward is a deeper understanding of each religion, of humanity itself, and of your own sense of meaning in the world. I hope you also found at least one new theory or reading recommendation that sparked your interest. Meaning is one of the few things that you simply cannot over-consume; having a more meaningful life is always a worthwhile pursuit, and you can never become too fulfilled or too full of purpose! What do you think about meaning in life?
Is there a purpose to life that I completely missed? What do you personally find meaningful in your life? Let us know in the comments!
Guide An Endless Perspective of Life
Was this article useful to you? No Yes Share this article:. Courtney Ackerman , MSc. She is currently working as a researcher for the State of California and her professional interests include survey research, well-being in the workplace, and compassion. I would put it in more political terms, how can we take control of our lives and improve our society to give more people the opportunity to live meaningful lives? And what power dynamics are currently working against this goal? Amazingly, like Frankl observed, many people in dark places find meaning, perhaps because of the challenges alone.
Could it be that challenges are necessary and that we instinctively create more meaning from unfairer circumstances? I totally disagre about these forI found all the reseaches and comments something like an illusion and a dilemma about the truth meaning of life. It is a false statement but very dificult to find where is the false. Du you know why?
Because all the statements seem true and it becomes dilemma to choose words that can define the false suggestions and researches about the meaning of life. However, please give me time to little about this things. I would come with a stong facts with what is the meaning of life.
Courtney: 1 — I commend you on a beautifully-written article. It reminded me that I once purchased the book when I was a teenager — circa 60 years ago — but have long ago lost it. Within this soup of values, experiences, goals, and beliefs, we can piece together that which gives us the best sense of meaning in our own lives. I also note that this conclusion describes, in essence, how meaning of life is approached in positive psychology.
It indicates that, to date, the leadership of the positive psychology movement — mainly, positive psychology professors — have abjured any serious responsibility for creating a helpful practical methodology pertaining to the key fulfillment-building area of expanding personal life meaning.
In light of history this is sad.
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The science of psychology started around and the positive psychology arm of it started almost 25 years ago. Creating such a methodology is or should be, in my opinion, a part of the mission of the positive psychology movement — or, more specifically, a key responsibility of the leadership of the movement.
It seems to me that, as regards the area of creating life meaning, the positive psychology movement should give thought to moving from generalized description to action-focused prescription. And, again, commendations to you, Courtney, on creating a well-written, thought-provoking article. First, thank you for your comment! For many years I have searched for a methodology like what you describe.
I crave some kind of actionable information to help me find more meaning, and I know others do too. I wholeheartedly support any efforts to come up with such a methodology. If successful, that kind of method would change the world. I think you make a really good point. So often in our history, we have stumbled upon a vital bit of information or a groundbreaking theory by simply shifting our perspective.
I suspect you may be right about this in regards to meaning as well. Thank you for the book suggestion! Meaning is that what we assign to life and universe which are streams of events. That is certainly a popular perspective, Walter. Thanks for your comment! I enjoyed your article very much.
Thanks for your comment, Russell! Yes, the search continues — as it has for millennia and likely will for quite a bit longer! Who knows if there will ever be an end to it? Awesome read, thank you! In addition to all of this terrific advice, we have found personal and client meaning by identifying and reinforcing our hearts deepest desires daily values , both in thoughts and actions. Thanks for your comment, Eugene! There is certainly a good deal of meaning to be experienced by following our hearts and living by our values.
The essence of love is the spacious, open attention of our awareness. Awareness is the gentlest, kindest, and most intimate force in the world. Surprisingly, this awareness, or love, is experienced most fully when you give it to others, not when you get it from others.
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The more love you give, the more love you experience. It is by freely giving love that we are filled with love.
Ralph Waldo Emerson -The Book of Life
Throughout, there is a pointing beyond the experience of the Heart and its wisdom, peace, and love to the possibility of recognizing these essential qualities as who and what you are. The Heart with all its joy, satisfaction, peace, love, and wisdom is not just something you can experience more fully; it is what you have always been and always will be. In recognizing your true nature as this fullness of Being, you can ultimately rest from all seeking and effort, and just be who you are.
He said, "You may think it matters what happens. But what if the only thing that matters is where you are experiencing from, where you are looking from? I immediately was curious to know more and see how he would approach this topic. He was not to disappoint me. Consider this additional quote from the book: ".
While you are made of aware space, it is not exactly empty space. Everything that really matters is found in the space that you are and not in the external events or experiences of life, as we so often assume. The use of exercises is a clear strength of the first part of the book as he moves us from a contracted sense of heart to an expanded experience of the spiritual Heart including mind, heart and belly. Nothing Personal leads you to the experience of your true nature and helps you explore its depth. Through exposition, questions and dialogues, it brings you to a place of realization of the Truth: you are the spacious Awareness in which everything appears.
Resisting my innate desire to be political, it should be noted that many cities and states struggle to guarantee workers paid sick leave, let alone paid vacation. The idea that people who get sick should not have to choose between work and recovering from illness is often considered overly liberal.