We are gifted with the power to make meaning in life and the inner compulsion to do it. We do it, in fact, all the time, but often the meanings we make are to our disadvantage. For example, a romantic partner dumps you. What do you make it mean? I’m such a loser. This always happens. This is not truth. Ever. But if you latch onto that meaning it will cause you to replicate the experience to convince you it is true. Instead, how about this meaning? Wow! Good as this was, there must be something even more spectacular for me. I’m excited to discover who it will be!
Or you look at your bank account and are dismayed by the low amount. You can make that mean you are barely making it and better get a cardboard box ready or you can remind yourself that nature abhors a vacuum and that you’re positioned for a fresh start!
The church or a non-profit or a political party asks for money. You can complain about how you’re always being asked for money. How you’re being guilt tripped or how the organization is a bottomless pit. Or, you can tell yourself that you are being given an opportunity to be part of this organization through giving your energy (money). If it’s an organization you value, how great is that? Instead of being on the sidelines you get to be a key part of the good it’s doing in the world.
The glass is half empty or half full, all depending on the meaning you—and you alone—grant it.
If you’re a Facebook participant, you know how certain trends can move around. For example, currently many of our friends are showing up on videos dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads. The first one or two times you might laugh yet after awhile, it’s less interesting. But some people get irritated at the repetition. Others get generous and write a check to ALS research. Still others get creative. One of my friends posted a story about a friend who died from ALS, believing that would have more impact than dumping water on her head. Another friend posted a story from the Wizard of Oz with the clothing of the witch who had melted in a puddle after having ice water dumped on her head. It’s all in the meaning!
Life is more interesting with meaning. An animal crosses your path. Either it’s a ho-hum occurrence in a boring world or a message from another realm to pay attention in a particular way. When you cue your attention to meaning, the synchronicity factor intensifies. The songs on the radio are just what you need to hear. You ask a question and the universe rearranges itself to provide an answer. Meaning is how we connect the inner and outer worlds. This week, make a resolution to pay attention to your life experiences and accord them meaning with care. The practice will lead you through a spiral of noticing to connect with your soul and its power.
Rev. Jane Meyers Hiatt’s talk on 8/24/2014: Meaning | The Season of Spiritual Literacy