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How to Find the Meaning of Life


Steps In An Inquiry Into The Meaning of Life
From Philosophical Counselling:  Theory and Practice.

· Explore why this question is being asked: what's wrong?  Then work on resolving the problem.


· Examine desires, hopes, and wishes that have been/have not been met as pointing to meaning.


· Revisit past personal accomplishments at work or in the family as giving meaning.


· Consider your relationships and connections with others as giving meaning.


· Consider your personal values as suggesting meaning. Then examine the values you share with others in your community as indicating commonly held meaning.


· Consider meaning as not something life intrinsically has but as something which you can produce or create and give to life.


· Differentiate between the meaning of life in general and the meaning you find in your life.


· Differentiate between meaning and purpose.


· Inquire into where the meaning or purpose of a life comes from: 
                Outside:   God, religion, significant others, community, the media or
                Inside:   self 


· Survey your life backwards to find a possible  thread of choices you have made that give meaning to your life.


· If meaning can't be found in the whole complex structure of a life, consider meaning as arising from simpler, momentary episodes.


· Consider your purpose as going beyond yourself and doing good for others.  


· Consider the desire for meaning as an aspect of humanness  (to be celebrated, not agonized over).


· Consider meaning as simply being; living in the moment.


· Consider the perspective that contentment in and with life is a person's natural state of affairs when life is good, in which the meaning of life is simply living it.


· Consider the concern over finding the meaning of life as unnecessary for happiness in life.


· Imagine that the search for the meaning of life is itself the purpose and meaning of life.

 

© 2001 by Dr. Peter B. Raabe
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