Wednesday, September 5, 2012

M is for Meaning

For such a simple little word there is so much significance to understanding and applying it. It took me a very long time to try and come up with something to write for my second M post - so long in fact that I believe I am now ridiculously behind on the alphabet. But last night, just as I was drifting off to sleep it came to me. I should write about the importance of meaning. Now, as with all good ideas that spring to life in those brief moments before you finally fall asleep they didn't get much further beyond that initial thought (or it if did I don't remember) and so I apologize that this post will probably be quite disjointed as I'm not entirely working with a plan here.

What does it mean?
How often do we ask ourselves this question? I especially see this trend a lot among those who follow a spiritual path of any description (but mostly non-mainstream). The desire to understand why a series of events has taken place and the importance of said events to our lives. Now there is a long discourse I could go into here about how this is all a part of the human condition. How we are creatures with the desire to know, to attempt to understand the world and our place within it. This is after all why we have religions and spiritual practices, it is all a part of our need to figure it all out. But I'm going to leave that discussion there for now because its long winded, involves a lot of referencing and honestly I don't have the time or resources right at this moment to get into it. If people are really interested I'll recommend some books. They'll make your brain turn to mush but they're great.

So on to my point. We strive to find meaning in our lives, its natural, its instinctive and it makes us feel less small. But is it always necessary? Does everything have to have a significance? Does it have to be something that was intended, or caused, or part of a bigger picture? Does shit just happen? At what point do we draw the line between acknowledging the pattern of things and the possibility that the energy in the universe can be affected by our manipulations and surrendering to the idea that sometimes stuff just happens?

Assigning Meaning?
This is another idea I've been pondering. Who gives something meaning? Why do we give it meaning. This is particularly potent I believe in our practices. We assign so much meaning to certain colors, symbols, events, words etc but how often do we stop to think of why we do this? Are we just doing it this way because the book says so, because your friends all do it that way, or is it because to you there is a significance, a special meaning that clicks inside your mind and that radiates with that inner power?

From that point, does something gain meaning and significance because enough people have dictated that it is to be so? If it appears to be generally accepted that a particular color has a certain meaning yet this doesn't resonate with you should you be forcing yourself to accept the meaning of others or your own? To my mind, working with things that hold meaning in your own mind is of far greater power than attempting to fit into the beliefs of others. However, there is argument too for the idea that if enough people focus on a particular meaning than that has power too. See, no easy answers.

Just the pondering of my somewhat caffeine deprived brain this morning.