The Search for Meaning• Many of the questions that people ask are about the meaning of life• Some of the questions that people view as difficult or important are questions about the meaning of life• When we ask questions about life we are looking for meaning
What makes us ask deeperquestions about life?• The death of a friend or relative - is there life after death?• Watching someone close becoming older and more dependent.• Being faced with unemployment• When a very close relationship ends.• Becoming anxious about examinations -Whats the point?• Meeting a severely handicapped person.• Witnessing a beautiful scene in nature.
‘Meaning’ When we use meaning in this sense we are talking about something, an idea or a way of looking at things that helps us to understand what happens in our lives more. Lets use two images to help us to understand the word meaning.
1. The Map A map helps to point us in the right direction. It helps to keep us on the right path. When things dont work out in our lives, when we have a lot of questions we can feel confused, we can even feel a bit lost. Anything that gives our lives a sense of meaning is like the map, it can put us back on the right path and set us in the right direction again.
2. A Light Imagine walking down a dark tunnel with no light to guide you, it would be almost impossible to find your way. When we are searching for answers we can feel that we are searching in the dark. Meaning is like a light, it helps us to find our way. It sheds light on the darkness.
‘Meaning’• Meaning is something that directs our lives, it gives us a sense of purpose and it can help us to shed light on the questions that we have.• Finding meaning in our lives is not like going to the back of the maths book to find the correct answers! If we really want to understand things we have to work at them.
Meaning in Family Many young people look at their family as a source of meaning. In other words, being part of a family gives them a sense of purpose. In our families we find meaning, we feel a sense of purpose, we feel that we belong.
Meaning in Friendship Friendship gives meaning to our lives, it helps us to mature and develop as human beings, it gives us a sense of being worthwhile, of being cared about.
Music and Meaning Music allows people to express feelings which are deep inside them and it helps them to find meaning. There is no doubt about it, music is a source of meaning for many people. We can sometimes feel that a singer knows exactly how we feel.
Religion and Meaning For many people Religion provides an important source of meaning; Religion does not try to give us all the answers but it does help us to understand what happens in our lives. Christians try to follow Jesus example. They try to bring meaning into other peoples lives through their love and friendship.
Sources of meaning in your life?My friends Pleasure My familySuccess Good results BooksGood health Fame LaughterGood looks Music Being cared forCool clothes Sport A good educationReligion Popularity PoetryRespect for others Money Concern for othersWorking for justice Fame My boyfriend/girlfriendBeing independent God Being freeIntelligence Making the world a better Travel placeList 4 things, in order of importance, from the list that makeyour life meaningful. Add others to the list if you want.
Finding answers to questions of meaning Below are some possible answers to questions of meaning. Read each source of meaning and circle the number that best expresses your opinion of that source. 1 = I totally agree with this statement 2 = 1 agree with this statement 3 = 1 am undecided about this statement 4 = 1 disagree with this statement 5 = 1 disagree totally with this statementThe important thing is to be popular. If I can fit in I will be happy 1 2 3 4 5The important thing is to look out for myself. I must take care of myself first and last 1 2 3 4 5A good education is very important in life. I must work hard to get into college. 1 2 3 4 5The important thing is to have as much fun as possible. The main thing in life is to always feel good. 1 2 3 4 5The most important thing in my life is my Relationship with family and friends. Without diem life 1 2 3 4 5would have no meaning.My aim in life is to make as much money as possible. Wealth is the key to happiness. 1 2 3 4 5Above all, I want to be successful in whatever Im doing. Failure is to be avoided at all costs avoided at 1 2 3 4 5all