A Meaningful Life Among the


A Meaningful Life

Among the sayings of the compassionate Buddha is one that runs something like this, "Life is dukkha," (pardon the spelling). Now Katherine of Not For Sheep can correct the possibly errant impression I may give of the meaning of this phrase, but it is often taken to mean that "Life is suffering." And that is true--so long as the life lived is one of attachment to the things of the world. This is where Buddhist thinking and Christian thinking in some small ways run parallel. Buddhists have their own thoughts about what this revelation requires and the great Christian Mystics have other insights.

All life lived desiring this thing or that thing (no matter how noble the object) or caring for this possession or that possession, or searching for beauty or for almost anything other than relationship with God, is suffering because once you have these things, the hole within is not filled, you merely discover an entirely new landscape of holes.

But the meaningful life, the life that transcends suffering, is the life of sacrifice. When we truly abandon ourselves and offer all that we have and all that we are for the glory of God, when we sacrifice even the deepest things of our hearts, hopes and wishes, dreams and fantasies, when we are completely stripped of all the trappings of self that the world has imposed, we begin to find underneath the reality of self that is our gift from God. So long as we are filled even with very good intentions and attachments--I want to preach to the world, I want to make God's word known to people who have not yet heard it--we are lost. Because perhaps what God wants for us is to be the best, most loving, most Christian denizen of our home block. Maybe He desires that I become more of a compassionate and loving father. Maybe His Will for another is that they be a happy shoe salesperson. Until we fall into that place that God has made for us and get used to the life of service He wants us to lead, we will suffer.

We have to remember first and foremost, "Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in thee." There is no other contentment or meaning for the human heart. Seeking to find a meaning beyond God's is simply a path of greater suffering. The path of glory is "I must decrease so He might increase."

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 13, 2003 5:04 PM.

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