What’s the meaning of life if we die anyway? That’s one of the most significant questions you can ever ask yourself. I know many people are struggling with this, so I saw it necessary to dedicate a full episode to this topic. But instead of answering it right away, I want to show you where this question comes from and where it leads.
The first thing to understand is that meaning is always in relationship with something, so nothing has a meaning in itself. When we speak about meaning, we always have to ask: “Meaning for who?”.
The same thing can mean different things to different people. Different things can mean the same thing to the same person. Even the same thing can mean different things to the same person. Thus meaning is entirely subjective, and there’s no such thing as absolute meaning. The question then becomes: “What’s the meaning of life for you?”.
When you speak of life, you mean the totality of life, including everything and everybody. Everything includes everything, because if something was not included, it wouldn’t be everything. So everything can’t be in a relationship with something, it always stands on its own. Thus life has no meaning in itself, it can only have a meaning for you.
Now let me ask you: What do you mean to yourself? Even the question is absurd, and you won’t find any answer. You won’t find neither meaning nor meaninglessness, the concept of meaning simply doesn’t apply in this case. Thus life can only mean something to you, when you separate yourself from the rest of life.
The ego is doing exactly the same thing: it creates an artificial border that separates you from existence, when in fact, you are one with existence, you are one with life. You have no meaning in yourself, just like life has no meaning in itself. The fact that this question even arises is a sign that you are living from your ego.
The second thing to understand is the meaning of meaning itself. Like I defined in my other episode titled “What is the meaning of life?”, meaning means that one thing is a means to something else. Thus meaning is a utilitarian concept, so when something is useless, it has no value, has no purpose.
When there is meaning, there is always a goal. The goal of the ego is survival, and as you’re living from the ego, this is your goal too. Not just physical but also symbolic survival, like how people will remember you, and what people currently think of you. The ego, or shall we say you, filter everything through this lens.
How do you do it? By attaching meanings to things, whether they are useful, harmful or useless from this perspective. You divide the world into three categories in your mind: positive, negative and neutral for the survival and thriving of the ego. As you do this unconsciously, it seems to you as if these judgments were absolute, when in fact they’re only arbitrary.
That’s why you see life as generally positive, and death as the worst thing that can ever happen. In the long run, the positive and the negative cancel each other out, and they become neutral. When you think of the inevitable end, life seems to have no meaning, in other words, it has no use for the survival of your ego.
You see, your ego wants to use life for its own purposes, it’s only interested in its own gain. The ego itself is not even alive, it’s only a dead idea. The ego is like a parasite that needs to suck life out of life to give life to itself. But when it realizes that even this lifeblood won’t save it, it deems life as useless, valueless, purposeless and meaningless – which all mean the same thing.
For you, the problem is not the meaninglessness of life, the real problem is that you’re living just on the periphery of your own being. Your so-called life is just a superficial existence lacking any substance, just a series of empty gestures without any significance, just a hollow roleplay where you are your main audience.
Unless you enter your center, unless you overcome the division between you and life, unless you get rid of the ego, life will always stay meaningless for you. It’s not that once you become one with life, life will suddenly win meaning, because life in itself is meaningless. It’s just that you won’t be bothered with the lack of meaning, you’ll simply enjoy life for its own sake.
The third feature of meaning is that it is always in the future. For instance, money has value because you can buy food with it later, you cannot eat money itself. In other words, money wouldn’t mean food if there was no future, if you had to eat something in this very moment. That’s the other reason why your ego sees life as valueless: in the long run, life is useless for the purpose of ego gratification.
Death awareness helps you realize this simple fact that you usually try to forget. You need to understand that all you ever have is the present moment. Death can end your life experience in any moment, so experience life in this moment without waiting for the future, without waiting for an afterlife, without waiting even for one more moment.
Living in the future, always thinking about tomorrow, getting lost in your thoughts, is exactly the reason why your current life seems empty. You always postpone living into the future, you are preparing endlessly. You are waiting for the perfect circumstances when you can finally sit back and just be.
But when I tell you that there’s no tomorrow, you suddenly become very anxious, because you haven’t really lived yet. Don’t blame me, don’t blame death, because I’m just telling you a simple fact of life. You had every opportunity to live but you haven’t used it. How much more do you want to wait?
If you can live every moment in the moment, you become one with life. All divisions will disappear, your ego will disappear, and your search for meaning will also disappear with them. You won’t find meaning, and yet you will be totally content.
The goal of death awareness is not to make you nihilistic, not to make you depressed, not to make you demotivated. Just the opposite: it serves to wake you up, it helps you see the futility of life as you’re living it right now, it wants to motivate you to search for something deathless. Yes, this realization is painful in the beginning, but pain is useful because it draws your attention to a very important thing that needs healing.
Unless death awareness leads to an existential crisis, it’s not 100% effective. But what you call an existential crisis is really an ego crisis, so you shouldn’t be afraid of it, you should rejoice when it happens. You have just reached a significant milestone on your spiritual journey, but it doesn’t mean that you should get stuck in this state.
You will go through it just like I’ve gone through it. It may take days, months or even years, but a beautiful rebirth is waiting for you on the other end. Without this crisis, you would still be stuck in the egoistic mindset. Without seeing your whole life as meaningless, what would motivate you to become a spiritual seeker? Without being aware of death, what would urge you to find something beyond death?
If you want to know more about death from a spiritual but down to earth perspective, you should read my book: The Power of Death. Click on the link below, and get it now! I’m deadly serious.