Monday, November 22, 2010


Even though it was a scorching 85 degrees today, most of the leaves have fallen off the trees and the summer annual plants are either already dead or they are starting to look dry and diseased. The bugs that used to prolifically fill the ground and busily swarm around my head have slowed down and dwindled significantly in number. As a result, the spiders that used to be well fed and commonplace are now much fewer and with a much "cleaner" web than would have been the case a month ago.

I happened to be standing near two of the remaining spiders today and I wondered as i stared up at them if they knew that they were going to die soon. While I know this probably seems like something silly to ponder, I really wondered it. (Several months back I watched a spider move with great dexterity and purpose as he not only trapped, but deliberately reacted to the movements of his escaping prey. I believe they can think.) If they are somehow aware of their impending death, I wonder what compels them to keep at it.

Similarly, I have been unable to escape the recurring thoughts of meaninglessness recently. It's not like it's always been this way. In fact there have been cycles of my life in which life seemed to have great purpose...only to be followed by other cycles in my life in which life seemed to carry nothing but pain. This, I am sure is no different than the others. But the thing that sets this cycle apart is that it seems far less deliberate than the other cycles. In those times I seemed to have defined goals - whether those goals were spiritual, career oriented, or relationship driven - and as such were under my perceived control. Now I seem to be at the mercy of the wind and the waves. It's almost a helplessness where you feel compelled to do something, yet you feel as though to do it will yield an unsatisfactory result, so you do nothing. Even the work that does seem to be goal-oriented doesn't seem to carry the same satisfaction that it once did as the reward for finishing the task doesn't seem as appetizing as it once may have appeared.

I know there are still worthy pursuits in the world, and I still find joy in soul conversations. But the truth be told, I am finding less and less to talk about that actually seems to matter. It's kinda like that spider who's thinking about his impending death in two days, yet wondering what's for dinner tomorrow night? Why would he even care? I suppose it's to derive whatever joy he can from the days that he's got left.

Past cycles have told me that tomorrow is a new day and this too will soon give way to yet a new direction in my life. I'm quite anxious to see that that new day and new direction will bring, because I can deal with many things in life, but lack of purpose is not one of them.

Until then, I'll sit down like everyone else and count my Thanksgiving day blessings and try to be the man that I want to see in the world. Perhaps that's my purpose and I'm not even focusing on it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's it all for?

I was standing outside in the wind this autumn morning when I looked down and saw a couple of fuzzy catterpillars scurrying near my feet. One of them was running at top speed, heading "who knows where" until he ran into a roadblock. Upon encountering this obstacle, he quickly turned 90 degrees to the right and resumed his sprint somewhere else...until he hit another roadblock and the experience was repeated. This fuzzy little creature was in a hurry to get somewhere but I'm not sure even he knew where that was. It seemed he was just gonna run until he got "there", wherever there is - probably thinking he would intuitively know when he was at the right place.

Recently I've felt a lot like that little catterpillar. Scurrying around somewhat directionless, running like I've got somewhere to go and no time to get there, but not really sure where it is that I'm going, nor how to know when I've actually arrived. Everything simultaneously seems to be of utmost importance and yet of no significance. I find it almost humorous to see the goals and dreams that each of us set, thinking that when we achieve those goals or dreams that somehow we will have found what we were looking for all along. But for many the dreams are ever elusive and for others who manage to achieve them, they seem to be nothing more than a big missed expectation.

Many have told me that I need to find my "life's purpose" and set about giving my time and energy to such a pursuit as that which fulfills that life purpose. So I find a few things that seem to align with it and pursue them. to some degree, there is life there. But today's life is tomorrow's heartache. Whether it's seeing others trample on and reject your prized "purpose" or whether it's a partial achievement of it with the full knowledge that the fullness of the achievement will never be realized, it all seems rather pointless.

Live life for the moment, I guess is what I come back to. I know there is no life in achievement, accumulation, or status. I know that even the wisest of men are thought fools by most of their contemporaries, so even the high pursuit of knowledge and truth is rather meaningless.

Yet it seems like there should be more of a point to it all. What, indeed, is it all for?

I don't know.

But I'll keep seeking, and try to find the motivation to play the games that other people demand be played. I'll try to respect all those scurrying catterpillars in my path for wherever they are going so quickly. I'll try to find a reason to keep caring even when people seem to reject the care that's offered. And maybe some day I'll find my answers. Or maybe, like the catterpillar, I'll eventually even stumble upon my "there" destination.

Or maybe not.