What is the Meaning of Life?

29208974_s 350xBy Mary Jaksch

Do you sometimes wonder what the purpose of life is?

If you are not sure, you may be looking at life the wrong way.

You may have a view of life as a path.

However, there is another way to see life. Read on to find out what that way is.

Let’s first take a look at the conventional way to understand life as a path. Do you see your life as a path? That’s an image that is often used in the realm of spirituality personal growth. I’m guilty of it myself.

This implies that we are struggling towards a pinnacle. We overcome hardship and climb up and up towards…well, towards what, exactly? In the spiritual realm we might say that we climb towards enlightenment, wisdom, awakening, or…what? In the realm of personal growth we might imagine that we are climbing towards, success, wealth,  personal fulfillment, or …what?

We are pulled through life by promises like a donkey by carrots. We  are always moving towards that pinnacle. First we go to kindergarten and then we look forward to primary school. We are told how wonderful it will be when we finally go to college. And then to university. Finally, as good citizens we embark on a career, a relationship, maybe a family. It seems that we are at last approaching the pinnacle of our life. (One of our readers, Jonathan Meads, sent me a funny and enlightening cartoon clip that illustrates this. Do have a look at it here.)

What pinnacle? More often than not, the pinnacle turns out to be redundancy, or illness. And then – one day the sun goes behind a cloud – and we die. Just like that.

Now, tell me again – where was that pinnacle? Did I miss it?

The strange thing is that for a long time the pinnacle seems to be in the future. Just out of reach. Then, from one moment to the next, it seems to be in the past. You’re suddenly beyond it. You’re a ‘has-been’. And you can’t quite remember what the pinnacle should have been. All you know is that you’ve missed it.

That’s pretty depressing, isn’t it? But, stop! What if life isn’t a path?

What if life is a dot?

Yes, I said dot.

A dot doesn’t have dimension. There is no before and after. The dot is now. This moment. Now.

What if this moment right now is the pinnacle of our life? What if each moment is the pinnacle? That is, if we actually live it and don’t miss it through dreaming of the future.

What if the smell of fresh ground coffee is the pinnacle? What if the hug at the door as you go to work is the pinnacle?

It would change things, wouldn’t it?

We would focus on what we enjoy, and not on moving up in our career. We would surf more, and dance more, and sing more, and laugh more, and love more, and hug more.

We would feel the wind in our hair. We would watch the moon rise. We would bask in the sun. We would roll in the mud. We would play in the surf.

We would kick up our heels and feel free. Free to be a bit wild. Even zany. We would live with abandon.

We would enjoy that dot. The dot that is life.

Let’s have a conversation:

What do you think? How is your life? Are you on a path or on a dot?

ueuaphoto / 123RF Stock Photo

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  1. Tabs says:

    The purpose of life is to live life to the fullest, add value to the life of the world and love every minute of it.

    If life was a dot I would still live to the fullest, add value…

    We all live in the now, now, work is also part of the now, do you want to dance more, surf more and end up living on the streets with no food to eat. You can have all the fun you want now, work at a job you love and when it is time to dance and surf do it with gusto.

    Life is about balance of everything, it is not all fun and game, don’t use “living in the now” as an excuse to forget about what living is.


    Tabss last blog post..Get Organized – Habit of the Month

    • Goddy says:

      I don’t think it’s that easy. One has to face reality and this means being conscious of your environment and all happening around it in all diamensions. If you do, I tell you life is more than just a dot.

  2. I always used to live like life was a path. Not in the do all the things expected of you and have no fun or adventure fashion, but still I was always striving for a point some time in the future when I would become myself and know why I was here and what I had to contribute.

    Now I look back and am confused by that thinking. Was I not myself then and at what point did I think ME would kick in? And I am well and truly sick of striving for some future abstract point. These days I try to see life as a winding journey in that this trail I’m walking now is leading me somewhere, I have no idea where and the end point is not important because it’s the process of walking and living that is where I am. I am here. Writing to you. I am nowhere else.

    I like the idea of life being a dot. I want mine to be a large hot pink dot with purple dragonflies painted on it. Just for a bit of extra luck.

    Another great article, Mary.


    Kelly@SHE-POWERs last blog post..Bloggers Unite for Darfur and Launch TrainforHumanity.org

    • bob says:

      The meaning of life is 42. That is the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. I am certain this is the answer.

    • Damian says:

      I have always felt like im leading towards something…well obviously my death in the future but im aware that certain things will happen in my time here. School, College, then going out and living life in my twenties, settle down, family (i have 2 little girls) and career (I own a small business)r in my thirties(im now 39).
      Im expecting to enjoy the expeieience of being a father and watching my 2 girls grow up while saving to buy the best house I can afford and lead as good a quality of life as possible.
      I always think I need or want something out of life but when I get it I always want more?
      Im interested in the history of our planet and how we got here….why are we here? Im always wondering why?
      Are we alone?….What is our purpose?…What happens when we die?
      I’m not afraid to die but I have so many questions that probably will never be answered?
      Now that ive got kids im the happiest I have ever been…I feel true happiness with them and that I have more of a purpose in life now.
      I work because I have to but in a way it makes me happy when im doing well…like a sense of achievement i guess? I think though that so many of us are so busy with our daily lives working and so on, that we dont have time to ask all these questions about life? we just accept things as the way they are and we just get on with our daily routine.

      Most people seem nice to me but there are a small element of not so nice people, the lazy gits who dont work and sponge off the rest of us, murderers, thieves,and generally bad eggs in society. Its a shame people have to be like this as they ruin it for the rest of us!!
      Is there a god?..We were told about the bible and jesus at school and for years i just accepted that truth. Now im older and have studied human history, I must admit i seriously doubt that there is a god at all….its probably more likely that there is life outside our planet…the universe is endless…so many planets and stars out there.
      Religion seems to be the cause of every conflict in human history so i just avoid it all!

  3. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Tabs!
    Of course, life is not only fun. It includes tears, and hardship, and heartbreak – as well as love, and laughter, and dancing.

    The amazing thing about ‘now’ is that when we immerse ourselves in this dot now – whether we’re surfing or grieving – life is suddenly full to the brim. And there is a joy in that.

  4. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Kelly!
    A hot pink dot with purple dragonflies on it?? Oh wise one – that must truly be the purpose of life! 🙂

    Laughter is good, isn’t it, Kelly? We should all laugh a lot more, instead of being so fatuously serious. I love the title of your blog: Life in the Fun Lane!

  5. Batman says:

    What a load of egocentric bullshit. If you just walk around doing what you feel like all the time, you will screw up your life. The key is to praise the moment, and learn to be grateful and happy about every part of your life. No matter what happens, or what you need to sacrifice to make a good home for you and your family.

    • Robyn Hill says:

      I totally agree with you, Batman. This sounds like Ann Rhand bullshit. Do you know how many people committed suicide after falling victim to her philosophy. They found themselves desperately lonely in an egocentric bubble they had created. We are different from animals because we CAN see past the moment, we can help others, we can plan, build, make goals, be accountable for our actions. Living in the moment is still possible but don’t sacrifice your ability to see the big picture with others involved.

  6. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Batman!
    Without love and kindness all life is empty of meaning. Enjoying life doesn’t mean forgetting our responsibilities to others, it means embracing each moment fully instead of waiting for fulfillment in the future.

  7. Rick says:

    For me I still see life as a path, if only because time passes by and we cannot return to moments that have been: “The present is past in the future”. The point is that we so easily confuse the purpose of this path with it’s destination or end point. Once upon a time I found the phrase “life is lethal”. It stuck with me because it is at the same time both very correct and very wrong. I couldn’t live my life that way as it would lead to a lethally cynical attitude.

    Life can only be lived in the present, not in the future. So yes, I think you’ve addressed the core issue when you asked “What if this moment right now is the pinnacle of our life?”. I think it’s the only way one can truly live. The purpose of life can not be found in the end of it nor even in the near future. Love, gratefulness, growth, joy or whatever your core values are can only be realised in this very moment. I am sure that my path of life has purpose as a whole, but this overall purpose is something that only a remote observer (in time) can assess. It is not something I can grasp for myself, even less use it as a guide for my life. When we keep our focus on realising our core values in this every moment, moment after moment, we will stay true to our purpose as good as we are able to.

    The following song gives words to this that I could not find myself:

    > Lost and alone on some forgotten highway, traveled by many, remembered by few.
    > Looking for something that I can believe in,
    > looking for something that I’d like to do with my life.
    > There’s nothing behind me and nothing that ties me to
    > something that might have been true yesterday.
    > Tomorrow is open, right now it seems to be more than enough
    > To just be here today, and I don’t know what the future is holding in store,
    > I don’t know where I’m going, I’m not sure where I’ve been.
    > There’s a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me,
    > my life is worth the living, I don’t need to see the end.
    (John Denver – Sweet surrender)

    Every line in this song has it’s own precious depth of meaning to me. “There is a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me” marks the spiritual journey my life is. I have found both in the Holy Bible. Discovering ever more of this spirit and light is like giving roots to my core values, its the way to the source of these values and of the overall purpose of my life.

    Warm regards,
    Rick Veenstra

    “Tomorrow is open, right now its seems to be more than enough to just be here today…”

  8. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Rick!
    I love your line: “When we keep our focus on realising our core values in this every moment, moment after moment, we will stay true to our purpose as good as we are able to.”

    That’s beautiful! I meet so many people who have a vague unhappiness, a sense that their purpose in life is somehow eluding them. Re-focusing on one’s core values is a good way to touch firm ground again when life seems shaky.

  9. Porillion says:

    Like you, Mary, I am a Buddhist. My chosen lineage is that of Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen Master. Though I am a layperson. I like your comparison of life being a dot. This is mindfulness very well described, thank you! _/|\_

    Porillions last blog post..Meditating Away Pain (Part 3)

  10. Scott McIntyre says:

    Without thinking about it previously, Mary, I must see life as a dot.

    Like you, I have developed an attitude where I relish every moment and aim to make the most of every hour.

    Of course, often this attitude is tested by the trials of life.

    But, I can honestly say that each time I have gone through a negative experience, this attitude to life has grown quietly stronger.

    I’m sure that you know of the often quoted Mark Twain philosophy on life:

    “Sing like no one’s listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like its heaven on earth.”

    That sums up my approach to life entirely.

    I guess you could say it’s life-dot-com!

  11. amazingmess says:

    This is quite a point and very hard to grasp, a dimensionless dot. 😉 It brings a beautifull painting of René Margritte into my memory, which I think to be illustrating this dot-perpective: The False Mirror

    amazingmesss last blog post..guinea fowl

  12. Mary,

    I completely agree with the view that life is not a path.

    One book that I read recently about living the moment, and that you might like is The Practicing Mind.

    Luciano Passuellos last blog post..How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci

  13. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Porillion!
    Thanks for your comment. Yes, you spotted it: This article is about mindfulness. But most people won’t get that, I think.
    Nice to meet you!

  14. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Scott!
    “Life – dot- com” that made me laugh out loud!

    I find it interesting that you mention negative experiences. I think some of my readers think that this post is just about having a fun time and ‘to hell with everyone else’. But, no, that’s far from my mind.

    Life-dot-com means living every moment fully, even the difficult ones!

  15. Martin says:

    Thanks for reminding me that you can’t live for tomorrow at the expense of today. If I don’t appreciate my life at this moment and keep waiting till I arrive at my destination, when will I have time to enjoy myself?

    Martins last blog post..What are we Here For?

  16. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Amazingmess!
    Thank you so much for the link to the Magritte painting. It’s fit the theme of this article beautifully. Spot on!

  17. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Luciano!
    Thanks for the book suggestion. I look forward to reading it!
    BTH I was thinking of you yesterday when i was dancing Samba Gafiera (like no-one was watching…)

  18. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Martin!
    Yes – you got my point- erm, I mean, my dot!
    Many people work hard to ‘get somewhere’ and put fun aside as something trivial which they will enjoy once the have got there. It’s depressing to watch their dawning realization that whatever there was to get has passed them by and the ‘great reward’ isn’t going to head their way. And all these years they haven’t had much pleasure out of life. Sad, eh?

  19. SpaceAgeSage says:

    As a perfectionist, I have long since been unsatisfied with the now. I’m learning to embrace the now much more fully, and yet I love the metaphor of the path as well.

    SpaceAgeSages last blog post..An interesting query for my readers …

  20. Forever Student says:

    I always wonder how to find the balance. As a recovering overplanner, I am trying to live happliy in the now (love the ‘dot’ analogy vs the elusive ‘path’ one!) but I am having issues deciding what is actually important to plan and what is never necessary to plan.

  21. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Spaceagesage!
    In this post I’m gunning for the ‘dot’ view. But there are also times when the ‘path’ view works well. For example, if we set goals.

  22. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Foreverstudent!
    I grew up in Germany so I’m definitely a planner! I think planning is important. Goal setting is important.

    However, there is a difference between setting goals, and getting hooked into a view that is only forward oriented. The ‘dot’ view cures that!

  23. Glee Girl says:

    Mary, reading this gave me goosebumps! It fits in so well with where I’m at right now. For most of my adult life I think I’ve seen myself stuck at the start of the path, impatient to get going – waiting for Mr Right, someone to share a mortgage and kids and life and growing old with. But, now, at 36 and single again (sigh!), I realise that with that approach, life will pass me by. Life is now – I can live it and enjoy it without any of that stuff.

    This makes me think of one of my favourite quotes, the Sanskrit proverb

    “Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day, for it is life, the very life of life”.

    PS Of course I would still like it if Mr Right came along….

  24. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Glee Girl!
    Thank you for the beautiful proverb. ‘The very life of life’- that’s the dot!

  25. Amit says:

    For me Life is about accepting love and relinquishing fear….
    our true purpose is to find and accept love within ourselves and in those around us.
    Love is our ultimate reality and the true essence of our existance!
    Keep Living, Keep Loving

    Amits last blog post..Be Free…Be You!

  26. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Amit!
    That’s beautiful: “our true purpose is to find and accept love within ourselves and in those around us.”
    Thank you for making an important point, Amit.

  27. Amit says:

    Glee Girl,
    I understand, living for now can sometimes be hard and its a continuous process of learning….keep the faith!

    Do you have the actual sanskrit proverb handy?

    Amits last blog post..Be Free…Be You!

  28. Dan Morelle says:

    Hi Mary,
    You are asking two big questions here – of life in general and individual existence. Both answers are interwoven. There are an infinite number of responses. Whether any of them are correct or not depends on the point of view. Words are far too simplistic to contain the meaning to these questions. Its good to not get to hung-up on trying to find answers to questions that can’t be answered and enjoy it for what it is. Is.

    Dan Morelles last blog post..Do You Know Jack?

  29. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Dan!
    Yes, they are big questions.

    When a question is big, it’s power lies in the fact that there is no answer. There is no idea that will stop up the mouth of a huge question.

    I think big questions invite us to be curious, and to shift our habitual way of thinking.

    In the interest of writing a thought-provoking piece, I sharpened the theme away from the habitual view of the ‘path’, and towards the different view of the ‘dot’.

    However, I think it’s important to let go of fixed ideas and let the huge question work on us. Then we can maybe catch a glimpse of the dot as a path, and the path as a dot. Then we can enjoy it as it is. Is.

  30. Michael says:

    That feels good. Off the journey treadmill and into a dot, knowing that the dot is the moment to be in now, and will be succeeded by the next dot, the next moment to be in once it arrives, without any effort on my part. For who can plan what the next moment will bring? Maybe the phone will ring to change my plan, or maybe the cat will crash a bottle of milk all over the floor… Nice to be able to think of that as a pinnacle next time it happens!

    Michaels last blog post..Sports Gear and a Coffee Break – Serendipity!

  31. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Michael!
    Good point about the next dot arriving without any effort. When we switch from path mode to dot mode, we move from effort to effortless and from grim to amused.

    Next dot…SMASH!

  32. Evelyn Lim says:

    What an interesting way of putting life as – a dot! I would have sworn that our life looked more like a path than anything else before but I see what you mean. I like the idea of living life with abandon and the focus of Now!

    Thanks!! Beautiful post! Stumbled!

  33. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Evelyn!
    Thanks for the stumble!
    I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  34. […] with you. If you’re following a path, it’s not your path. (Although sometimes a dot is better than a […]

  35. Kaiehl Scott says:

    I must say that i was completely amazed when i came across your blog, and this article in particular. You are the first person other than myself that made the analogy of the ‘Dot’. The Dot came to me while on a peyote fueled ‘vision quest’, and the universe came to me and all around me (including myself) was reduced to a single point. The implications didn’t hit until later when i was using the calculator on my Mac and noticed the decimal point. The lil dot that makes our language of mathematics even possible, and math is our best means of describing the universe — at least the physicality of it that we perceive. thanks…

  36. CG Walters says:

    Wonderful, Mary!
    Thank you.

    You have reached fulfillment when your path and your goal become one.—Strike a Chord of Silence

    peace and wonder,

    CG Walterss last blog post..Serialization of Sacred Vow: Liz (continued)

  37. […] Life isn’t a path leading to happily ever after. […]

  38. K Park says:


    This blog entry really put what I am feeling into something quite tangible.


  39. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi CG Walters!
    I like that ‘chord of silence’!

  40. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi K Park!
    Your comment is very interesting.
    Sometimes we can sense something – but we can’t put it into words. And then – when we read or hear something – it all begins to make sense. It’s as if our own understanding has suddenly been given a voice.

  41. Ella says:

    I never thought of it that way… A few years ago I had a relationship with an older abusive boyfriend which I regret immensely now. Ever since I ended it I’ve been trying to run away from it, walking in a “path” to become a different person and I believe I did the right thing. But right now, with all the good things in my life I can start to think of my life as a dot, perhaps a dot that continually grows as I experience new things and feel increasingly happier :]
    Great post, congratulations!

  42. Alan Watts says:

    […] insight. I came across an animated cartoon with an excerpt from a talk of his today via a post at Post at Goodlife Zen, definitely worth checking […]

  43. steveg says:

    my post is when there are 42 shown, the exact meaning of life identified by Douglas Adams, author of ‘The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy’. While that might seem trite Douglas actually got it right, it’s less profound and more simple, the meaning of life is now.

  44. justapedn says:

    We are the result of a scientific process. All life on this planet eminated from one molecule that “learned” how to replicate itself. Just as a dandelion has no purpose or meaning to life, so it is with us. It is the height of hubris to imagine that just becasue we are endowed with a reasoning brain that we are somehow more special than any other non-human living thing, even though we have figured out how to kill them for our own sustanence. We were conceived by accident, born as long as our mothers permitted it, raised in a paradigm created by our environment, live a short or a long life as the case may be, and die, returning to dust. No heaven (and no ruler of it), no hell, no ever-lasting soul (what would you really want to do forever anyway), and no need for religion, too. We just are, with no purpose and no meaning. Until we are no more. Poof.

    • Nate says:

      But this begs the question, where did the molecule originate? Additionally, where the capacity for the molecule to “learn” come from? Certainly you cannot answer these questions, as no on can. And thus, to shun the idea of a creator of higher power seems like pure ignorance, IMO.

  45. Love this post. There is definitely a specific style of (for want of a better term) “personal development” thinking becoming prominent in the world right now. I have linked my name to a short post I wrote about this. I wonder if your readers would agree with what I have to say about this there? If they feel a part of this movement also?

  46. I think is very hard to stay on the dot alone.

    A dot = Enjoy every current moment.
    = Forget about Past and Future.

    A journey = have a destination.
    = not yet achieved.
    = filled with desire/want.

    # Dot VS Journey #

    IF our meaning of life is too focus on the destination, example we define SUCCESS as destination, or getting RICH as destination. THEN we end up not enjoy every moment of life. We live in future. We always looking forward, anticipating, hoping, too much anticipate become worry. We care too much, plan for every step/action we take.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, IF absolutely just dot only. We enjoy the every moment of life, without worrying much. We care nothing about the past, the future, We do not planning, as planning is for future. Your life can be very enjoying, virtually not worrying about anything. Just plain enjoy only.

    My Conclusion: MOST important thing, BALANCE of life.
    Life BALANCE
    = Do Planning, But not until paranoid.
    = Do Enjoy, But make sure have money for living.
    = Harmony of Balance
    = Etc, Etc..

    Alan Khoo

    Life Wisdom Blogs last blog post..Analogy and Comparison Persuasive Technique

  47. Gene says:

    I stumbled upon this site and this entry caught my attention. Strangely enough i have recently learned that life is a dot. I have tried living my life either in the past or preparing for the future, but in the recent turn of event in my life i realized i shouldn’t worry about what i have no clue of. All i have is now and i enjoy it as is. And definitely, it was made my life better and me happier. After all a line is composed of infinite dots…so is a path. A path will never exist without a dot, hence its more important we live out our dots.

  48. matt says:

    I agreed at first with the dot analogy, but After thinking about it, I’m starting to think that the analogy is flawed. For example, if , while living in the dot, you cheat on your wife, and you feel bad about that, then all the experiences you have after that one will be tainted with your guilt, thus lessening all future experiences. On the other hand, if you lived on a path, the other analogy, then you would see that you can’t just have great moments over and over, you need to work for them.

    Living on the dot can also be seen as trying to recreate past enjoyable experiences, as I don’t think you can just have a “GOOD” experience, it is something that has to be worked to. (http://chaosfarmer.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/recreating-a-feeling-a-thought-or-a-mood/)

    And most good things in life don’t come all at once. When learning new things, the process of learning could takes years, and while the sense of accomplishment at the end feels good and could be called a dot, you could never have that sense of accomplishment unless you spent the time to get there. Living from moment to moment could actually lead to a shallow life, as you never build up your foundation.

    matts last blog post..Recreating a feeling, a thought, or a mood.

  49. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Alan Khoo!
    I love your exposition of dot versus path! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  50. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Gene!
    You say: “A line is composed of infinite dots…so is a path.” That’s a lovely way of harmonizing the idea of the dot and the path!

  51. Kevin says:

    Hey I referenced this posting on my blog! http://www.runmeditation.blogspot.com Such shameless self promotion.

    Kevins last blog post..Dot

  52. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Kevin!
    Thank you for the link. I don’t mind a bit of self promotion

  53. imeanlife says:

    According to a statistics, there are 430 million English speaking internet users. Are they enough to answer the biggest question? What would happen if all of them visited this website and wrote a sentence? Would we find the ultimate answer? I don’t think so, but who knows…

    Our only goal is to collect as many of these sentences as possible.

    What about you? Have you ever thought about the reason of life? Do you have a minute to do that now?

    We just need a sentence! It can be funny or serious, happy or sad, philosophical or casual. It can be your own thought or a quote from your favourite writer or just from the grocer around the corner.

    It has to meet just one requirement! It should be one of the endless possible answers to the question:


    • Mitch says:

      Start at the beginning. We’re intelligent people; we know that this mind blowing universe which is made in perfect order right down to the cellular level could not possibly be a chance occurrence. So there is a Designer; a Creator. Like it or not, it’s an inevitable fact. So if we were created, we were obviously created for a reason. We are NOT the source of meaning in our lives! Our purpose is to know our Creator. He loves us. He loves us so much that He gave His beloved and only Son to die so that we could be saved! Believe on Him and you will be saved. Saved from what? Sin, and the judgement for sin–hell. Yes it is real and it is more horrible than anyone could imagine.
      But how could a loving God send people to hell?
      God loves us so much, and hates sin: hurt, pain, and destruction so much that He is going to utterly destroy it(sin). That means anything contaminated by sin MUST be destroyed. That is why He (at a tremendous price) paid through His Son, the price of our sin, so that if we accept this salvation, we can be completely aquitted from sin and be saved!
      This is why the world continues to exist (with its pain, suffering, and destruction. God in His love is holding off the judgment for a time so that everyone can have a chance to receive His gift of salvation. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all people would repent and be saved. But the judgment will come soon. It could be any moment. Simply repent of your sins and accept God’s salvation while you can. Now!
      Learn all about this in the Bible. Yes that old book is all true. Read it and see!

  54. Samantha says:

    To accept everything and anything that is thrown your way.Take the good with the bad.

  55. I like your way of asking this old question! So many ways to ask what the meaning of life is! And so many possible answers..

  56. I love it. From now on I will live in the dot. 🙂

    Enjoying going back and reading some of your old posts.



    Jack Woodyards last blog post..The Fool’s Workshop: The next week

  57. finnerty says:

    one time I started a painting… it still sits at the bottom of a drawer I think…

    the idea was that the physical space occupied by “me” was not in fact what is called in art, “positive space,” that is, it was not the body that was full. I felt that I could feel the opposite, that where my body began was the point where all else ended, that I was in fact purely empty, a scintillation, a chimera, dependent on the arrival of an infinity of energies on spectrum across all ranges of energy, which simultaneously arrived to points infinitesimally small and — stopped there…

    in this way, I can relate to your metaphor, but as a literal experience, feeling my dotness as emptiness, tickled by rays emanating from everywhen and where… they dance all around these holes and the holes move across time and space according to their dance…

    because of this I no longer wonder about the meaning of “my life” because I do not feel that “I” have a life, but that life has me.

    finnertys last blog post..Paris’ Calling – Parisian Apocalypse by Nineteen74

  58. […] 今天在goodlifezen上读到一篇很好的文章。我们通常把生命视为一段旅程,这样就把当下作为通往未来的踏脚石。我们朝着所谓的目标奋斗着,总认为未来才是美好的。然而,未来永远是未来。生命中只有当下才是真实的。 […]

  59. starbuck says:

    The comic Steven Wright said in his short film “Once I didn’t exist; now I do, and one day I won’t exist again. So I guess I’m just taking a brief break from not existing.” Funny-but also so profound I’m still trying to get my head around it.

    So I guess the trick is to decide what you want your short break to be about. Kinda goes with ‘the Meaning of Life’. We get to pick our own ‘meaning’. I think that’s infinitely superior to some pre-ordained agenda. If there was one you probably wouldn’t like it,or at least be a little indignant that you didn’t get to choose it yourself.

    I like the dot idea-it puts you in a place of power, the here and now…and that’s the only place where you can start customizing your ‘break’.

  60. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Starbuck!
    I love Wright’s quote! Thank you for sharing it with us.

    I had to laugh when I read about ‘customizing the break!” Very funny – and very apt.

  61. Steve says:

    i like this dot idea, because then–well, this is hard to put in words: It’s always it. It’s never not it. Everything is always it, right now and then, still, again right now, it’s it.

    thanks for this

  62. Carla says:

    I love it…I am the DOT and the DOT is me…


  63. keshav says:

    But is this practical?

  64. Phil Clement says:


    Discussion by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, on “Compassion and the Individual”, “The Purpose of Life”.

    Personally I find it more instructive to view the question as the purpose of life rather than the meaning of life.

    I have enjoyed this site and discussion. Thank you Mary for that.


  65. Shantina Land says:

    Very interesting!. . . it’s still sinking in.

  66. Héla says:

    If life is simply a dot, this moment or just now, and if we happen to be always dissatisfied with what we are now and thus look backward to rosy past memories or forward to a more positive future; then we’d better think of life as a highway: the coward – like me- withdraw into the past and the strong-willed move ahead and never return.

  67. NT says:

    We do not have to choose either the path or the dot. The mere concept of choosing between something and something else restricts us. Some time ago I came across a man that said that life is both a way and a dot. Life is just walking. Now. At this moment. Never stopping on the way, no matter where it leads. And the purpose does not matter. Because to be on the way does not mean staying on one place, encapsulated. It’s just means moving. Any moment. Any now.

  68. Héla says:

    ” No matter where it leads”?! are we just tramps? Does this mean that my choice to live in the past and to move backward is not a negative choice in so far as I do not stop? Well, you might be right. I am making a choice and I am sticking to it anyway.
    would you please write a reply about my comments upon your article “from tragedy to triumph”. I need somebody to help me reason out things.

  69. NT says:

    Hela, you will know that you are moving when you do not just state the logical conclusion that sticking to the past means staying on one place. Only when you you DO something out of it, then you might say that you on the way… Anyway, good luck!

  70. […] kom med ovenstående kommentar til dette fantastiske blogindlæg om meningen med livet (Life is a dot in case you should not […]

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  73. Chuck says:

    It seems to me that trying to understand the purpose of life is unproductive. It’s even more unproductive to expect someone else to tell us that making ourselves “second-hand human beings”, as if life’s insights can be borrowed from someone else.
    The more i think about it, the more I feel life and its purpose are unknowable. It is like a fish trying to understand water. If water is all a fish knows, how can it “understand” it?
    Why would anyone who experiences life as “dots” would reflect on it? Reflecting on it is the same as not experiencing it as a dot but as path.
    I may be wrong here, but it appears to me that if someone tries to reflect if they are happy, they are not. If they raise the issue about the meaning of life, they don’t know the meaning of life. If they try to figure out whether life should be lived as a dot or as a path, they are not living life as a dot. Because if life and its meaning become one, if life and happiness become one and if one’s path is the dot, who is making the distinction? Who is answering the question?

  74. Karen says:

    I absolutely love this post. I’m constantly questioning am I on the right path, and often I come back to the same conclustion which is to “LIVE IN THE NOW (or the MOMENT)”. For years I’ve been looking for my path which I believe has made me lose a lot of precious “dot” time.

    I’m in the middle of starting my own blog because I am someone who is always in search of meaning and in a state of constant thinking. This can be both benefical and overwhelming at times. I know there are many like me always thinking and challenging what it’s all about! It’s our thoughts that make us who we are, and the journey to making those thoughts more positive and less draining is the challenge.

    Thank you for this post. It truly makes things more clear.

  75. […] What is The Menaning of Life? dal sito Goodlife Zen di Mary Jaksch. […]

  76. Ret says:

    Hi Mary, this is a great article about finding the meaning about life. I remember one movie, that says the best time is now, and the best place is here. This means that this is our moment. What we can do to make our life better now, we should do it now. For we have the purpose why we exist now.
    .-= Ret´s last blog ..What is the Secret of Life It’s Not Love! =-.

  77. Héla says:

    It’s great to exchange ideas but I guess that no one can teach the other what the meaning of life is or how to get it. Each one of us has his own learning strategy. As far as I am concerned, having gone through a painful experience has caused me to find relief and meaning for my being there in soothing the pains of others. I am not mother Theresa, it’s just an auto-therapy.

  78. Tasorius says:

    But… what if your life is full of unbearable pain…?

    The two girls I ever loved, didn’t love me and the second one is my one true love…
    She is my friend on facebook… but it still feels terrible…
    We write on facebook… but never really meet….

    We were in the same Latin-class for two years… I and the others in the Latin-class went to Rome last year… that year was when we all departed…

    Devils from the past is coming back as well, in my mind and in reality….

    In Sweden it is now winter and that depresses me a bit more…

    I don’t see much meaning…. I have never really believed in any religion…

    What then…???

  79. Laura says:

    I think life is both a dot and a path… because life is always changing but always the same.
    For example, am I the same person I was when I was 5? Yes and no. I don’t think like I did when I was 5. In fact, not a cell in my body is the same as when I was 5. But yet, I’m still the same. When I see a photo of myself when I was 5, I say, that’s me!
    To look at life as a dot, we imagine there is no past or no future, and therefore no lessons learned and no consequences. But life as a path, as you said, means not seeing life in the moment. I think the key is to work out a balance between dot and path.

  80. Lucifer says:

    I think life, is the time u wasted time and making sins
    every time you live in this world, you will make up sins..
    have you ever counted how much sins you make in a day?
    human is foolish, they cannot live without making a sins,
    every time we make a sins, it feel good isn’t it?
    now.. for are the sins you make, it will make your afterlife ended up in hell

  81. gabriel says:

    I think life, is a gift
    God gift us life, in this life, we can feel love
    we will learn, and experience a lot of things
    we will work to survive, and from this you will be a stronger person
    Happiness, sadness all the things happen,
    you must be happy for this life, all the think happen
    even you got experience bad thing, you must still be happy
    we only experience life once, not 2 times or 3 times
    so when you still live on the world, you must help each other and make this world into a better place,
    thank the God for every thing he gave to us….
    we must make every thing better, and always thank to him

  82. kyrsten bean says:

    I like this analogy. I am constantly reminding myself that life is happening right now — the nice cup of coffee I had this morning, the sound of my husband’s motorcycle pulling into the driveway, the patron I help at the library where I work part-time — all ARE it.

  83. life panda says:

    A great article on a fascinating subject. My view is that we all have our own meaning or purpose in life. And if you want to find it, always look within.

  84. natalie jones says:

    All you can do in life is enjoy it, don’t worry about things too much, and be nice to other people. Searching for happiness or any amazing answer to why we are here will only leave you disappointed.

  85. nochnoch says:

    inspiring. i’m trying to live life as a dot. enjoy the moment of now
    thanks for sharing


  86. Life is certainly a journey.
    Some have it easy while others have it tough.
    When the going gets tough, it is the tough that gets the going.
    It is said that efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
    What is The Purpose Of Life´s last blog post ..What Is The Purpose Of Life

  87. Andrew Cort says:

    Yes. A ‘dot’, dimensionless, everything and nothing. The One.
    But then the one becomes two – still invisible, only one dimension. Then three, two unmanifest dimensions. But once it becomes Four, three dimensions, a pyramid, we hit this world we perceive. As it moves on, it looks more and more complex and intricate, and the One is all but forgotten. It’s a struggle to let go, unwind, undo, and come back to Everything, the One, that’s always been there.

  88. Sekou Nyei says:

    Sekou Nyei´s last blog post ..5 steps to a 5 star relationship

  89. I think the concept of a dot ignores a number of assumptions. There is alot of wisdom that the concept of considering only the “now” ignores. Alot of the problems we face in the world at the moment are as a result of this “consume now” mentality. Our culture has forgotten the concept of delayed gratification, and long term planning, and as a result, have taken the inheritance of future generations. I suspect alot of these future generations will be alot more concerned with the question of what is the Meaning of Life than this current generation is…

  90. […] What is the Meaning of Life? on Goodlife […]

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  92. James Dunn says:

    The meaning of life?

    Our actions are modeled after the foundations of the Universe. In many ways everything inanimate shares qualities that are related to living organisms.

    Deists are intellectuals. Deism is the belief in the existence of a God on the evidence of reason and nature only, with rejection of supernatural revelation. God created the Universe with or without full knowledge of all related consequences and henceforth does not intervene; no contradictions.

    Jefferson was a rationalist. He believed that Jesus was a pure and ethical teacher of morals. To that end, Jefferson took a razor to the New Testament and removed passages he thought to have been inserted by the authors of the gospels (those attempting to create God spells and spiritual crafts; whom he called the “commentators”), and he pasted what remained together as “The Jefferson Bible”.

    This is a social treatous and not a religious work. The Jefferson Bible is Christianity without the contridiction imposed by hocus-pocus and self-serving swindlers.

    What is more interesting is that during the time of Jesus there were many honored historians; not a single honored historian of the time ever wrote a single word about Jesus. The first occurence was hundreds of years later around the birth of Islam; coincidence?

    The only holidays that a Deist would embrace are those based upon “Thankfulness”. Not thankfulness to some supernatural being that changes its mind whenever it suits the religious leader (theism – believer of self interest and greed). Expecting a happy eternal afterlife is the ultimate greed/sin.

    I think it is interesting that the Bible warns of sooth-sayers that would corrupt the souls of beleivers, and then their own religious leaders are promoting ultimate greed to ensure beleivers have no hope of being qualified for having an eternal afterlife.

    As corrupt as it has become, in the United States the only popular holidays celebrated by Deists (remove religious affiliation) are Thanksgiving, Independence Day, & days signifying season. Being truely Thankful without greed being seeded in the mind.

    Pagans identify a spirit associated with “things” like the Sun, Winds, ancient people…

    Deists are NOT Pagans. There may be spirits, but it has nothing to do with the formation of the Universe. A scientist in a parallel Universe could have easily created this Universe and be consistent to Deism.

    How can I make this statement about Deism?


    All of the Founders of the United States were Deists. Thomas Jefferson once wrote “Organized Religion is the bane of humanity”.

    Life repeats whether you want it to or not. On what foundations do you want to live life? The purpose of life is to be a constructive part of the Universe.

    If you believe God created the Universe, then what does it mean for you to do anything destructive?
    James Dunn´s last blog post ..James Dunn edited FrontPage

  93. Jean Soohoo says:

    Totally makes sense to me. To live in the moment without expecting some sort of pinnacle in the future but having the pinnacle be here and now–whether that means doing something challenging or stopping and smelling a rose–brings more contentment. It’s just like listening to music and we feel more alive while listening because music makes us more engaged in the here and now. There is no beginning and no end to pinnacles, just like there is no beginning nor end to existence. This is a different way of seeing things for most people.

  94. Walt says:

    I believe the answer is neither. Both are just concepts. This is taking the false for the real. Only when we can balance our emotions & desires can we achieve peace.

  95. Let me introduce myself, I am not some crazy religious freak, but take the time to read what I have here. I’m 17 and I constantly do research on this topic ‘why is te meaning of life’. There is something going on that’s real big and I want to get to the bottom of it. The world is evil. Yes, we know this. I can’t figure this out on my own or have people help me. That’s like trying to solve a problem with the problem itself. Which is why I trust in God, Jesus Christ my savior. I’ve realized I have been searching for answers to things, but all the answers are written in the Bible. Take the time to read it and study it. The Lord states in, “If you seek me you shall find me.” I don’t know everything about the Bible, but I am learning and finding new things that plug into life today. Read it and you will be shocked. To know what life is really about is a feeling no drug or any sense of euphoria can beat. You may be thinking, “this kid is only 17, what does he know?”. Truth is, yes, I am only 17, But if what I am saying sounds like nonsense, look it up… In the Bible. I wish I knew more about the word of God and could suggest some passages for you to help you understand, but like everyone else I am still learning. God Bless. It’s way past my bed time If you have any questions I’d love to hear them and find the answers with you.

    • Damian says:

      who is God?
      Have you seen him or her?
      How can you dedicate so much of your time to the bible when it was written so long ago? Praying to something that probably doesnt exist? where is the proof?
      The bible was written some 2 thousand years ago yes? did you know humans existed up to 36000 years ago?
      Did you know there was another book written called the book of “Enoch”…some 10000 years ago? no mention of jesus in that or human history that far back?
      and why doesnt the bible mention dinousaurs? because when it was written they hadnt discovered them back then?
      When the bible was written they thought the world was flat
      They thought the stars were gods? Now scientists have proven that we have evolved from monkeys and there is no word of that in the bible?
      The bible talks about chariots and angels from the sky? well that could easily be interpreted as ufo’s or aliens coming down to visit us?
      Religious beliefs have done nothing but cause conflict and wars in human history…..

  96. solidob says:

    I absolutely agree with you. “if you seek me you shall find me”.
    The meaning of this life is not for us to enjoy but instead to praise God and do as much good as possible so that we are granted entrance into paradise. It does not matter what religion you are, this is the basis of life and as long as you follow it and you believe in only one God, you will find that ultimate happiness that will fill up the wholes in your life.

  97. Richard says:

    How coincidental… I read your post and your words have been swimming around in my head and then I find myself monotonously making my way to work, sitting on a train and see sitting on the seat beside me a print out of an essay literally titled ‘What is the meaning of life’! Fate? God? Who knows but it was freaky – I looked around me, thinking somebody was playing tricks on me! Anyway, I’ve found it online at the World Transformation Movement, and I thought you’d enjoy the story and be interested in the essay too.

  98. James says:

    While you are to be commended for seeking the truth – be careful of not including the ENTIRE sphere. Life without reason is worthless and life without emotion is cold. It is what it is … And Forever. Unfortunately for some, this means coming to grips with the FACT there is no evidence for ‘supernatural’ simply not yet comprehended.

    The 1000 monkey principle …
    “the meaning of life us to live it…”. Woody Allen

  99. Cody says:

    In my professional opinion, you all are wrong and correct. Life is everything each one of you said. It is a combination of everyone and everything emotional, rational, physical, and mentally. We are the whole, and I am the one. That is my Opinion of the meaning of life.

  100. gotta says:

    Life is the individual experience to the degree that we are conscious of it….

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  103. Alex McCluskey says:

    Live for the day, because tomorrow you’ll see, I’ll change the world for what I want it to be. Love every moment, laugh, love all the way. Because tomorrow could be your very last day.

  104. Aelias says:

    The creator created us to worship him, and thus that is our purpose in life. God says in the Qur’an “And I have not created mankind or Jinn except to worship me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed me.”

  105. henry says:

    life is both a journey and a destinationl. For some people where they are now is not desirable and so they must move forward. And for others life is to life in the moment and enjoy all the life has to offer us now.

  106. me says:

    There is no meaning of life, you live and then you die. Humans are no different to other animals but we keep asking questions because of our higher intellignece. Whether you are happy or unhappy makes no difference because it’s only temporary, everybody dies in the end and all is lost.

  107. Transcension says:

    The dot, the path, the journey…they all possess the answer, an answer which desolate minds will conjure through divine inspiration.

  108. Hi Mary,

    Life is really to enjoy present moment but our mind wanders here and there by looking into past which is gone and future which is yet to come.

    God has given this life for us to learn and practice some of the spiritual lessons (which we haven’t learn​t​ in our previous births), while living with each unique being of the earth.

    I remember a quote from a Saint which sums up How to live life and it brings a great difference to my life as I remember it daily

    “We should behave like a guest in this world. We should always remember that we are guests and that we have to return home.” —–His Holiness Bhaktaraj Maharaj

    This quote always reminds me that everything we have​ is borrowed from God. Always be like a guest and use the resources of time and breath given to us to use to increase the spiritual purity in us through the medium of our body, mind and intellect.

    One of the characteristics of the soul is to always be in bliss, which we are forgetting by not enjoying the present moment.​

  109. James says:

    There is visibly a bundle to realize about this. I assume you made certain nice points in features also.

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