The word “existential” is usually associated with a sense of dread in the face of meaninglessness. But it can also be a reminder of what makes us come into being: When we stand up for who we are.
ex·ist (/iɡˈzist/): From Latin exsistere ‘come into being,’ from ex- ‘out’ + sistere ‘take a stand’.
In the archetypal adventure, the crisis is when the hero becomes himself entirely. Clark Kent, facing an overwhelming threat, enters the phone booth and taps into his superpowers.
Think of Clark Kent entering the phone booth as a defining moment. What happens then is substantially similar to what happens when we take a mindful pause: This is the opportunity to get in touch with who we are as we rise to the occasion.
As we pause, we stop running away from the big questions of life. Facing such questions moment by moment, in the course of our life, is very different from reading about them in a philosophy book. They do not feel like abstract questions. They help us get in touch with our felt sense of meaning and purpose.