Has it ever happened to you to feel like there’s got to be more meaning to what you’re doing? It’s one of those strange feelings: You can’t quite put your finger on what it is, but you know it’s something important. You don’t quite know how to pursue it, but you feel that, if you did, it would make a big difference in your life.
So what do you do about it? Chances are you conclude: “I’ve got to think about it, one of these days, soon, when I get the time and space to really think about it.”
Things that are really important get neatly filed in a special section of our mind: “Things To Deal With When I Can Concentrate Really Hard.” They’re too important to be processed with anything less than full attention! The result of all this reverence for the Really Important Things is that we don’t deal with them.
Meaning is certainly something very important. But what does the word itself mean? How would you define it?
It is not easy. If I were asked to define “meaning”, point blank, I’d probably say something like “Well, it’s what something means…”, and I’d quickly realize I haven’t explained anything. I’d try to explain some more, only to find more convoluted ways to come back to the same point.
By the way, the dictionary is no great help. Mine says meaning is “something that is conveyed or signified; sense or significance.”
So what’s the problem? The word “meaning” is an abstraction. When we deal with it as an abstraction, we get away from the reality of our experience. We get lost in words.
It’s not about “meaning” in general. It’s about what something means to you.
If your work, your relationship, or your life, seems to lack meaning… this abstract expression seems to imply that there’s a way to add meaning to them, the way you could add a pinch of salt to a dish that lacks salt. So you keep looking for ways to add meaning. And, of course, it doesn’t work.
The problem is, there’s already plenty of meaning. Maybe too much, more than you can handle. If your work, your relationship, or your life, seems to lack meaning… it probably means that you have strong feelings about the situation — but feelings that you believe, at some level, you should not feel.
When you feel there’s got to be more meaning to your work, your relationship, your life… it’s a sign there are some messages from inside that you’re blocking. Once you start paying attention to them, things start changing.