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Thoughts From My Couch
The meaning of Life
The meaning of LifeA person travelled for many days to the Himalayas to seek 'The True Meaning of Life'. He went to a sage, meditating in a cave. Tired from his journey, but eager and expectant that the 'ultimate mystery of life' was going to be revealed to him in the next moment, he asked the sage, "What is the meaning of life?"
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The meaning of life A person travelled for many days to the Himalayas to seek ‘The True Meaning of Life’. He went to a sage, meditating in a cave. Tired from his journey, but eager and expectant that the ‘ultimate mystery of life’ was going to be revealed to him in the next moment, he asked the sage, “What is the meaning of life?" After a long pause, the sage said, "Life is a fountain." "What do you mean life is a fountain?" barked the questioner. "I have just travelled thousands of miles to hear your words, and all you have to tell me is that? That's ridiculous." The sage then looked up from the floor of the cave and said, "You mean it's not a fountain?"

Working with clients who have often lost their meaning of life; this is an interesting question. I almost feel that when one asks this question, the 'meaning' has already disappeared into the sand. We as adults can learn a lot from children who spend most of their time in the present moment and who would very seldom ask this question. It is when our attention is not focused on what we are doing and having in the now; that the meaning also begins to fade out. One of the simplest meditations is: Just........ This means just eat, or just sit, or just drive your car or just breath or just drink. Bring your attention to the moment and really experiencing it fully. Then drinking a cup of tea becomes a unbelievable experience or a walk in the park or just going to the toilet. Just ...... Then we all become sages who would respond just like the sage in the beginning of this article with a similar question: You mean just sitting is not the meaning of life? 

Having just completed another NLP Coaching Practitioner Course, and hopefully making a difference in the lives of the delegates attending, I would like to share something special from this course. During a demonstration with the technique called: 'Logical levels of alignment', the delegate in the demonstration came to a major insight on the level of 'Purpose'. The technique consists of various levels and the client is slowly walked through the different levels, starting with the Environment, then onto Behaviour, Skills, Values and Beliefs, Mission/Purpose, Vision and finally Spirit. It was on the level of Purpose where the penny dropped for her. Some questions asked on this level are:

What makes your life meaningful? Why are you here?

The challenge she was working with was an eagerness to take too much responsibility and taking her attention away from her primary life focus. "I am a brilliant therapist, and that is what I should devote most of my time to”, she said. “It gives my life meaning, makes me come alive." She realised that there was a deep unconscious belief from her childhood which was still influencing her life in the present. It was about whatever you or anyone else does; it must be done properly. This belief which was stated to her over and over by her father since she was a child, led to an over involvement into other people's lives as an adult, like unnecessary administration and not focusing on her primary life purpose. She was always making sure that everything was done properly. With a change in the submodalities of the limiting belief it was changed to a belief which will serve her. Walking in a park recently I met two elderly women who were excited by their new project of cleaning up the lakes in the park from water hyacinths. Their eyes were excited while telling me about their venture.

Finding meaning almost always means to devote some time to something bigger than just you. A cause outside of your life which takes your attention to something more than just your life context. Most of our problems come from taking ourselves much to seriously and not focusing our attention on the world outside of us. And then being fully in the moment when doing that. If you feel that life's meaning is alluding you or has been watered down recently: get up go and drink a glass of water and just drink and then just breath and then find a cause outside of your life to focus on and making a difference in this world.

In his book: Healing without Freud or Prozac, Dr David Servan-Schreiber tells how he had prescribed very different remedies when patients left the psychiatric unit. Instead of more 'drugs' and medicine he would write on the prescription: get a pet or a plant, something to care for; which of course caused a lot of criticism amongst his peers. We find meaning in life by doing the 'right' actions and not by thinking on the sideline 'about' life. And the 'right' actions are by bringing your attention to even the most mundane everyday tasks.

Dare I add to Descartes famous words: “I think therefore I am” to “I do and therefore I am”? Really being in the moment of doing actually stops the constant mind chatter. Then we don't need the: One day when....... and If only I can ............(win the lotto) etc. You only have this breath: enjoy it and if you want to do it properly, focus all your attention and awareness on it...... right now.

Whenever you want to experience this technique as described in this article or learn more about NLP, please visit:

All the best


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