Kendo’s Healing Message for March

A phrase we often hear concerns ‘the meaning of life’. We hear it so often that we are unlikely to analyse it, but simply assume that it relates to things like whether there’s a higher principle to work to, rather than just surviving our day-to-day experience. For many, living by principles or commandments serves to steer their actions in most admirable ways, by reflecting on whether they are keeping to those guidelines. Kendo would always applaud such aspirations to good, constructive, pro-social conduct, because it will mean that in so doing, you are being the best you can be. The meaning of your life will therefore arguably be rectitude, or rightness, a proactive and deliberate force for good.

Typically of Kendo, however, he recommends that we do engage in a little analysis, and even a thought-experiment or two.

Kendo suggests that we view life as a dynamic and complex thing – something that necessarily goes beyond ‘meaning’. Words have meaning, but the forces of nature cannot be encapsulated so easily; the wind has no ‘meaning’, any more than do the tides, or the sun, or gravity. They have effects that can be good or bad, depending upon the situation – a breeze on a hot day can be pleasant, but a typhoon can be devastating. Kendo would counsel that like these forces of nature, even the most innocuous of our actions can have positive or negative consequences.

So, life can be a ‘force’ which has ‘effects’ upon others, and already this is beyond mere ‘meaning’. But what about going further?

If you go beyond asking, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ to asking, ‘What is the meaning of my life’, you have narrowed things down from a global and nebulous concept to considering the effect that you personally have on the world and the people around you – a big step forward in terms of awareness. If you then ask yourself what is the effect of your life you have then elevated your self-awareness to a higher level; seeking to be objective about how you impact others shows a higher degree of consideration for others, and sensitivity for the nature of your actions.

Unsurprisingly, Kendo recommends that we take things one step further: what is the purpose of our lives? This degree of self-reflection is highly enlightened – you have not only considered the effect you have on the world around you, but what fundamentally guides your actions.

This is where the thought experiment comes into play. Kendo says we should remember that society existed before we were born, and it’s qualities were determined by actions taken by other people before we had life. We must then react (ideally in an enlightened way) to the society in which we find ourselves, and – also ideally – come to realise that our own actions affect not only those around us in the present, but those who have yet to be born. Kendo says this perspective shows us that we not only shape the present, but the future.

Such a realisation will affect the conscientious person; whilst we all ‘live in the moment’, sparing a thought for the future that our actions shape adds a new dynamic – in fact a new purpose to life. We should all aspire to ensure that the future is as positive as it can be for those who have yet to be born into it – we will shape their experiences, and we should do our best to ensure that they are as positive as possible.

Kendo’s bottom line here is that we are all self-aware, but are we aware of the quality of our self-awareness? If so, our lives will have so much more than an arbitrary ‘meaning’ – they will have a dynamically positive purpose, and the positive effects of your life will live beyond you. Now that means something!

Comments are closed.