Ever since human beings developed the abilities to reason and explore, they have searched for the big secret. Philosophers, scientists, and theologians alike have been searching for the undisputable answer to the question: "What is the meaning of life?" This perplexing question has resulted in a wide range of conclusions and arguments, including scientific theories, authoritative dogma, philosophical conjecture, and spiritual explanations. As a matter of course "What is the meaning of life?" is the most profound question most individuals ask themselves at some point during their lives.
The question in itself is open to various interpretations: Why are we here? Who are we? Where did we come from? What is the purpose of life? Will we experience life after death?
To get the upper hand on everyone else, you yourself may be determined to get to the bottom of this mystery called life - not even sure how much longer you can hang on if you don't find it. Plain and simple, it is unlikely that you will succeed. All things considered, there likely will never be an answer. Many individuals with greater talent and knowledge than you and me have come up empty-handed. You will find that the deeper you go, the more the mystery will deepen.
You may even decide to go traveling around the world in search of the magical answer to life. The further the better, you think - maybe even ashrams in Colorado or the Himalaya Mountains in south-central Asia. Once you get there, you will make an interesting discovery: The only answers and enlightenment you get to experience in ashrams in Colorado or mountaintops in India are the answers and enlightenment with which you arrived. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't learn more about the world. It's rewarding to explore and discover the fascinating aspects of life. By all means, keep looking to improve your understanding of many things around you. It's best to let some of the more profound things remain mysterious, however. Sometimes too much understanding of something beautiful - such as the scientific explanation for what causes the Northem Lights to be visible in the night skies of northem USA, Europe, Russia, and Canada - makes it less beautiful.
In the same vein, having the absolute understanding of life - if there ever will be one - would undoubtedly make life less enjoyable. Richard Bach in Illusions wrote, "Learn what the magician knows and it's not magic anymore." Not to mention that desperately contemplating the meaning of life can lead to stress, ulcers, high blood pressure, and a lack of success. At the extreme, people frantically searching for the meaning of life have been known to commit suicide.
Even if you discover the absolute meaning of life, you may realize that it doesn't really make any difference to the quality of your existence anyway. Your answer may be that ultimately life is pretty meaningless, that we are all insignificant grains of dust in the grand cosmic scheme of things, that we are all leading random lives, that our existence doesn't affect anything or anyone. George Carlin may have actually found a far better answer to the meaning of life. Now don't get too excited, because his answer isn't as profound as you may anticipate. Carlin once said that the ultimate meaning of life is "to find a place to put all your stuff." This, indeed, is as good of an answer as any other.
In short, if you want to reduce the existential angst in your life, give up your self-adopted role as chief investigator of what makes this universe rock. No amount of brooding about the meaning of life can take the place of going out there and enjoying all it has to offer. The mistake most people make about pursuing the meaning of life is searching for the answer instead of living it. The search in itself may give some people meaning but it seldom brings a smile to their faces.
How right Rita Mae Brown was when she said, "I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it." When you learn to enjoy that life has to offer, there is no need to understand it. Viewed in this way, the meaning of life is to live fully - to enjoy the ride, in other words.