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Unread 09-10-2009, 10:36 PM   #1
Saint
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Default Meaning of life

Hi,

This may not be completely off topic but this question has consumed some of my thoughts the past few years and I have not found a satisying answer.

The Question(s):

What is the meaning of life and what is our purpose in this life?

I eagerly await your responses!

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Unread 09-11-2009, 02:16 AM   #2
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Hello Saint,
My purpose is to live by the values of my higher power. It is to seek others to follow their creators way. It is to know I am not a mistake and life has meaning. My purpose in life is how I live not what I do. My will got me into a lot of trouble. If it is will power that gets people into recovery from addiction then there would be no need for treatment or sober support groups. We can chat more.

Robert
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Unread 09-11-2009, 11:35 AM   #3
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Robert,

Thank you for responding
I agree there is a power greater than ourselves. How could it be otherwise. I've looked upon the clear night sky and marveled at the stars visible to the eye knowing that those stars are just a tiny fraction of stars that truly exist. I marvel at the miracle of life, the passing of the seasons, how delicate and fragile life truly is. Our time here is truly short compared with the timelessness of our universe and yet our universe also had a beginning! It is with this knowledge and understanding that I feel truly humbled as a human being. It is this same knowledge that makes me question what is truly the meaning of life, not just my life but the lives collectively of each and every one of us. For in the end this world as a whole, as marvelous as it can be, is truly just a grain of sand on an endless beach.

To read this you would think I have given up all hope. I have not! If I had I would continue to drink. I stopped 25+ years of drinking because I wanted 'better' for myself. Only by becoming 'better' could I be 'better' for my family and others. At this point I believe it was willpower that made me stop. No it wasn't easy. I struggled to stop, stopped drinking, relapsed and stopped again. Stopping drinking was easily the hardest thing in my life I have ever done.

I realize that I do not have ultimate control over my life but I do believe I have control over the choices I make in life. I can choose to drink but if I do I know it will consume me, so today I choose not to drink.

I can choose to feel sorry for myself, wallow in self pity for the years I have left behind knowing they could have been better, but I do not. Instead I choose to learn from those experiences and move forward.

I struggle with the meaning of life but remain hopeful that each day I may come to understand more. I have only to read the struggles of the people here, how they have been on the edge of the abyss and fought their way back to be inspired and in awe of their personal strength and resiliency. My heart is also heavy with the thought of those who have succumbed to their addiction.

I don't have the answers but I will seek further understanding.

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Unread 09-11-2009, 03:12 PM   #4
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I watched a movie recently called, Lady in the Water. It is a fairy tale written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and the moral to the story is that we don't know who we are or what our true purpose is. The down-side to this is that often times we get lost in ideas and compulsions that hinder our path to discovery. The up-side to this is that we are capable being so much more than we realize if we want to be and we can sieze the opportunity.

I have a friend who is translating the Torah. He gave me a copy of a chapter from the book of Joshua. His translation looks nothing like the words in the bible, but I think it is relevant in our quest of discovering our purpose and breaking free from the constraints that are preventing us from doing so. I'm going to post it below. It's taken out of context so you may need to reread it a few times:

Because of their narrow mindedness, the people who wrestle with God and with the effectiveness of their own initiative, have been repeating the same dysfunctional habits and behaviors over and over again. But by being vigilant, these people buried this persistent compulsion to repeat dysfunctional habits and behaviors. They achieved this by ridding themselves of their mental frenzy, by utilizing critical thinking to steady their thoughts, by being scrupulous and conscientious with their thinking, and by remaining firm with themselves. And they discovered that vigilance results from being scrupulous and from paying conscientious attention to details.

But for those who were overcome by the compulsion to repeat dysfunctional behaviors again and again, these behaviors were for them an inheritance to be worked on, so that they could eventually rein them in.

And each person took it upon themselves to help another by frequently turning to others in consideration. Because helping others and being considerate of others are two behaviors that a person acquires in their attempts to change their own character, having become enlightened by the process.

--Since this is an anonymous cite, I regret I cannot give the author's name.
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Unread 09-11-2009, 04:24 PM   #5
bondagefree96
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Hi again,
Back to the purpose and will power. Again I beleive if it were all about my will power to overcome addiction there wouldn't be addiction. Why would people (maybe you) continue over and over to hurt yourself and others (that you say you love) with your addiction if it's all about choice. Additionally relapse and cause more damage. Addiction is a biological, psycohological social disease that doesn't go away because I chose for it to go away. Abstinece is only the first step to working a program of recovery. I can never say I am going to stay clean and sober the rest of my life even though that's what I truly want. Alcohol and the drugs was just part of my problem. In recovery involves changing the way I think behave and live. If you say it's all about choice to remain clean and sober then why did you relaspe? when you knew your were hurting yourself and most importantly your loved ones. Why would you chosse to do that???? My turning my will and life over daily lets me know I am not perfect and will make mistakes and that I am not in control of everything. Again my will got me into a lot of trouble and heart ache. When I turned it over and lived for my higher power things got better and guess what I'm not getting into trouble with the law. My purpose is to share that with others and let them know they are not alone and there is something so much better and bigger to give them strength to take each day one day at a time.

Robert
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Unread 09-11-2009, 07:44 PM   #6
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Idol,
Thank you very much for the post.
I would love to see the movie. The moral of the story rings true with me. Where can I find it?

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Unread 09-11-2009, 09:07 PM   #7
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Hi Saint,

The movie is available on DVD and can be found at any movie rental location. I think it came out in 2006. I recommend watching it in dark, uninterrupted silence. Remember, it's a fairytale, so let your mind go and enjoy. =)
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Unread 09-12-2009, 01:04 PM   #8
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Robert,

I agree with the majority of your points but I still believe we have control over the choices we make, good and bad.

I am going to spend some time thinking about your post.

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Unread 09-12-2009, 01:22 PM   #9
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Idol,

I just ordered Lady in the Water.

I'm a bang, bang, blow 'em up, fast paced movie kind of guy.

This better be good.......... ; )

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Unread 09-14-2009, 03:01 PM   #10
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Saint,

If I recall correctly, you were a law enforcer so I understand your movie preferences. Now that I'm studying the law I love watching movies that have to do with attorneys and court dramas. Prior to my studies, however, I was a romance movie kinda gal. I don't know if you will like Lady in the Water. It's a fairytale but not a typical kids movie. It has a strangeness about it and I love that. Also, it made me cry, so watch it alone so you can let the rivers flow..

Let me know if you liked it!

-Idol
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Unread 09-15-2009, 02:37 PM   #11
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Idol,

That's called profiling and profiling is wrong... ; ).

I'm not in law enforcement but I do have friends and acquaintences that are. I respect them for what they do, it can be a tough job. I'm not sure I could handle it.

Regards,
Saint


P.S.
Hasn't anybody told you real men don't cry........
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Unread 09-17-2009, 02:40 AM   #12
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Hi Saint,

I thought of you today as I was driving and listening to the radio. Whitney Houston's song, One Moment in Time was playing and I remembered being a young girl and daydreaming about singing this song in the talent show and wanting to sing it JUST LIKE Whitney Houston. It was MY SONG, if you know what I mean and may be my life's theme; my purpose...Because every time I hear it I want to be up on that stage shouting it out for the world to hear, lol.

Do real men listen to Whitney Houston??

One Moment in Time Lyrics:

Each day I live
I want to be
a day to give
the best of me
I'm only one, but not alone
My finest day is yet unknown
I broke my heart for every gain
To taste the sweet, I faced the pain
I rise and fall,
Yet through it all this much remains

I want one moment in time
When I'm more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams
Are a heart beat away
And the answers are all up to me
Give me one moment in time
When I'm racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will feel, I will feel eternity

I've lived to be the very best
I want it all, no time for less
I've laid the plans
Now lay the chance here in my hands

Give me one moment in time
When I'm more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams
Are a heart beat away
And the answers are all up to me
Give me one moment in time
When I'm racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will feel, I will feel eternity

You're a winner for a lifetime
If you seize that one moment in time
Make it shine

Give me one moment in time
When I'm more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams
Are a heart beat away
And the answers are all up to me
Give me one moment in time
When I'm racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will be, I will be, I will be free

I will be, I will be free
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Unread 09-17-2009, 04:02 PM   #13
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Idol,

Real men love Whitney Houston!! She also has a great voice....

Seriously though, great lyrics. Anytime I heard Whitney I always admired her vocals, never really listened though.

I've heard and believe we become that which we think about. Keep your dreams, hopes, and goals alive and in your thoughts every day.

Regards
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Unread 09-19-2009, 11:26 AM   #14
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Excellent topic , awesome posts : )
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Unread 09-21-2009, 08:46 AM   #15
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CarlyO,

You're not getting away that easy!

Any thoughts?


Regards,
Saint
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Unread 09-21-2009, 03:49 PM   #16
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Ha ha - I thought that may be your reply ; )

I have been giving this thought and have enjoyed everyone's posts.
My search for my purpose in the life / meaning of life began in earnest when I first went into recovery.
I did not have an issue with a higher power, I had seen and been through things that endangered my life, it was a miracle I was alive. Reconciling my past was a major obstacle for me, most of the people, my family, who I hurt, forgave me, but it was forgiving myself that was the toughest hurdle. My soul was so dark, I felt undeserving of anything good. I was not consuming chemicals but still cynical about life until I learned that for me, having an open heart and mind would release me from own prison so that grasp this thing called recovery.

I had studied philosophy in college but never truly appreciated it until I was clear headed and asked the tough questions. what is my purpose? My first several years in recovery, I never watched tv, had zero money which was a blessing: going out and buying "things" instead of dealing with emotions/people is another temporary "fix". I read and I was told to reach out for help, ask questions, which was foreign to me. But I did it.
This is one quote I held onto to:
...human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but...life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” Gabriel Garcia Marquez

It coincided with much of what I had learned in" the rooms" and in therapy, we have the capacity to change the course of lives. It helped me accept my past, so that I could move on.
IS it a free pass to justify things I did? NO. But I was given a chance to gain the tools of recovery, so today my life is about learning and growing, being responsible for and vigilante against my addiction. I know if I do XYZ, then I will relapse.

In the rooms they taught me to look for the similarities not the differences as we can all learn from each other. I have always believed that if we could do that on a much larger scale, ( not to get into politics ) maybe there would be less fighting and suffering. Idealistic , I know.

Having a child was a monumental change in my life, my husband's too. We have the responsibility for shaping another person's life. No instructions are handed out the day you have a child.
I want him to have a world view, be kind and tolerant, to understand as I have, we are all part of this world, sometimes it seems so vast and other times, like when we travel, I feel so connected. Amazing feeling. My husband is from a different culture and along with traveling has seen that yes we may be different we all have commonalities, life and its issues, are not always a black/white.
So far, he is kind soul, has an open mind and we will do our best to lead by example, because you cannot BS a kid, you cannot pull the "do as I say not as I do" gig with them, they are not buying it and will call you out on it.

So my purpose today, is to be the best person I can, grow, connect with others/higher power and be the best parent I can.

Thanks, Carly : )

I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.
-- Pablo Casals
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Unread 09-22-2009, 01:32 AM   #17
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Carly,

Thank you.

A truly inspirational post.

Your life experiences touch me to core of my being. I am left in awe of your courage and strength. Thank you for making a difference.

Regards
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Unread 09-22-2009, 04:09 PM   #18
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I'll get back to you when I have more time to reflect.
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Unread 09-22-2009, 05:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saint View Post
CarlyO,

You're not getting away that easy!

Any thoughts?


Regards,
Saint

I keep laughing about the above post : ) like how do you condense such a topic but it has been a great exercise.
Thanks for your kind words and for reminding me to NOT forget the big picture, which is sometimes easy to do when I get lost in the daily grind so to speak.
I look forward to hearing more from everyone, hopefully we can keep this thread running !

Hope all is going well with you , take care, Carly
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Unread 09-25-2009, 02:36 PM   #20
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Okay, who is next ? Rlee ? New member Christine ?

Magda said she would be back...

"The Lady in the Water" was playing on cable, I had seen it before, but this time I understood what Idolcrush was referring to. How we get side tracked by our true purpose, and that we are capable of much more than we may even realize. Very thought provoking and I love any movie by M. Night Shaymalan. : ) Carly
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Unread 09-28-2009, 12:14 AM   #21
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Carly,

I had to chuckle re your comment about no instructions being handed out when you have a child.

I was in my early thirties when we brought our first and only child home so I thought I was ready. I remember the nurse saying it was time to take our perfectly healthy daughter home and I was thinking, can't she stay for a few more days.

Our daughter is truly the light of my life. Raising her is as you said an awesome responsibility and also a lot of fun (most of the time). Enjoy them and cherish them. They grow so quick.

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Unread 10-02-2009, 01:54 AM   #22
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Idol,

Lady in the Water just arrived today..........

Will watch it soon............

Regards
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Unread 10-06-2009, 03:36 PM   #23
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We should start a thread on Recovery themed Movies and Books...

Off the top of my head-
Book... Postcards From the Edge - Carrie Fisher ... I love her quote regarding her substance misuse...
"I was Looking For Mind Expansion and Pain Reduction, what I got was Mind Reduction and Pain Expansion "
Scar Tissue - Anthony Keidis ( Red Hot Chilli Peppers, singer )

Movies:
Things We Lost In the Fire
28 Days - Sandra Bullock -
When a Man Loves a Woman
The story of Bill W ( James Woods and James Garner ) It is good Biopic, everyone who worked on the movie did it for free as they were in or knew someone in recovery.

Saint did you see Lady In the Water yet ?
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Unread 10-16-2009, 11:03 AM   #24
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Hi,

Yes I did watch Lady in the Water - it was a very heartwarming movie.

What was up with the guy that built up his muscles on just one side of his body? I though it was just cinemamagic but the guy is for real!!

I think the movie highlights the fact you never really Know what you believe your true potential is, what you are capable of until you are tested by life. I say what "you believe" is your true potential vs. what other people believe is our true potential. I think at times we may not give ourselves credit for what we are truly capable of, our ability to overcome as it were. We limit ourselves because we don't see what others see in us or we limit ourselves because we hold onto the past and cannot let go.

Idol thanks, I enjoyed the movie. I trust all is well with you.

Regards
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Unread 11-08-2009, 01:54 AM   #25
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Carly,

Sorry to hear about the loss of your pet. It's like losing a member of the family, because you have.

My condolences to you and the family.

Regards
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