28 September 2012


Yesterday morning, I was pondering again Viktor Frankl's assertion that life's meaning can be found in work, love or suffering. Specifically again, work is not just career, but whatever task or creative exercise one can put his hands and/or mind to at the moment. Love is usually thought of as love for another person, but it can also mean any sort of absorptive experience. Suffering is fairly self-explanatory.

In pondering these I realized that they all three could be summed up in one word: struggle. To make an effort, to focus oneself in the experience of another person or thing, or to endure suffering means to struggle. Through struggle we find meaning.

I think most religions and philosophies worth considering give due place to struggle, but I think the Sufis express it best. They consider the highest form of struggle (jihad) to be the struggle with one's ego (jihad binnafs). That means to tame one's ego in order to move toward wiser and kinder living.

Although I'm agnostic, I do appreciate the work spiritual persons have done in the past to make themselves wiser and kinder. I think I can learn from that dedication, that struggle.

So my task, as I see it is to struggle to grow 'spiritually', adapting wisdom of the past to my agnostic present, and to become wiser and more compassionate.

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