Science of a Meaningful Life

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

– Jon Kabat-Zinn


My friend Jayne sent me a wonderful link the other day.  It is so full of wonderful info that it kept me busy reading and listening for days! Thank you Jayne!  It’s from one of my very favorite sites that I have talked about before, Greater Good out of Berkeley.

I often talk about happiness in my blog, as a matter of fact, it is one of my favorite subjects.  But it’s not as simple as saying “Be Happy and your life will be grand.”

Happiness is good for you, but not all the time; empathy ties us together, and can overwhelm you; humans are born with an innate sense of fairness and morality, that changes in response to context. This has been especially true of the study of mindfulness and attention, which is producing more and more potentially life-changing discoveries.

One of the key points in the article is that:

A meaningful life is different—and healthier—than a happy one.

So what’s the difference between a happy life and a meaningful life? A recent study in the Journal of Positive Psychology explains a few of the differences:

Feeling good and having one’s needs met seem integral to happiness but unrelated to meaning. Happy people seem to dwell in the present moment, not the past or future, whereas meaning seems to involve linking past, present, and future. People derive meaningfulness (but not necessarily happiness) from helping others—being a “giver”—whereas people derive happiness (but not necessarily meaningfulness) from being a “taker.” And while social connections are important to meaning and happiness, the type of connection matters: Spending time with friends is important to happiness but not meaning, whereas the opposite is true for spending time with loved ones.

One of the most significant findings to have emerged from the sciences of happiness and altruism is that altruism boosts happiness.  Spending on others makes us happier than spending on ourselves.  The emotional benefits of altruism suggest that it is a product of evolution, perpetuating behavior that “may have carried short-term costs but long-term benefits for survival over human evolutionary history.” And mindfulness meditation makes people more altruistic.  Greater Good hosted a conference called “Practicing Mindfulness & Compassion,” where speakers made the case that the practice of mindfulness—the moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and surrounding—doesn’t just improve our individual health but also makes us more compassionate toward others.

The article is full of wonderful information.  In my opinion it is well worth the read.

Embedded within the article are several videos from the conference. I will include one here called Mindfulness and Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff.  I hope if you have the time and the inclination that you will watch all of the videos.  They are uplifting and inspirational.

 

 

Please let me know what you thought of the article and the videos, I’d love to hear from you.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

In Search of Sacred Self

“Whatever else you do, listen to your Deepest Self.  Love Her and be true to Her. Speak Her truth, always.”

– Sue Monk Kidd


I am reading a book at the moment called The Dance of the Dissident Daughter.  It is a beautiful book by Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees. It describes Kidd’s own journey toward the Sacred Feminine.

“There is no place so awake and alive as the edge of becoming. But more than that, birthing the kind of woman who can authentically say, ‘My soul is my own,’ and then embody it in her life, her spirituality, and her community is worth the risk and hardship.  And that is what I have come to tell you – I have come over the wise distances to tell you: She is within us.”

The journey toward Sacred Self is a journey of passion and longing.  It calls to us. And once we hear the call, it is my experience that we cannot “un-hear” it.  That calling and longing is within us forever.

“To discover who she is, a woman must descend into her own depths.  She must leave the safe role of remaining a faithful daughter of the collectives around her and descent to her individual feeling values.  It will be her task to experience her pain . . . the pain of her own unique feeling values calling to her, pressing to emerge.”  Judith Duerk (Circle of Stones)

I believe that accessing that deepest self, that Sacred Self, is where we truly tap into our power. I believe that is where intuition lives and where we can be most powerful.  Powerful Beyond Measure!

Sometimes we fear descending into our own depths, into that darkness of the unknown. But that is where our intuition is.  But as Caroline Myss points out, we often fear pursuing our intuition at all:

“We often hesitate to follow our intuition out of fear. Most usually, we are afraid of the changes in our own life that our actions will bring. Intuitive guidance, however, is all about change. It is energetic data ripe with the potential to influence the rest of the world.”

That is my search!  The search for that energetic data ripe with potential! That search for Sacred Self!

To close, I would like to share a TED Talk by Isabel Allende about passion. In this powerful talk, Allende calls to women to follow their passion: We must begin  to make fundamental changes real change calls for feminine energy. Allende calls for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work, passionately, to create a better world. And I believe the first step in that direction is that search for Sacred Self.

 

 

Please let me know what you think of this TED talk.  And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.