Have you ever wondered about why you are here?  The meaning of life?  Why everything exists?  Where your consciousness comes from?  Is there a purpose to your life and how you fit in with this universe?

I bet you have.  Most of us have thought about these questions at one time or another.

Rituals.  Magic. Religion. Prayer. Philosophy. Science. Mind expanding drugs. Self-help books. Spiritual practices. Meditation. Just sitting and wondering. Discussing life with others–around the cave, the campfire, the church, the university campus, the coffee shop.

These are just a few of the many ways that we all try to make sense of our existence.

I remember when I was a very young child, around 8 or 9, lying in the grass in my yard and staring up at the clouds and wondering “where is God?”….”where is this place heaven they talk about?”….”what is God, is ‘he’ really a ‘he’, some ‘old man up in the sky’?”….”who is it that is asking these questions in my mind?”…..”what is this thing, this set of memories and thoughts, that I label as myself?”

Have you ever pondered questions such as these?  If you are like most people, I suspect you have.

Abraham Maslow studied human motivation in the 20th century and through his study proposed his famous “hierarchy of needs”….a pyramid like map of things that motivate all humans.  We start at the bottom of the pyramid with basic physiological needs (water, food, air, etc) and then when they are “met”, we move up to desiring “higher” things….next, security needs (feeling safe, shelter, steady income, etc)….then belonging needs (feeling like part of a community, sense of love and connectedness)….then self esteem needs (sense of self worth coming from our accomplishments).  Although we can wonder about these deeper questions at any point, it was with Maslow’s “higher needs”…..first self actualization (becoming all we can become in what we consider a human being to be, living our calling or purpose) and the then self transcendence (feeling connected to something greater and beyond our sense of being an individual)….that we truly begin to go deeper in seeking meaning in life….but assuming we meet our “lower needs”, seek we do.

But why? Why do we have a desire for meaning?

What is it about our nature that pushes and pulls us towards spending time and energy on these questions?  And….what is it we find when we go looking?

These are some of the questions that fascinate me….and hopefully you.

Mark Gilbert


NOTE: This article is part of an upcoming book.


If you liked this article, why don’t you check out my other writings? Here are all my 4 books available on Amazon.  You might like the popular Becoming a Spiritual Change Agent and Our Spiritual Evolution (available in paperback and Kindle versions). Also, be sure to follow Conscious Bridge on Twitter and Facebook!


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