Friday, March 14, 2014

Viktor Frankl: Begin with Beign

Viktor Frankl
Our pervasive cultural value of ceaseless productivity is making it difficult to maintain a sense of personal meaning. People feel meaningful when they set and meet goals. This can be called “meaning through doing.” As unemployment increases and the percentage of those deemed “successful” decreases, it is dangerous to weigh meaningfulness solely on what one has gained. For example, if all of our meaning is dependent upon a job, what happens when we lose that job?
In order to buffer our meaning through doing we must refocus to the ground on which life takes place. This is related to mindfulness as we learn to notice the vitality which pulses vibrantly in each breath we take. A universal word for the core of each individual is being. Being has been well nuanced by existential philosophers (for example, Sartre and Heidegger). With the more recent attention of science to mindfulness, being can be taken more seriously as a real and influential human phenomenon. Thus, we can emphasize the experience of meaning through being.
When we place being at the center of our life, we find ourselves engaged in an ongoing process of affirming our very existence. When something external to us impresses its meaning upon us, it registers as meaningful, not because of any objective meaning found in the external sphere, but because we ourselves, as living beings, already are saturated with meaning. When we get a job, the meaningfulness of the moment does not come from the job itself, rather from the affirmation that “I am alive!” Meaning is in the knowing that we have intrinsic value and dignity. Mindfulness helps to cultivate knowing that your being, with your aliveness in tow, is always present.

Tikkun Online Magazine