“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” -Albert Camus


Why am I always asking the question “Why?”


I have done that since I was very young, apparently.  The impression that I received from my mother is that I was constantly asking the question “Why?”, but that if the tables were turned and I was asked a question, that my response was frequently, “I don’t know.”  In my 44 years of searching for the meaning of life and why I am here, I have come to realize that the latter is the most truthful thing I can sometimes say.


Having it all figured out is an illusion, that much seems clear.  We can play with spiritual concepts and try them on, and sometimes they make sense to our fragile egoic minds.  Certainly there are a myriad of religions and traditions out there to choose from that claim to have the corner on reality.  But sometimes those spiritual concepts don’t seem to hold up, or they seem to be so harsh when considering what humans can do to each other.  Living through the experience of being powerless to someone else’s violence is something that will test every bit of faith and spirituality you have.


I came across the above quote this morning while considering the plight of people who are victimized by violence.  The desire of my contemplation was to find meaning in why these things happen.  I can consider that we choose to be in a certain place at a certain time, and that by some interesting combination of choices a man can rape a woman, and forever alter both their lives.   But going down that path seems to be akin to going down the rabbit hole….there is madness at the center of the illusion that we can know why things happen all of the time.  Perhaps the search for meaning comes out of our desire to control what cannot be controlled.


Life is a great mystery….it’s way bigger than can be conceived of by the human mind; I think it’s safe to assert that.  Yet we continue to search for the answers to our existence in a relentless pursuit of some shred of knowing.  When we find an answer, any answer that makes sense in the moment, it makes us feel better for a little while, more in control.  But what does it cost us to be in this constant chase?  If we are always asking questions, does that mean we are not BEING in our life?  Is the meaning of life just to live it?  And does looking for the meaning of life prevent us from doing that?