What is the Point of Life? Learn From My Near-Death Experience
I know what you're thinking.
You're really going to tell me about the point of life in an email newsletter?
I'm going to distill the point of life, as I see it, from a mental health perspective.
Because this stuff matters.
We don't talk about purpose and meaning enough when it comes to mental health.
But finding meaning is at the core of living a mentally healthy, meaningful life.
Without meaning in life, everything seems hopeless.
But with meaning in life, everything becomes brighter.
Let's discuss how you can answer the fateful question in your own words: "What is the point of life?"
My Near-Death Experience (Discovering the Point of Life)
I've been all over the place in my thinking about the point of life.
I once thought there was no point to life.
And I've also felt that every moment is imbued with potent meaning.
I guess you could say I'm closer to the second statement these days.
And it all comes down to my thinking and dealing with my own mental health, which has been forged in the fire of difficult experiences.
To understand that, you have to understand my mental and emotional state when I came back into the world from open-heart surgery.
Back in 2012, I learned that my heart was failing.
I was told by a nurse that I would need to get heart surgery in the next few months or I would die.
To go from healthy young adult to almost dead was earth-shattering, to say the least.
But, with the help of my girlfriend-now-wife, I got prepared to have the heart surgery and went through with it a few months later at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
I remember thinking as they were putting me to sleep on the operating table that the bright lights above might be the last thing I would ever see.
But they weren't.
Because, suddenly, I woke up.
I was in the ICU.
And the strangest thing happened to me.
I had a full-body thought.
I'd never experienced anything like it before.
As my eyes slowly opened and I glimpsed the room and the machines all around me, my whole body, thought:
Now, it wasn't like some kind of Frankenstein-monster experience in which I rose from the dead.
No, it was a full-body "YES" to the world.
It was as if my whole body was in sync with my mind and heart--and everything was vibrating together.
This lasted just a moment before extreme pain and nausea hit me and I muttered something inaudible as the nurse in the room came over to check on me.
But the experience of that "waking up to my life" moment has stuck with me ever since.
That experience taught me that there's something more to life than just going through the motions and doing what was I told.
It taught me that there's something fundamentally precious going on underneath the surface of human life.
What this means for you, your life, and your own mental health (What is the point of your life?)
I believe that the point of life--your life--is to discover those moments that make you come alive, to notice when your body gives a full-throated yes to the world.
The more I do what my heart is telling me to do, the more my body gets the inexplicable vibration feeling that I had when I woke up from surgery.
It all starts with getting curious about your own life.
What have you experienced that made you think, "Yes. This is who I am."
It starts there.
And it continues as you seek out more and more of those moments.
Because trying to find meaning in your life by applying a prescriptive approach from a school, a corporation, or your parents doesn't make any sense.
It's like trying to follow a baking recipe to put together a spaceship.
It's not suited for the job.
The deep work of discovering your purpose in life has to come from you and your struggles.
Getting broken and beaten by life is the time when you're open enough to your very existence to choose a new path.
Outside of that, it's way too easy to "follow the script" and do what's safe.
But when you're broken and battered and nothing seems possible, you can actually choose anything.
This kind of existential thinking is sorely lacking in mental health conversations.
In the world of mental health care, professionals typically stick to "the script."
They give you tactics and instruction manuals.
But you're a human being, emphasis on the "being."
To answer, "What is the point in life?" you have to spend the time to get to know yourself.
You have to put yourself in a variety of situations that challenge you.
Only then will you notice what happens when your walls come down.
And you'll learn that discovering your meaning of life is a process that never ends.
You didn't expect to get all the answers in an Internet article, did you?
Because the answers are always inside of you, waiting for you to bring them out.