PCN North East Lincs group summary of discussion Sept 2014

Our response to the chapter in Tony Windross’s book, The Thoughtful Guide to Faith entitled Thinking About the Meaning of Life.

After grappling with the mathematical conundrums in the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, as to whether the answer to the question of the meaning of life is 42 or 48, we settled down to reflecting on one another’s experiences over the past fortnight. This was a good introduction to the subject.

Views, as to the meaning of life, varied as to the feelings of being valued, which might change as life experiences and circumstances changed, whilst the advancement of age might mean being valued was less felt.

Choice was seen to be important. The choice of being able to take advantage of the freedom one has, in opportunities of education, to grow, and to mature in one’s own journey through life. The importance of recognising ones place in history, particularly one’s own history, as one’s own story developed. Perhaps the Jewish community has a lot to teach us in this respect as they frequently refer to their nation’s history in their life experiences.

The importance of being here for one another and that we do not live in isolation was recognised, and the fact that we all have an impact on one another, as they have an impact on us. Life is for living and can be described as a river, the source being always there, but its flow is interrupted by rocks and other obstacles.

The importance of living in the now was discussed, but we acknowledged that this is extremely difficult, because the past and the future are always around us having their impact. The world of a sufferer of dementia is not a good place to be as their past and their future are no longer part of their understanding.

The experience of silence especially during meditation is to be recommended, so that one can focus on the now and among other things of who I am. Focusing on who I am can be difficult to accept. It was acknowledged that we are all predators and are therefore also prey. Life becomes a jigsaw as all the bits fit together.

We all grappled with the concept of the universal spirit which for
Christians is the Holy Spirit, but to those of other religions and other concepts has a variety of identities and names. It can be seen as spiritual forces pulling and pushing in all directions.

Another analogy put forward was that of the tripod. Love God, love ones neighbour and love ones self, though sometimes it can be difficult to love one’s self. Life can depend on the one statistical chance, being in the right or the wrong place at any one time.

For some Jesus Christ is the role model for life, whether one has been brought up that way or by conscious thought has adopted it. As one grows and comes to an understanding of his or her role, then they can make it their own.

The atheist who thinks Christians have all the answers will be disappointed for no one has the definitive answer to the question on the meaning of life, and as for the afterlife perhaps ones spirit or matter joins the universal spirit in the cosmos and in that way live forever who knows?

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