Finding Meaning Part 3

You can find meaning everywhere by knowing yourself and noticing the little things that are easy to dismiss, pass off as coincidence.

By “knowing yourself,” I mean understanding what is significant to you. Are there certain numbers that mean something to you? Symbols? Images? Sounds, names, tastes, colors? Events?

For example, let’s say a particular number is significant to you; if you are Biblically minded, perhaps 666, the number of the beast, casts a shadow in your mind when you see it. Let’s say that you are interacting with someone, and 666 comes up somehow—perhaps in their home address or their phone number. You might miss this fact entirely, or, even if you notice it, you could dismiss this as coincidence. It very well could be coincidence, but perhaps it isn’t. It wouldn’t hurt to take a cautious look at that person and your interactions with them.

Or, perhaps you aren’t interacting with anyone that you know is associated with that number, but bad things are happening to you or those you love, and the number shows up in various places—a restaurant bill, someone’s license plate number, etc. You could take that as a sign that there is someone in your life somewhere who is trying to do you harm. It wouldn’t have to be someone you know; if you are part of a group or organization, for example, there could be an opposing group or organization.

Likewise, if there are numbers or images you associate with good things, and those keep showing up in your life, you could choose to take those as signs that things are going your way or that there are people who are meaning you well. Or perhaps that there is something you could benefit from by paying attention to. For example, many people have a rule of three: if they hear something three times in a short period of time, say, a book or movie recommendation, they take it as a sign to read the book or go see the movie because they are being told there is a longer message in the book or movie that is useful to them.

As another example, let’s say you feel a special affinity with a particular animal; perhaps the skunk or fox. You might not normally see either where you live (perhaps you live in a highly urban area), but nature has her way of bringing her messages to you regardless of where you live. You might see an image of a skunk on a billboard or on television, or hear the word, or see black and white stripes that are reminiscent of a skunk’s striping. You could choose to ignore those images, but you can also choose to view them as a message bringing to you whatever meaning the skunk carries for you. If you are in a highly urbanized area and you see an actual living skunk (though perhaps not in a zoo—though maybe even then), then that could be taken as a message that is practically being shouted at you.

Whatever sign or symbol you see, notice. Listen. Spend a few minutes thinking about it. Maybe connect it with other signs or symbols you’ve seen reaching you. Is there a pattern? Has something come up several times recently, perhaps in conversation, on the Internet, on television, in a book, on the radio, on a billboard, in a text, in a tweet, on FaceBook, in email? What feeling do you get when that happens? Are you being warned? Admonished? Encouraged? Praised? Loved? Guided in a particular direction, or guided to (or away from) a particular person, place, or thing?

The habit of finding meaning can make your life richer, fuller, and more satisfying. Even if we are ultimately wrong and there is no meaning to life, isn’t it better to live as though there were? And if there is, isn’t it better to find it than to ignore it?

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