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The first lesson in “A Course in Miracles”, a self study course which helps in spiritual transformation, is that everything in life is neutral. The course gives an exercise which goes like-
This table does not mean anything.
This chair does not mean anything.
This hand does not mean anything.
This foot does not mean anything.
This pen does not mean anything.
Basically, the idea is to empty the mind and focus it on the present moment.
Viktor Frankl in his iconic book, “Man’s Search For Meaning” agrees with the premise that every experience is neutral. He has added another dimension to this and reminds us that we have the power to assign any meaning we want to the experience appearing before us.
His experience in Auschwitz made him realize that suffering cannot be avoided but our power lies in the fact that we have the choice as to how to respond to it.
His theory of logo therapy states that man’s basic drive is not a search for happiness but one to find a meaning in his life. He reveals how suffering can be endured if one finds a meaning for it. He hastens to add that suffering is not necessary to find meaning in life, only that ‘meaning is possible in spite of suffering’. And if we are the ones who are free to decide what that meaning will be, wouldn’t life be a wonderful exploration?
Let your exploration into the meaning of life start with this book and let it culminate into a yes to life in spite of all its trials and sorrows! And you may find out as Vickor Frankl did that Life is actually looking to you to seehow you will give it its meaning!
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