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    Something to Think About: Personal and global meaning

two hands holding a clay model of the earth, the world, a globe
Dr. Amit Sood
 says, "It is easier and more useful to make your life more meaningful than to search for the ultimate meaning of life."

Dear friend,

Our mind doesn’t have access to the ultimate meaning of life. Answers to questions about what the world is and how it was created can take us closer to the meaning. However, until we have a solid answer for the question of why the world was created, we will stay relatively ignorant.

Science has done a phenomenal job of answering the what and the how, but it hasn’t moved an inch closer to answering the why. Knowledge that doesn’t answer the why is limited. Awareness of the unimaginably large size of our universe (estimated at ninety-one billion light-years) creates a sense of awe—about the vastness of it all. Knowledge about the subatomic quantum world with awareness of the power of intentionality is truly fascinating. But the details of physics at both the cosmic and the quantum levels still leave the curious mind dissatisfied.

I believe the ultimate why (meaning) that will satisfy the human mind will be complete in itself, not depending on anything external to validate it. It will be resilient to the paradigm of life and death. I don’t presently know how to reach that why.

I do, however, know how to align my limited mind with what I believe is my primary evolutionary responsibility—to help create a safer, happier, kinder world for our planet’s children. Despite my good intentions, my personal ability to accomplish this goal is extraordinarily limited. I can influence only a minuscule part of the world in a very small way.

Minuscule, however, is better than nothing. If I procrastinate, waiting for the day when I have complete access to the global meaning or collecte the resources to influence a large part of the world, I will reach nowhere.

I believe contextual, transient meanings all converge to a global meaning. If I can take hold of my own little meaning and pursue it to the deepest place it can take me, the reflection of the global meaning might reveal itself. That will be enough.

Questions of who created the sound and why aren’t answerable. The immediate value comes in knowing how to turn the sound into music. Similarly, our minds in their current state of evolution cannot know who created the world or why. We can understand how to make the world a better place—one where we create more music than noise and also hear music behind the noise. And that is enough.

May you hear more music than noise; may you hear music behind the noise.

Take care.

Dr. Sood 2

Read previous blog posts and follow @AmitSoodMD on Twitter.

Dr. Sood is director of research in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program on Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus in Minnesota. He also chairs the Mind-Body Medicine Initiative at Mayo Clinic.