by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.

No matter what the cause, every time death comes to others, whether gently or like a Tsunami and we are spared, there is an inner felt affirmation that “I am still here.” Even in grief and mourning or guilt that “it should have been me,” there is this reality, “I am still here.” The challenge is to find or have the sense that there is meaning and purpose to being alive. If we are - as I believe - spiritual beings on a human path, it means that there is still more for us to experience, to do, to learn, or to love if we are still here.

Implicitly believed is that each of us has a soul. This means that something immortal has become embodied in each of us for a relatively short time. Each of us arrives as a vulnerable, dependent infant into the world, which is imperfect, dysfunctional, sometimes even terrifying. Encountering disappointment, betrayal, abandonment, limitation, is to be expected: suffering of one sort or another comes with life. Power to inflict pain on another or take advantage of another comes our way as well.

The Human Experience

While this is so, the human experience offers opportunities to love and be loved, to feel awe and be moved by beauty, to make mistakes, to choose how we respond to what happens to us, to grow in compassion and wisdom, and to contribute by who we become to the sum of human potential.

The magnus opus each of us has is the life we have. Like a canvas, a manuscript, or music being improvised, while we are still here, the work is not yet finished. To be human is to intuitively know or to live with the possibility that we have some significance in a vast visible and invisible universe. Living from this premise, I believe that what we do here does matter and that someday, we will know.

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