By Evangelos Diavolitsis
From an early age, I drove my parents crazy with questions about the meaning of life.
The three questions I specifically remember asking them as a young child were:
1) Why does money make people behave so foolishly?
2) What is the purpose of life? (Specifically I asked them if the purpose of life was to have as much fun as possible. What else would a kid ask?)
3) Is there a God, soul or invisible human spirit guiding our journey?
I sensed that getting clear and meaningful answers to these questions would put me in a solid position to meet the complexity of adult life.
These were thoughtful questions from a young child. The adults did not know what to do with my inquisitiveness.
Older people hushed me up and told me to stop asking so many questions. Although I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that curiosity and asking questions in fact are the keys to freedom. The adults often talked about the same things: make sure I get a good education, a well-paying job and a nice house. Yawn… Once I reached the teen years, my questions got buried or ignored by a world obsessed with managing day-to-day obligations. The money question was always on the table but mostly from the perspective of how to make as much as I can to live the so-called “good life”.
When I reached the ever important age of 28, these powerful existential questions were by that point, buried by an avalanche of experiences but they radically re-emerged from the stillness of my first life changing meditation retreat. At that time, I was forced by a personal crisis, to re-examine the disastrous direction of my spiralling life. Take note, that the age of 28 (give or take a year) is a seminal year for choosing a path that will set the stage for many years to come. For myself, I could see two paths. One path led to difficulties, triumphs and freedom and the other path led to difficulties, triumphs and even more constriction and difficulties. I chose the long arduous first path to freedom. If you choose the second path (the version of success society sells), it will lead you, in your middle or senior years, back to where you were at developmentally at age 28. The first path will lead to a mature, expansive, luminescent perspective of the universe and its mysterious purpose.
You have to make your own mistakes and learn from them.
It’s a vital aspect of the path to liberation. Choosing the first path, I discovered the meaning of money and unraveled my purpose not by mimicking other conditioned beings but by watching the dance of the stars and the interplay of earthly phenomena. Inevitably, I came to the realization that underneath the body, bones, cells, thoughts and emotions, if I was quiet for long enough, the loving kindness and radiance of my innate human spirit was effortlessly released. There was a subtle message conveyed by this omnipresent subtle energy. The message was a powerful one. It whispered the words: you have always been wealthy beyond measure and always will be… What a revelation and consolation.
I was never destined to follow the blind path that much of the world was following. I chose to forge the path of the road less travelled and get to the bottom of the quest for meaning. Now I am 50 and life did not get any easier but my investigations have greatly assisted in creating more ease around my reactions to an unpredictable life.
Who could have foreseen the madness of a global pandemic?
You have the free will to choose reactions that create more beauty in your life.
Are you aware of this understated fact? My non-reactive mindfulness training was greatly utilized during the pandemic. It’s not that I did not struggle like everyone else, it’s that I did not spend a lot of time in the struggle. I spent my time asking meaningful questions and being proactive about changing the storyline. Struggles are unavoidable, it’s the recovery time where I choose to focus my awareness. How do you get out of a personal pickle? A clue?… By examining your peculiar relationship to money, your daily purpose and the obstacles blocking your human spirit.
As we approach the final stretch of this pandemic, questions naturally arise. What was that all about? How did it change us socially, financially, spiritually and professionally? You may now find yourself in the position of excavating a deeper quest for meaning and wanting to explore:
1) The shift in your personal survival story 2) Your updated life vision and mission
3) How to integrate finances with personal purpose and spiritual practice so that you live a life of fearless embodiment.
The Four Learnings
- Make peace with money. If you look around, humanity has made money the benchmark for success. It really isn’t. Going to bed with a peaceful loving heart is. Too much energy is wasted worrying about survival so take the time to understand your relationship to money. Own your shadow around it. Life will become more fluid and abundant. Your primary purpose in life is not to make money nor is your self worth attached to your net worth. Money is a powerful tool so give it the respect it deserves. Money is an area we focus on because it is where most of humanity puts their refuge. Money is the light that shines on the shadow. It is neutral and necessary as a language to communicate earthly needs like food, clothing, shelter and medicine. Since we are animals, we cannot deny this energy. It’s in the lower chakras and symbolizes our relationship to the world of form.
- Purpose changes every day. Purpose is not fixed. Have you noticed that everyday is infused with a slightly different meaning and purpose. It requires awareness and strong vision; daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Refrain from moving through life blindly. There are too many other people living in their consumer habit-mind which means that you need to be prepared, determined and attentive when chaos eventually knocks on your door. Whatever you do with presence and love, that is your purpose in the moment.
- Underneath the body, inside every human being is a Human Spirit. It is invisible, energetic, is never born and never dies. It is the fuel of life. Because of our incessant need to survive and make money, we create stories of purpose and meaning to convince ourselves that we are on the right path and doing something that makes a difference in the world. I love stories but you don’t need a story to find meaning. You just need to unravel the multiple layers of conditioning blocking the human spirit and if you can get a glimpse for 10 seconds you will go AH HA! If you get a glimpse for 10 minutes you will scream WOW! If you get a glimpse for 10 hours you will probably quit your job and if you get a glimpse for 10 weeks, you will most likely devote your life to living by the light of your human spirit.
- If you don’t resonate with the above three points, I suggest you explore this proven and rewarding purpose of life: Learn as much as you can about your inner and outer world and focus specifically on learning how to love unconditionally.
I still drive people crazy with questions about the meaning of life and most likely always will. Adult life has become exponentially more complex but my inner world has become intrinsically simple and light. This calmer inner state feels authentic and free of desiring to be anything special or wasting energy trying to find meaning. Isn’t being human meaningful enough?
A tree does not need meaning, nor does the sky, nor does the ocean or the mountain. They are part of the whole and when you are part of the whole you don’t seek meaning. You are the purpose, question, reason and answer.
Evangelos teaches a multi-disciplinary approach to liberation through four pathways: Money, Movement, Mindfulness and Mystery. He is a regular meditation teacher for the Mandali Experience, and will be hosting the Quest for a Meaningful Life Retreat in September. Read full bio