On the surface, the search for a meaningful life might sound exemplary, but the problem arises when we insist that it be the meaning we choose. The human brain is a successful meaning machine. We make sense of our world by creating meaning, but by doing so we filter out a great deal of the world.
According to Buddhism, there is no inherent meaning in anything. Everything just is—just as it is. By choosing certain goals or charting a particular meaning or course for our lives, we arbitrarily shut out many of the options open to us. Then when the universe does not bow to our will and fulfill the goal or meaning we have chosen, that causes disappointment and can leave us feeling perpetually angry.
This notion, boiled down: are you ready to accept? That your search for meaning and the reality of the universe may not precisely align?
This is easier to stomach in the face of relative comfort, happiness, contentment, and so forth.
The trick is to remember we are not experts on the universe. Furthermore, rarely do we even have a firm grasp on what it is that we “want.” Closing off directions we don’t think suit us, or we’re too good for…we might just miss the golden ticket, that way.