The extension of lockdowns requires a lot of us all. Although a new perspective of vaccinations beckons, a lot of patience is still required. The mutations of COVID-19 virus are causing concern. More and more people experience that there is no stretch anymore. Short fuses, fear and dissatisfaction. At the same time, I also see more and more people reinventing themselves. In these times it is therefore extra important to ask ourselves what gives you energy? What makes you happy? As far as I am concerned, it is high time to take a kind of world tour within ourselves. A journey through the depths of our inner lives.
Looking for Meaning
I am fascinated by people who are able to experience plenty of space even within the sometimes severely limited frameworks of their lives. Take, for example, the Austrian psychiatrist Victor Frankl, who ended up in Auschwitz during the Second World War and lost almost his entire family in concentration camps. After the war, he resumed his practice and used the biggest crisis of his life to help other people. Anyone who knocked on his door asking for a solution to his or her misery, he immediately asked the question: “Why don’t you kill yourself?”. In this way he immediately managed to get to the essence of the issue. Whether it was the love for a partner, the responsibility for the family, the plans to write a book or the desire for anyone or whatever – Frankl immediately found a basis to work on the source of what makes life really worth living for someone. Frankl is an inspiring example of resilience and working on yourself. Whilst travelling during the present corona time is very limited, we can use that time to wander around the many rooms of our soul. It strikes me how, at this very time, you are seeing more and more examples of people using their human potential. They change their environment from the inside out. It is just the way how you look around. What is it that you want to see? One thing is certain: “If you always keep observing, as you’ve always done, you’ll continue thinking as you’ve always thought.”
In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl shares in an endearing way how he learned to deal with the suffering in the world from his experiences in the concentration camp. His wisdom is anything but theoretical or philosophical but arises directly from the intense pain of life itself. The meaning was central to him. “If man cannot find a deep sense of meaning, he will try to find happiness in distractions.” Ego, power and pleasure, money and material things become the main drivers of behaviour. However, it remains a band-aid on the wound of daily suffering. It never leads to permanent fulfilment, but rather to endless futility and existential emptiness. Frankl has literally experienced that once your search for meaning is successful, you not only feel yourself more complete, but also develop the talent for yourself to cope in a better way with the difficulties in life. Discovering a piece of sense or meaning in your life is transformative. Everything then changes, including the ability to deal more easily with the setbacks in life.
For Frankl, the pain in life has defined his life’s purpose: helping others to find their purpose and meaning in life and learning to deal with emotional pain. For Frankl, it was all about the search for meaning. I recognize that inner fulfilment to be there for others, even if it supposedly does not directly bring something for yourself. To give without expecting to receive is one of the most natural talents we have as human beings. Do we have an eye for the other? Especially now that we are all largely digitally connected, it is important to continue to actively and sincerely explore how the other is doing. The problems in the world are big and challenging. Nevertheless, I am convinced that if everyone helps one person in their environment, then the world really changes! For example, a first, very simple step, can be to consciously take time away from the screen every day to call a colleague, or meet someone somewhere outdoors and genuinely ask how he or she is doing. The better you tune in to the other, the bigger the gift to the other (and yourself).
Victor Frankl is just one of many practical examples of people who managed to transform the pain of life into a higher quality of life, even during the most difficult circumstances. We can learn a lot from him. We too still experience major problems, chaos, and pain in most places worldwide. With Frankl, I invite you to change the world by living more from within. What gives you energy? What makes you happy? Have you used this special corona time to make a journey of discovery within yourself? To discover what motivates you to actually live? To come to terms with all the pluses and minuses within yourself? The more we make that journey of discovery, the easier it becomes to deal with other people and circumstances outside of yourself.
The Greek “Know Yourself” stood as an inscription in the Temple of Apollo in Delphi for a reason. Like the singer in the lyrics below this blog, spend an evening wandering the streets of your soul, and take a journey to remember!
If you have any questions and/or comments about my blog or are open to sharing a piece of your own journey of discovery with me, do not hesitate to share it with me. You can reach me by email: email@example.com
I spent an evening wandering the streets of my soul
With a backpack full of homesickness and desire
I’ve been drinking with my anxiety
I laughed with my pain
I’ve sauntered with my dreams that didn’t come true
I’ve spent an evening wandering through my soul
I’ve made a world trip through the depths of my mind
I’ve visited every corner of myself
I’ve slept with my doubts and danced with my conscience
I sat up with my old ideals in the moonlight
I’ve made a world trip through my mind
I spent an evening wandering through the chambers of my heart
Even though they were often devoid of blood and empty
I have fought with my fears
I partied with my desire
I have decorated the bare white walls with My love
And now I am just a few minutes from being gone
I just thrown my backpack into a corner
And look at the images of the journey to my conscience
It’s been a journey to never forget