The Meaning of Life

I’m not particularly religious. I was raised in a Christian home and attended the obligatory Sunday School until one day, Mum got clever. She realized that we hated going to church, and that we’d rather stay home and watch Saber Rider. She figured if she just gave us an option, we would choose voluntarily, and it would spare her the drama of dragging us out of bed each Sunday morning.

So Mum announced that church is between us and God, and that we should only go if we want to. We boycotted church for about three weeks before we found ourselves back there with pinched ears and sore bottoms. There has been no mention of personal faith or free will since.

At age 10, I got saved. I had no idea what it meant, and I did it because my cousin said I should. We said a little prayer, my heart felt buoyed, and when I got home, I prayed about a headache and was cured. Hurray for faith healing!! Two days later, I got a bigger headache, but this time faith healing didn’t work. I concluded that I didn’t have enough [faith], and my belief quickly dwindled.

By Class 6, I would walk into a church and quickly doze off. My eyes were always open, but my mind was miles away. Still, I woke up for Praise & Worship and Communion. The youth pastor was hot, the altar wine was sweet, and the Praise Team played guitar. But after a while, my conscience caught up with me. I realized I was going to church for alcohol and music, and that I hadn’t heard a sermon in three years, so I stopped going. I later attended a Catholic High School, and SDA campus, a Muslim workplace, and several Hindu festivals, so I know a bit about religion.

My dad thinks that’s why I hate church. He thinks mixed doctrine disillusions. That’s not really why though. All religions leave me with questions. They all think they’re right, so which one of them is wrong?

In the end, I settled for New Age because it makes me feel at peace. Granted, it has some strange ideas like reincarnation, and it has no place for heaven or hell. But it makes me happy, and that’s all I need in life.

New Age allows for belief in a higher being, but like all belief systems, it doesn’t say where the being came from or how it got there. It’s like the scientific principle of energy. It can’t be created or destroyed blah blah blah. My mind has issues accepting the concept of anything ‘just being there’ even if that thing is God.

Anyway, whether you’re religious or not, if you’re a thinking being, you’ve wondered why you’re here. Granted there are people in life who are content to work, eat, and sleep, and sometimes I envy their lives for being so simple. But most of us wonder why we’re here and what our purpose is. Maybe it’s to get ready for eternity, to take a journey and learn lessons, to join with the ultimate life force, to discover and remember who we are.

We spend lifetimes trying to find that reason. Even in sacrilegious movies like Dogma, the Scion asks God why she put us here. That’s a really good movie by the way. It stars Alanis Morissete as God and Chris Rock as the 13th Disciple. He allegedly got left out of the gospels because he’s black.

Matt Damon stars as The Angel of Death, Penelope Cruz as Muse, and George Carlin as a golfing cardinal. Ben Affleck is in it too, and it’s the only role in which I actually like him. It’s an awesome movie, but you probably won’t like it if you enjoy going to church.

I may not have found all my answers, but I’ve found a life philosophy via Mike Dooley. He’s written a book called Manifesting change and I listen to the audio quite regularly. As part of the programme, he gives an exercise called Three Things. In the exercise, you write down:

  1. Three things you like about life
  2. Three things you like about yourself
  3. Three lessons you’d like to learn before you die

It’s a pretty basic exercise, and it’s also pretty telling, because usually, when you’re asked to list things, you’ll automatically pick the most important things first. That way, you end up with your favourite items and priorities.

My list looks a little like this:

  1. Food, laughter, music
  2. My looks, my mind, my world view as a dreamer
  3. To stop being jealous, to be more secure, to be a good mum

That’s all pretty basic, but when I look at that list, I realize the key goals in my life. I notice that I have consistently placed myself where I am. I’m happiest when I’m doing things that make me laugh, and I gravitate towards people that amuse me. I’m blissful when I eat something I enjoy. [One of my happiest memories is eating an entire Hawaiian pizza all by myself. *Sigh*] I like how I look, so diet and exercise is a challenge. In default mode, I sit alone, staring at walls and thinking, yet I don’t even know that I’m doing it.

I passively chose to raise my baby on my own, because I want to be a good mum with no interference or influence. I subconsciously ward off relationships and marriage by loving the wrong guys. I’m plagued by jealousy and insecurity, and the day that I shall conquer this, I’ll settle with the man that I love. But it’s unlikely before princess is 18, because to me, that would mess with being a fruitful independent mum. When I look at things like that, my life begins to make sense, and I can’t help smiling about it.

I’m sure you have other priorities like money, good health, prosperity, beauty pageants, and world peace. But when you break your mind down into Three Things, you’ll realize what’s important to you, you’ll see that you’ve been on it all along, and you’ll begin to do it and enjoy it.

So that, ladies and gents, is the purpose life, broken into nine simple items by Mike Dooley. Try it. You’d be surprised how much your mind can change you.

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Crystal Ading' is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through

  • Maria

    Hey, I’m a big fan of encouraging people to think about their spirituality (or lack of). I feel like you should choose whatever you want, but if you haven’t thought about it or questioned it, then that’s pretty lazy. I appreciate that you’re taking your destiny in hand! Good luck

  • Africangel

    I love being a Christian, a real one not a Sunday one, I love being married to my hubby and having someone to share the children with (especially when the horns start showing and someone to talk to at the end of a hard day ). I tried the single motherhood thing (caught out at the wrong time) and it was only fun when my lil one was a baby, and then it just became too much for me and I realized that a child needs two parents. I love that hubby and I can play good cop/bad cop with the kids and I do not have to be both (and by the way I am usually the bad cop). I love my job because I work in an environment where you are encouraged to grow and I realized a long time ago no organization is perfect. But most of all I love the assurance that God loves me for who I am; flaws and all. And I like the way I look; though am fast approaching 50, I can easily pass for early 30’s. (good genes and refusal to let the world run my life). So what are the most important things in my life?
    God…. My family…. me

  • Mia

    I suspect this exercise will be helpful to me but it’s past 1am and nothing good would come of it so….why don’t we say I’ll keep you posted? Great article, btw :)

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