On the face of it this seems like the most unanswerable question there is, a question that nags our existence from start to finish.
And paradoxically, the more we integrate mindfulness with our daily lives and realise that the only reality we have is the present moment, the more life may seem somewhat pointless – because we are living as if this is all there is.
But on the evidence of what we can perceive, I think looking upwards at what “might be” is a waste of energy, because life for me is most certainly happening down “here”.
No matter how strong our faith in a particular religion or theory, believing something doesn't make it truer. Knowing something, based on evidence that can be critically evaluated is likely to be a more accurate appraisal of what is.
In short, saying “I believe” is never an adequate substitute for being able to say,”I know”.
Faith is largely centered around belief because it relies on second, third, fourth (and so on) accounts of things that may or may not be true.
But let me be clear: the point of this post is not to question anyone's faith, or to put forward an alternative school of thought on what might exist in another realm, but to simply present what is real. And by that I mean what we are able to perceive and logically deduce from that perception.
Do We Even Know What We're Doing?
For more than 20 years, science has suggested that we may have very little control over what we do, calling into question the concept of free will.
Studies have shown that the brain knows what you will do before the compulsion to act comes into your awareness. In short, our thoughts and actions are triggered by neurological processes we don't control.
Indeed, a study published in Psychological Science suggests that in the very moments that we experience a choice, our minds are rewriting history, fooling us into thinking that this choice—that was actually completed after its consequences were subconsciously perceived—was a choice that we had made all along.
The realisation that we are technically on autopilot and without free will, adds another new dimension to the question, “What's the point?”
If there's nothing after this existence, and I'm not fully in control of my actions in this one; then truly, what is the point to all this doing, competing, struggling, striving, working, accumulating, etc.
What Is the Point of Life
If the only reason you're living is because you firmly believe that afterwards you will go to a better place, then why not go now?
Well, perhaps the going is conditional on the living first. Even so, can a life truly be lived if it is hindered by constant thoughts of what might come after?
It's not bad thing to have faith that there might be something better after this life, as long as it doesn't restrict and/or distort your reality to the point that you aren't allowing yourself to fully live and flourish in this life. And by that I mean simply appreciating whatever blessings, however small and fleeting, are within your existence right now.
The only reality, the only thing I truly know is this moment, right here, right now. There is nothing else.
And it is at this point that science and mindfulness/fully being here merge quite beautifully: Because, even though there was a neurological process that happened prior to my thinking about writing this post, it still took my conscious doing to take action and write it.
The reality, the control I have – the living and the being – is the doing in the moment. I can take full control of my life right this second. I can act in full awareness on a particular thought of my choice. I can seize this moment to take action.
We have a million and one thoughts a day, none of which we have any control over. We can't filter thoughts and unthink the ones we don't like, but we do get to choose the ones through which we take action.
Or do we?
Well, actually, I think it doesn't matter.
Let me take you back to the start of this post where we spoke of ‘believing' something versus ‘knowing something'.
I don't “believe” I will one day write this post. I “know” I am writing this post. This is the reality. It exists right now, as I'm taking action.
However questionable the reality of my action is – whether it is free will; whether it is even happening, or happening in my head; or is just me, a conglomeration of atoms vibrating in some senseless vacuum – the perception of the action is what I know to be true.
Within this simple concept, I believe (ironically), is the point of life.
The Point of Life Is Life Itself
So it makes sense to me that the point of life is to live through what you know to be real.
Of course, what appears as a reality may not really be as we perceive it to be, but we are continually learning about this through science and our understanding will evolve with the answers.
The fact is: we don't know what's around the corner, what happens when we die or even the true extent of the control we have over our lives.
But what we do know is that we have an awareness of being here now.
Stop for a moment and look around…
That's an awareness looking through your eyes: it's a physical being, a personality, a beautiful individual that cannot and will never be replicated. You are one of a kind. Truly.
That perception, that sense of being here right now, that individual role you and I play in the world, that is the point of life.
That's the only answer we have available.
There's nothing to hope for in the future; because it doesn't exist, but everything to perceive in the now.
So, for me, this is the point. You are the point, along with every other living organism that surrounds your existence in this moment.
The point of life is happening now. Beyond that is irrelevant, because it doesn't exist.
The tiniest, seemingly insignificant insect you see on the floor is a fundamental part of the point, because you know it exists in the here and now.
When we start living through this lens, the point of life falls into place; it suddenly has context, substance and meaning.
From this acceptance emerges a profound shift of consciousness.
We are relieved of mental suffering when we see life in this way. There is no need to perpetually compete, strive and grasp blindly at every next best thing.
Why, because the majority of these actions are based on empty beliefs of a better time, a better place, a more contented and happier you; things that transcend, reshape and get further away the closer you think you are to them.
But let me be clarify something before I sign off: My view on this isn't in any way saying that pondering the future, life after death, discussing faith higher consciousness isn't valuable, on the contrary.
But self-prophesying “beliefs” with no root in the reality, or at least the realest perception we have of reality, can prevent us living life to its potential
Your next read: I Don't Want to Die & Realise I Haven't Lived
What do you think is the point of life?