Wise words from my favorite philosophers that offer me unmatchable comfort.
“So, what are you doing with your life?”, “What gives you your drive in life?”, “Where do you see yourself in 30 years?”
To some people, these questions invoke a deep sense of anxiety, simply because of the uncertainty and pure embarrassment one may feel when they are at a complete loss for words. To those who could write essays on the questions above, congratulations, you guys are killing it.
But to those who feel like an aimless wandering soul in a meaningless universe, don’t worry. That’s really all I can say. Don’t worry. I’m a firm believer in fate. Fate in the sense that the universe will take you down the path you need to go down, and through this, you will find out the answer to the above questions.
All you need to do is continue down the path you are on, even if that feels like that path doesn't exist. I can assure you it does.
And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — The Alchemist
“Why would philosophy quotes help me?” You may ask. Well, philosophy is a personal pursual of navigating what it means to exist and how to live a life that is truly fulfilling. Philosophy forces you to think, and reflective introspection is one of the main ways to find yourself in life.
I’ve been into philosophy for over two years now, and when I come across potent quotes like these, I do one thing. I’ll copy them in my journal and pick them apart, freewriting what these quotes make me feel and applying them to my own life. That’s what it means to meditate on a quote.
#1: “Not until we are lost do we begin to find ourselves.” — Henry David Thoreau
I couldn't not start this article with a quote by my favorite philosopher. Finding yourself is one of those existential phrases that get thrown around like a football.
For me, to find yourself is to come to terms with who you are in your most genuine, raw form, and be in full acceptance of this fact. It also means being able to be content with the stage you are at in your life and where you see your life heading. And finally, it also means to have a strong personal sense of what you want to do in life and what you are going to do!
So this quote is telling us that to reach this semi-enlightened philosophical state of having found ourselves, we have to be lost. And we all know what it means to be lost in life, you probably wouldn't have clicked this article if you didn't know what this meant.
Take this as a message to not feel depressed or down about feeling lost. It’s part of the process. You have to feel lost to find yourself. You cant find something that was never lost.
#2: “The soul which has no fixed purpose in life is lost, to be everywhere, is to be nowhere” — Michel de Montaigne
This lesson is one that should be inscribed into every child's brain from birth. It’s should be created into a philosophical law of human nature.
Probably the biggest mistake someone will make when they feel like they have no purpose, is that they will try so many different things that the chance of them discovering their passion is close to none. Don’t frantically try to do everything in the books because you feel like your precious time is running out.
Instead, the best advice I can give you is to flow. Just flow with the nature of existence, don't force things. What needs to happen will happen, so think of life as a current of water, and let yourself be taken by the current. You will find your destination, your purpose, but don't go everywhere in search of it.
#3: “It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when they have lost their way.” — Rollo May
Now, this sounds like it could be more of a genuine psychological law of people experiencing existential crises. Want to know why? Well, it comes from a famous American psychologist who is often related to the existentialism movement in philosophy.
What Rollo May is saying, is to avoid at all costs the trap of becoming a headless chicken running about hopelessly. What happens to a chicken after it gets its head cut off? It will run around aimlessly, then die, and become a tasty meal for a human. Moral of the story: running around when you are lost will result in the death of your soul, the very thing that carries your desire to persevere in life.
Slow down when you have fallen off the path, take time to analyze the surroundings of what is going on in your life, and try to get back on track from there.
#4: “Man is a mystery. It needs to be unraveled, and if you spend your whole life unraveling it, don’t say that you’ve wasted time. I am studying that mystery because I want to be a human being.”― Fyodor Dostoevsky
To be human is to marvel at the mystery of your existence, and philosophize about your place within the grander scheme of things, because if you don't think about such matters, perhaps this sense of being lost should be seen in a new light.
As Dostoyevsky says, we are a mystery. We can never truly know everything about ourselves, nor about what we are destined for. But maybe this is a good thing because it forces us to search for the answer to this mystery, and even if we never really find the answer, the search is what we need.
We need this search of unraveling the mystery of being human because it is what being human is about. The truth is that everyone feels lost, everyone feels like they've fallen off the path.
So perhaps if we try to find out why this is, we will find the reason of why we have fallen off our own specific path. Search for the answer to the mystery.
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