The Meaning of Life
By Fethullah Gulen
Fethullah Gulen is an influential Turkish Muslim intellectual who inspired a series of social activities, including a transnational education and business network, inter-faith dialogue forums, and multi-cultural encounters. His official Web site is http://en.fgulen.com/
Are all of life’s hardships worth enduring? The answer depends on what our goal is in living. In fact, understanding life’s purpose is a slow and absorbing process. We sense its mystery while reflecting upon our existence and humanity. Therefore, our concept of life evolves gradually throughout our lives.
The purpose of our creation is obvious: to reach our utmost goals of belief, knowledge, and spirituality; to reflect on the universe, humanity, and God, and thus prove our value as human beings. Fulfilling this ideal is possible only through systematic thinking and systematic behavior. Thought will provoke action, and thereby start a “prosperous cycle.” This cycle will produce more complex cycles, generating between the heart’s spirituality and the brain’s knowledge, and thereby develop ever-more complex ideas and produce larger projects.
Carrying out such a process calls for strong belief, consciousness, and understanding. People with these characteristics can realize and analyze the unreflective lifestyles of others. Such people think do what they believe to be right, and then reflect upon their behavior, thereby continually deepening their thoughts and acquiring new ideas. They believe that only those who reflect deeply are productive, and that the pain and suffering they endure makes their belief stronger and more acceptable.
They live a life of reflection by observing creation every day, sometimes reading it like a book or embroidering their minds with the wisdom they acquire. Believing that the universe was created to be “read” and understood, the purpose of our creation must be nothing but that.
On its own, existence is the very bounty that leads us to a prosperous path of bounties. Given this, we should appreciate its value. Since we were created, as was a whole universe of bounties, we must use these gifts and benefit from them.
To reach this goal, we must use our willpower, a voice heard by the All-Powerful One, and develop our abilities and skills to their furthest extent, thus proving ourselves to be willful beings. Our duty is to reflect upon our place in life, our responsibilities, and our relationship with this vast universe. We should use our inner thoughts to explore creation’s hidden side. As we do so, we will begin to feel a deeper sense of our selves, see things differently, witness that events are not what they seem, and realize that events are trying to communicate something to us.
I believe that this should be life’s real purpose. We are the most important living creation in this universe. Given this, we should reflect upon and observe it so that we may realize and fulfill the purpose of our creation. Our duty is to hunt for insights and divine joys in our hearts and souls, for only this way of life can move us beyond the frustrating endeavors of a totally materialistic and painful life.
What makes this painful life worth living is the joy we feel while moving along the path and receiving the gifts we are given. Those who walk this path are constantly delighted with various insights. They run enthusiastically toward their final goal like a river flowing to the sea.
Our generation needs guides to teach us how to achieve such belief, thought processes, and happiness. Their guidance will allow our youth to enjoy being young and living upright lives. They will experience existence and non-existence as the same thing once they feel immortality in their souls; realize that they can do more than they thought in only a couple of seconds; see the afterlife reflected in everything and thereby witness endless life; discover that life is worth living; witness that all creation rises and sets in their souls; and journey through the dimensions of their souls, just like traveling through galaxies, observing infinity within the dimensions they reach during this mortal life.
Source: This article was published in The Fountain Magazine, January-March 2001, Issue 33, here cited with some modifications from: http://en.fgulen.com/a.page/books/a910.html
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