I believe that questions of existence, and our degree of interaction with them, influence people’s successes and challenges in life. We are meaning-searching creatures in a meaningless world, forced to grapple with responsibility or face alienation and an unsatisfying life. Carl Rogers once said, “it is this tendency toward existential living which appears to me very evident in people who are involved in the process of the good life,” (Combs, 1962, p. 5). I understand people as having an inherent drive to grow and move toward self-actualization. People seek to live spontaneously, uninhibited by the ego, but ultimately resign to the pressures and convenience of conformity, dampening creativity and damaging personal authenticity.
I find that a universal truth for all people is the inevitable suffering that accompanies life. Hinduism labels this maya, the veil of delusion; Buddhism calls it dukkha, unsatisfactoriness or misery; and the Christian teachings termed it original sin, meaning to miss the point (Tolle, 2016, p. 9). Although we have historically caused a majority of our suffering unto ourselves, there is no escaping trying times in day-to-day life. I believe people fundamentally strive to reach their full potential, and choose not to only when imprisoned by conformity and denial of freedom. People seek intimate experiences with genuine people, free of judgement. We want to be seen for everything they are, their true authentic selves.
I view people as an extension of humanity; one unique experience of human consciousness. I believe that each of us is defined, not by our intellectual minds or bodies or emotions, but by the awareness that observes all of the above and more. And therein also lies our greatest potential.
Combs, A. W. (1962). Perceiving, behaving, becoming: a new focus for education. Washington, D.C.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Tolle, E. (2016). A new earth: awakening to your lifes purpose. New York, NY: Plume