Definitions are turning out to be much more influential in life than I previously thought. In my previous postings on definitions I said that life if fundamentally devoid of meaning and that it is us who give meaning to it. I am starting to become aware of how automatically and unconsciously I have been applying meaning to all aspects of my life, sometimes to my detriment.
So, what do I mean by automatic and unconscious definitions? To illustrate, I’ll use a common part of everybody’s life, a chair. Now, most everybody knows what a chair is and that it is useful for us to sit in. However, if it were not for our definition of a chair we may not interact with it in that way at all. A person who has no definition of what a chair is might do some “weird” things with it, until they are taught to buy into the definition the rest of us have of the chair. Once again, like with anything in life, the definition of the chair is not built into it and the usefulness of it is not found in it alone. What I mean by that last part is if a person wants to sit, they do not have to use a chair, but could use something else as a substitute.
Now, I have been taking a look at everything in my life with a new mentality of neutrality to see how often I apply definitions automatically. My focus in this exercise has been on the parts of my life that I am particularly not happy with. I have found that I have unconsciously applied definitions that I do not prefer to these otherwise neutral objects and situations. Once I find out what those definitions are, I then have been replacing them with a definition I do prefer. This then creates a new way for me to interact with those aspects of my life.
The most significant aspect of my life that I have done this with is money. I found that I was applying the definition of abundance only to money. My definition was very narrow, similar to how a person may define a chair as the only place they can sit in. If a person did that, they may find their life to be uncomfortable and restrictive in some ways. I have found the same effect in my life, only with money instead. So now I have chosen to see money as a neutral symbol that I can choose to apply the definition of abundance to when I have the opportunity to use it. However if I don’t have it, I will broaden my definition of abundance to anything that allows me to do what I need to do. Why would I do this? Because I now know that everything in life is neutral and that I have the power to give it whatever meaning I want and essentially create my experience of it.
Now, I also want to get into the actual creation of things and how their creation relates to definitions as well. Everything that is man made is fundamentally based on a concept in someone’s imagination. Everything is a neutral symbol that we use to represent a non-physical idea. Using the example of a chair again, if a person wants to experience the idea of comfort, they can create a soft padded chair to sit in. The design of the chair first exists in the person’s imagination and then is constructed based on the this design. Then, it is usually used based on the definition the creator had of it when they designed it. However, I cannot emphasize enough the power we have in choosing whether to define the creation in the same way as him/her or in our own way. How we define it will determine our emotional reaction to it, how we interact with it and crucially the effect it has on our life.
A chair might not be the most significant part of life so it doesn’t really matter how we define it. However, there are many aspects that affect people very negatively, solely based on their definitions. The perfect example I see now is the uproar around the world over job losses. A job by itself has no meaning whatsoever. But we have bought into others’ definitions that say that having a job is the only way to support yourself in life. Then, a neutral situation of not having a “job” (even the definition of a job is not inherent in the action of going to “work”. It is still within our power to define that as well) is created to have a negative effect in people’s lives. There are many examples where people apply positive meaning to not having a job and create a positive effect to essentially the same situation.
In conclusion, what am I getting at here? Choose your own definitions of your life. Don’t automatically buy into others’ definitions unless you actually prefer to and they make you happy. Take conscious action and create interaction in your life based on your preferred definitions and state of being.