“Ultimately, no human being can find genuine meaning in her life merely by accepting the meaning handed down from those who have gone before. Personal meaning must be created, not accepted, and the process of creating it requires testing and experimentation. A false self will neither test nor experiment; it is a defense against experimenting.” James F. Masterson, M.D. The Search for the Real Self
How do you make meaning of your more significant experiences? How do you interpret a synchronistic encounter for example? How do you make meaning of the creative tension in your life? How do you make sense of the difficulties or times of darkness? Since our experiences occur within the context of our life it is essential that each of us be our own meaning maker.
So often this ability to make meaning of spiritual or mystical experiences, difficulty or significant encounters is stolen from us. Academic institutions focus on teaching our children what to think rather than how to think. Medical systems discourage you from listening to your intuition. Religious institutions often push doctrine and discourage followers from interpreting their own experiences. Many will use fear to control devotees. Those in the psychological fields will too often interpret and diagnosis according to their education and set view, thus obscuring their client’s ability to grasp truth for themselves.
By letting others dictate the meaning of our experiences we lose an opportunity to learn and integrate spiritual and psychological occurrences for ourselves. Then we may miss an opportunity to write a great poem or story, or create something new because we are not feeling the discomfort and vulnerability of being our own meaning maker.
Instead, we could stay in the center of our experience and live with the creative tension and questions that it can bring forth in us. We can then interpret the experience within the context of our inner and outer life. (Rather than from the framework of someone else’s mindset.) To answer the big questions we need to hold an open conversation with all of life.
We can trust ourselves.
To create the desired movement in our life we must find our own capacity to import meaning from our experiences. We then continue to step through the threshold of familiarity and take the next step on our quest into the Unknown. Not making our own meaning would be like finding a treasure map but not actually taking the adventure to discover the treasure. The treasure is right there, on the map, in your hands.
“In Lakota framework everyone is a meaning-maker, everyone must make sense of his or her experience. Woableza has been translated as “realization.” It has always seemed to me that this word acknowledges that each person has a capacity to make meaning; that understanding is very personal, is timed by him or her, and is not predictable; and for woableza to exist, a change in the person should take place.” – Gerald Mohatt, The Price of A Gift
My book, Wheel of Initiation is available now through the publisher! ENter the Wheel and become your own Meaning Maker. . .