The Purpose Of Life

Flowers in A Cordoba Patio

Photo: Flowers in a patio courtyard in Cordoba, Spain

Yesterday I was zooming back from Cordoba on the AVE High Speed Train, when once again one of the BIG Questions popped into my head: What’s the meaning of all this? What’s the purpose of life?

I thought about the wisest person I’d ever known, and what he’d say if I asked him, and then I thought, “…but hang on, it doesn’t matter what other people think, in the end, you have to work this out for yourself!”

I looked out of the window and saw the sun setting over Spain’s quiet, arid mountains, and a conversation popped into my head, between me and my inner-wise-person (we’ve all got one!) It went like this:

Me: What’s the meaning of life?

Wise Person: The sun goes up, the sun goes down.

Me: Hmmm. I thought you’d say something all Zen like that. But what’s the purpose of life?

Wise Person: The sun goes up, the sun goes down.

Me: Yessssss…?

Wise Person: Pay attention to that, and to what happens in between.

Me: Anything else?

Wise Person: And enjoy it.

Me: Anything else?

Wise Person: Help others enjoy it too.

…and that seemed to perfectly answer my BIG question. Watch, or better, really see life unfold, pay attention to what’s going on around me (live in the present!), and enjoy it. Then help others enjoy it all too. Does it need to be any more complicated than that?

Ask your inner-wise-person what he/she thinks. (And let me know!)

4 thoughts on “The Purpose Of Life

  1. I am not a player of sports, unless you count swinging madly at tennis balls and hoping they go in a generally straight trajectory. But here’s a sports comparison.

    To do well in a match, most of us have to put in a lot of practice beforehand. In our minds, we separate “practice” from “competition.” But it is the same court and racquet. The difference is our perception of how important each moment is, or isn’t.

    How easily time slips by on beautiful days! Being somewhat of a hypochondriac, my perception is significantly altered on days when I am at home sick or am obsessively worrying over this or that. Time creeps. It feels upsettingly finite.

    Practicing awareness on beautiful days helps me prepare for those tough days when my worries want to take over. Thanks Ben for reminding us that they are all days: the sun goes up; it goes down.


  2. Speaking of good books (okay, we weren’t), you’ve mentioned Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Have you read/seen the 1970s’ classic by Frederick Franck titled Zen of Seeing? It’s great.


    1. Yes, I’ve seen it and I own it and I love it! It’s my favourite drawing book! I must add it to the inspiration page at


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