Confront "The Big Questions." Head-On.
We all have to answer The Big Questions, one way or another.
It’s like the story of the Sphinx who poses a riddle to the hero, or the Troll the hero has to confront in order to cross the bridge.
Life is the Sphinx/Troll/Gatekeeper that poses The Big Questions (riddles) to us. In order for us to cross the bridge or life, we have to answer them, however we can.
(Even something as simple as eating a sandwich, in a way, requires an answer. What’s going on? I need to eat. How should I live? At the moment, by eating this sandwich. Who am I? Among other things, an eater. And so on.)
Some answers are better than others.
Our answers to The Big Questions becomes our “core narrative.”
So your “core narrative” is the story you tell yourself that either directly or indirectly contains your current answers to the Big Questions.
We form our “core narratives” as we go through life. We might do it by accident, making stuff up, blundering and bluffing our way through, kludging together whatever makeshift pastiche we can in the moment…or, we do it deliberately, consciously, carefully, artfully, even beautifully. Or something in between.
Either way, it’s a big deal.
Our core narrative is what helps us navigate the rocky and treacherous terrain of life.
What “terrain,” exactly?
Well, it might look something like this:
We’re searching for happiness in a world full of suffering.
We’re searching for love in a world that doesn’t seem to give a crap about us.
We’re searching for meaning in a meaningless world.
We’re searching for something authentic in a world full of phonies.
We’re searching for sanity in a world that seems intent on driving us crazy.
We’re searching for clarity in a world full of confusion.
We’re searching for intimacy in a world where everyone is ultimately separate and alone.
We’re struggling desperately to survive in a world where one of the few certainties we have is that we ultimately won’t.
We’re searching for our unique place in the world – a world which, for some reason, seems determined to hammer us into something – anything – else.
Now, maybe you don’t necessarily believe that the world is actually, literally meaningless, full of suffering, trying to drive you crazy on purpose, etc.
Still, it seems to be the case that, however you slice it, we’re in a pretty tough spot.
Being in this “tough spot” is a problem.
It’s a problem that requires an answer from us. We have no choice but to answer. (Even choosing not to choice is still a choice.)
So we have to come up with answers, the best we can.
But coming up with great answers isn’t easy.
Next we’ll take a look at a few common answers.
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