The Journey We Must Take

In Belonging, Season 3 by Charis Oladimeji

What is the meaning of life? What is your purpose in this world? How do we acquire true happiness? We would all love to know the answer to these questions, but it isn’t that easy. We know that some of our basic needs as humans are to be whole spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. This is evident through our exploration of religion, therapy, psychology, and killing ourselves at the gym every week. We attempt to achieve such wholeness through journeys. Journeys that will take us away from life as we know it and broaden our understanding of life. I want you to think about how you would personally go about attempting to answer any one of the earlier-mentioned questions. “Do we have free will?”, would you put your parents/creator to the test and find out? “Is God real”, would you pray and experience it firsthand or travel to Israel to research? Answering any of these questions we’ve often asked ourselves before requires a journey. It is a detachment from what we know as home or ordinary to find our eternal home and/or essence. We long to find out who we truly are at our core. Home is more than a country of origin, a zip code, or a dear friend’s house; some may even describe the home as “where the heart is”.

So, why in the world do we want to know what the meaning of life is, and how do we even answer such a loaded question? Well, I’m only human, and I can’t answer this question either, but let’s face it, life can be confusing and overwhelming at times. Sometimes, we just need to step away from our daily routine and take a break to reflect on who we are, what we want, and where we’re going. Plus, who doesn’t love a good adventure? This journey—exploring new places, meeting new people, and trying new things—is all part of the thrill! This exciting side of self-discovery, the glorified, glamorized and encouraged side, is awesome. On the other hand, the hard-hitting journey many of us keep locked away in the dusty closet of our subconscious mind, surrounded by our childhood trauma, is the journey we are forced to take as a result of our experiences. As my Caribbean friends always say, “Those who don’t hear must feel”.

For most of us, we just woke up one day around ages 4-6 and, as we call it, “gained consciousness”. It’s the moment you realized you were a human being living, breathing, and experiencing life. Obviously, we were aware of it before, but many of us didn’t truly understand it. It’s also the moment you become aware of your behavior and who you are at your core. Oddly enough, I don’t think I “gained consciousness” until I was around 13 years old. I was probably the least self-aware child, living in my own world with my head in the clouds at all times. Going through some family hardships pulled me back down to earth in the blink of an eye. I was forced to grow up and fill some big shoes in my household. I was going through something that many people deal with daily, but I felt alone, convinced nobody could possibly understand me. With this, I was forced to face my own behaviors, feelings, and spirituality. Spiritual solitude is a huge component of this forced path to self-evolution. When you’re evolving, regardless of whether you want to or not, you have to accept it. It’ll come to a point where people don’t relate to you anymore, and you must be okay with that; it’s all a part of the journey to discovery. The people and things you used to share your time with (parties, friends, partners) won’t relate to you anymore. Embrace that solitude.

In my personal walk, I rediscovered everything I thought I knew about Christ. I learned that even though the church didn’t necessarily scar me like it has many others, it did program me with a non-Christ-like way of viewing the world. I recognized that, even though I wasn’t a bad person, I wasn’t doing much to be a very good one either. I was selfish and ignorant of the world around me. I required an inward journey to self-discovery, and trust me, it wasn’t easy. My personal dealings with journeys make me appreciate them all the more, no matter how rough. Going on journeys, internal or external, is essential to growing mentally and spiritually; it teaches us to be less ignorant and become overall better human beings.

Honestly, I don’t think science will ever definitively answer what the true meaning of life is or the perfect formula for true happiness, because regardless of how many proven studies are produced, we will always have the desire to experience and learn from said experience. We long to learn the mystery within the parts of ourselves hidden from the world; we have an innate curiosity to explore and learn and always will. So, I ask you today to take a break from the demanding motions of life and think: What journey are you on?

You might be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.