In my early 20′s, I almost became a nihilist. An existential nihilist to be exact, which argues “life is without meaning.”
I based my belief on the reality I saw around me (or at least on the news): war, violence, and death was everywhere. In the face of such suffering, I couldn’t understand why anything “mattered.” The only logical explanation was that the universe had no purpose.
I quickly realized this mentality was a deep, dark hole, and decided to continue exploring other beliefs on the nature of existence.
Now, looking back 8 years later, I realize it would have been interesting to chronicle my worldview at that time. Like a spiritual diary, I would have been able to study where I came from, and better understand my personal evolution.
Recently, I came across 20 questions that eloquently serve this purpose. Featured in the 2005 documentary film One, these questions were posed to various spiritual leaders of today: from Deepak Chopra, to Ram Dass, to the Dalai Lama.
I realized answering these questions myself would provide a snapshot of my beliefs today. And if I did the exercise again in 5 years, 10 years, 25 years… who knows the insight these polaroids will provide?
If you, dear reader, would like to join me, here’s how:
Copy and paste the questions below into a blank document or blog post. Answer each question with as much detail as you like, then publish your answers on your personal blog.
Leave a comment below with a link to your post.
20 Questions For Every Spiritual Seeker
1. Why is there poverty and suffering in the world?
2. What is the relationship between science and religion?
3. Why are so many people depressed?
4. What are we all so afraid of?
5. When is war justifiable?
6. How would God want us to respond to aggression and terrorism?
7. How does one obtain true peace?
8. What does it mean to live in the present moment?
9. What is our greatest distraction?
10. Is current religion serving its purpose?
11. What happens to you after you die?
12. Describe heaven and how to get there.
13. What is the meaning of life?
14. Describe God.
15. What is the greatest quality humans possess?
16. What is it that prevents people from living to their full potential?
17. Noverbally, by motion or gesture only, act out what you believe to be the current condition of the world.
18. What is your one wish for the world?
19. What is wisdom and how do we gain it?
20. Are we all one?
Remember, post a link to your answers in the comments below!
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Ian MacKenzie is the founder and former editor of Brave New Traveler. He is Head of Video at Matador Network. Ian is also an independent filmmaker, with his first feature (One Week Job) released in 2010. His more recent projects include Sacred Economics and Occupy Love.
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