Finding meaning in life

People often search for meaning in life. Many find the answer by being a member of a religious or spiritual group. Some find meaning by being active in a cause (e.g. ‘save the whales’, women’s refuge, helping the homeless or volunteerism). For many of us, we find meaning in life by devotion to our families. Finding and fostering our own meaning enriches our existence. When we discover a way of doing this, it helps us to focus on the bigger picture, rather than on our everyday routine. The ability to do this is an important factor in building resilience and finding happiness.

The following audio files look at finding meaning in life from a variety of different perspectives:


Finding meaning through religion

Throughout the centuries, religion has provided men and women a deep source of meaning in their day to day existence. In addition, religion has offered hope for something bigger and better after this life. Though the authors of the site and the university do not promote a particular religion, we are aware of the importance of religion for many people. The following audio files are talks given by some representatives of different religious groups in New Zealand who were willing to contribute to the site. They will tackle issues on how to achieve meaning as well as dealing with life’s difficulties. We regret that not all religions are covered as we do not have the resources to do so.

Use the media controllers to play the audio files, or download them to your computer. If you don't see the media controllers, please visit the computer requirements page for more info.

Presbyterian Church

Anglican Church
Benjamin Brock-Smith
Anglican Youth Ministries, Anglican Diocese of Auckland [00:14:38]
http://www.aym.org.nz

Catholic Church

Hindu
Bramhachari Adarsh Chaitanya [00:19:06]
http://www.chinmaya.org.nz

Islam
Dr Mustafa Farouk
Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand [00:16:03]
fianz@xtra.co.nz
http://www.fianz.co.nz

Buddhist
Tejopala of the Western Buddhist Order [00:34:23]
http://aucklandbuddhistcentre.org
http://www.fwbo.org

Download the audio files

These audio files are available for download as a single zip file from the Downloads page.

Finding meaning after adversity

John Bramblitt’s story won the You Tube award for most inspirational video in 2007. Listen to his story in finding meaning after tragedy.

Use the media controller to play the audio file, or download it to your computer. If you don't see the media controller, please visit the computer requirements page for more info.

[00:18:38]

Additional links

http://www.bramblitt.net/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P84bfFpVWE

Finding meaning in our day to day lives

To have meaning in life is to accept a set of explanations that make sense of your experiences and feelings and give your life a degree of coherence or sense of purpose. This can take many forms and usually involves the recognition of your life as part of some larger network of relationships - part of something bigger such as a cause, a movement, a family - something beyond your individual self. It is about the purpose or worth of your life, and perceptions of your worthiness. Acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm are vital components of lives with meaning, worth and value.

Use the media controller to play the audio file, or download it to your computer. If you don't see the media controller, please visit the computer requirements page for more info.

[00:14:20]

Prof Roger Booth (rj.booth@auckland.ac.nz) is Associate Professor of Immunology and Health Psychology. He teaches about and conducts research into human mind and body relationships. He is particularly interested in how people generate meaning out of events in their lives and how this process affects emotional and physical health and well-being.