Last weekend I was on a big event, part of the promotion team for my friend’s business. The whole day we promoted the company and what it stands for; we talked with all sorts of people, trying to find out what was important to them and showing them how we could aid them in achieving this. We wrote down many an email address, explained courses and had interesting, sometimes really special, conversations. In short: we shared what we believed in!
During the day, we saw different demo’s being given right in front of our promotion stand and during breaks we could walk around and have a look what other people wanted to share with the world. Walking around like this, attending demo’s at different parts of the venue, one thing became crystal clear to me: I, we as a team, was/were not the only one passionate about their company, believing in their business. I was one of many others, all trying to work towards ‘a better world’, though all having quite different views of what ‘a better world’ constitutes of.
That got me thinking: what if I hadn’t met my friend? What if I had never known of her company and never learned of what she does? I might have met one of the other people present at the event and have become part of their vision and their company, even though I am certain I would not want to now. I might have believed in something completely different, even something that contradicts what I believe in now.
Perhaps it is not of great value to consider these ‘what if’s’ to great lengths, but they do raise an interesting point. As humans we can make something outside ourselves really important, to the point that we perceive it as our mission to spread or fulfill that vision, idea, teaching etc. We have the incredibly gift of giving meaning to something that does not have meaning of itself; or even to attach greater value to this version than to that version of the same thought, while in essence the value of either version may be neutral. We can take something and make it into more than it is and then release it into the world to follow and cherish it.
Does that make our ideas, teachings and visions pointless or useless? I don’t think so. Because it has meaning to us and will therefore stay valuable, no matter what other people do and no matter the process of how this something became so valuable to us. However, I think it raises the point of how we also can never say that somebody else’s idea, work, teaching etc., is meaningless. It just can’t be when it has so much value for that other person or group. What we might try to express is that this other thing has no meaning to us, but that does not affect what it could do with other people.
We can give meaning to something or take it away and it might not even matter what the thing is we give meaning to. In the end: it is the meaning itself that allows our lives to feel useful and purposeful. Meaning is in the eye of the beholder, though it’s effects are felt world-wide.