Choose Meaning

‘Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.’

Viktor E. Frankl – ‘Mans search for meaning.’ First published in 1946.

I just re-read Viktor Frankl’s book, ‘Mans search for meaning.’

Reading about the horror and inhumane suffering in the concentration camps is not easy to digest, however, Frankl’s strength and unwavering attitude to find purpose and meaning throughout his three years in hell, was nothing short of incredible and reveals the endurance of the human spirit.

Perhaps we fail to recognise our own indomitable spirit and ability to find meaning throughout life, because we always have a choice whether we face our challenges or suffering, or have a choice to question our daily habits and responses.

Either way, there is always an opportunity to find meaning and purpose in every experience we have.

I’ll leave you with a passage in the book that moved me deeply.

A young woman in the camps who was about to die, had her last conversation with Frankl.

Pointing to the tree through the window of the hut, she said, ‘This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.’

Through the window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the single branch was two blossoms.

‘I often talk to this tree,’ she said.

Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. ‘Yes.’ she said.

‘What did it say?’ I asked.

She answered, ‘It said to me, I am here, I am here, I am life, eternal life.’

20 thoughts on “Choose Meaning

  1. Thank you for this reminder of a book that sits on my shelf. Started years ago, I set it aside. It’s not an easy read and yet, now having read your post, I feel that perhaps it’s time for me to get it off of the shelf and begin again.

    Thank you, Karen. I appreciate this timely post and I appreciate you. 💜🙏🏻

    1. Thank you Carrie. I’m so glad.

      It’s a book we will always learn from, no matter how many times we read it.

      His story inspires and reminds us all of our potential to choose how we respond to life. 🙏🏻💕

  2. A very beautiful post Karen, to go through those terrible things do indeed take us somewhere much deeper within. A place that shows so much beauty in its wisdom, even on an almost bare single branch. Thank you for sharing, it touches that place inside that sometimes needs some perspective ❤️🙏🏽

  3. We talked about Frankl and his writing last night. Finding meaning and purpose in life are essential to live a fuller life. I often wonder if this is what we lack in our busy world.

    1. I agree, it is essential Ivon and perhaps, it’s not because we are busy, but because we have forgotten we can ‘choose’ meaning and purpose in every experience we face.

      Thank you for being here. 🙏🏻😊

  4. Wow, this is a beautiful post, Karen. I haven’t read Frankl in a long time, but just from this post, I am ready to pick it up again. One of those books I think would be wise to read every year. The endurance of the human spirit never does cease to amaze me. Thank you!

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