The word “existential” is usually associated with a sense of dread: It refers to a crisis that can potentially destroy us. But such a crisis can also be a defining moment: Adversity can trigger in us the existential courage to come into being who we really are.
In fact, in the archetypal adventure, hitting bottom is the defining moment. This is when the hero becomes fully himself. Clark Kent, facing an overwhelming threat, enters the phone booth and taps into his superpowers.
Think of Clark Kent entering the phone booth as a defining moment that is essentially similar to what happens when we take a mindful pause: This is, for us, the opportunity to get in touch with who we really are as we rise to the occasion
As we pause, we stop running away from the big questions of life. We stop being paralyzed by dread as we mindfully confront questions such as:
What gives you a sense of peace, meaning and purpose in everyday life?
What keeps you going when times are tough?
What gives you the strength to face moments of crisis or despair?
Facing such questions moment by moment, in the course of our life, is very different from reading about them in a philosophy book. They do not feel like abstract questions. They help us get in touch with our felt sense of meaning and purpose.
If these questions are important to you, then consider yourself part of the What Sustains Us project. Think of the project as a virtual community of people who are sharing, not the same answers, but a similar motivation to find the answers that are meaningful to them.