As Frankl said there is great therapeutic value in seeing life as a task.
The tasks of dis-ease can be broken into four main categories: processing, rediscovery, consciousness and being-in-relationship.
Processing meaning taking all the shells and pits of the dis-ease and putting them through the processor of understanding physical and emotional root causes. It means expressing anger and letting go of anger, feeling regret for mistakes made and taking corrective measures. There is a path through journaling, through forgiveness, and sometimes confrontation and assertiveness. There’s a need to make peace with others and with one’s self. There’s a need to take action to take health into one’s own hands. Throughout, there is a need for deep introspection, evaluation and a reordering of one’s life.
Rediscovery of life is a look with dereflection away from the dis-ease and towards what is of value in life. It means carrying on with life in spite of the dis-ease and beyond carrying on to enliven life more than ever before. Do what you’ve always wanted to do. What do you want your life to be like? Do what makes your heart sing. Rediscover your life.
Consciousness is about discovering meaning within and through and despite the dis-ease. It means making the prognosis into a turning point for starting life anew. It means taking the consciousness of dis-ease and putting it under an x-ray so that you see a new spiritual dimension there, whether it’s awareness of the fragility of life or the beauty of life or the many subtle perspectives and frames that dis-ease evokes in you. On the surface of life only strict judgment is seen. Beneath the surface is sweetening of the judgment.
Being-in-relationship refers to all of one’s relationships. This includes the quieting of meditation, the reexamination of our relationship with our Maker through prayer and a heightened awareness of our mission and particular journey towards that mission. It also includes heightened receptivity in receiving help from others in a way of appreciating and acknowledging their love.
Someone recently pointed me to a video clip of a teacher saying the purpose of existence is pleasure, and he questioned the soundness of this from a logotherapeutic standpoint. It seems to me that the speaker in the video was taking something everyone thinks they want and giving it legitimization. Reading between the lines, I was hearing: “Do You want pleasure? Well guess what? That’s the whole purpose of life.”
I believe there is some truth to this in a certain sense. Since any act of pure giving is an act of love, the meaning of receiving pleasure aside from the feeling of pleasure is the feeling and awareness of receiving love. We need to know that we are unconditionally loved. Pleasure or happiness is a result of fulfilling meaning, and meaning encompasses many things, including acknowledging that we are loved and being loving to others.
Alternatively we can say that God’s purpose of creation is to give pleasure. That does not make receiving pleasure our Raison d’être. Rather, the purpose of life is to emulate God in giving, and one cannot be giving and loving to others without also being giving and loving to one’s self.