When Daniel Pink writes about transcendence he calls it MEANING. He identifies it as one of the six competencies for the new world we are creating for ourselves. Whether you call it the Conceptual Age or the Post Materialist Age things are different then they were 20 years ago. Pink refers to the work of Victor Frankl in “Man’s Search for Meaning”, a profound book which I read years ago when my own search for meaning and purpose began. Frankl survived the concentration camps of World War II where many did not. There he learned that no one could take away the feeling of contentment he could raise in himself. He could be happy even for a moment in the memory of a loved one in those unimaginable circumstances. He could find meaning in a desire to live out his purpose and could endure more than others because of his belief that his situation was temporary, that the work that he did in documenting his journey was important for the world to see.

Pink suggests that it is not material wealth but pursuit of spirituality and happiness that lead to fulfillment in life. So in an age of abundance, why can’t we find happiness? That is a question that Pink poses. He identifies the trend toward looking for happiness through the increasing number of book titles and websites aimed at providing the “Answer.” Pink looks to the Dali Lama as an example of pursuit of happiness and spiritual fulfillment. The growth in the audiences who flock to meet with the Dali Lama and the joy that is spread in his presence id another indication to Pink that people are hungry for meaning in their lives. Pink believes that taking spirituality and happiness seriously are two key aspects of being competent in this new age.

I have changed Pinks word for this concept, MEANING, to a word he also used in his chapter on meaning. I like the work Transcendence because it indicates the crossing over to a new way of being that occurs when people realize that wealth has not created happiness for them. A song from my past comes to mind with words like “if that’s all there is my friend, then let’s keep dancing…” Formulae for meaning and happiness abound but finding a place in your own world where you can be happy and purposeful daily takes a shift in thinking and a willingness to make that shift.

How do we learn to transcend the daily grind to find meaning in it, to create purpose for ourselves and to live our lives deliberately, as Victor Frankl did? How can we be content and happy like the Dali Lama? For me the answer is not as important as the question. The question that has always moved me is “What else could you be doing?” or “Where else could you be living?” or “Who else could you be?” Do answer these questions, we need to think and feel and do things differently. We choose. We choose different questions for ourselves. We listen deeply for the answers from within or notice the answers in the outside world more acutely. We develop an acumen for finding joy and purpose all around us. We transcend the mundane world we may exist in now to LIVE on purpose in the world that is right before our eyes, right there in our grasp, right there in our daily experiences.

Love is all around you.