Human flourishing is easily posited as a goal, but how does that shape our experience?
Grammatically, flourishing is a present participle, implying an ongoing activity. Those we identify as flourishing consistently have a multi-dimensional positive experience, not necessarily in material or external criteria, but in their inner world. Often this inner flourishing sustains them through extremely negative circumstances.
Let’s explore that further. One key ingredient is a sense of meaning that spans all of life. Not just a warm fuzzy feeling that all is well (sometimes it’s not!), but a deep understanding that there is meaning in life that gives perspective to one’s circumstances. This inner sense of meaning is far more stable than feelings, stronger than knowledge and deeper than experience. It’s usually not visible or tangible, but it is powerful in the subconscious.
Meaning can only draw its power from a frame of reference bigger than the individual. Life-changing hope is always based in something or someone greater than myself – call it faith if you like – because hope that is based in my own strength or being (or an image I’ve projected) is just wishful thinking.
This hope or faith leads me to think, choose and act in line with that frame of reference, simultaneously shaping my character and creating purpose in what I do. This flourishing seeps into the community in which I live, empowering others to flourish too.
Let’s discover and deepen this cycle of flourishing in our turbulent times.