Its absence is haunting. You desire it most when it is least available. During periods of adversity, you yearn to reclaim it. When a loved one is ill or recently deceased, you must walk with grief inside the labyrinth of loss. When you have lost your way in life and cannot reclaim a sense of purpose or meaning, wellbeing becomes a calling to become the person you were meant to be. The desire for wellbeing never leaves you alone. It is an exalted presence in your life.  

Exploring Life is a journey into various frontiers of experience for the purpose of discovering and cultivating wellbeing. 

 The Covid-19 pandemic has forced wellbeing into exile. Mental illness proliferates. We are all suffering in many ways. Uncertainty is our relentless surround. We long to return to a normal that no longer exists; the present moment now a threshold between what once was and what has yet to reveal itself. Still, wellbeing is a life force that cannot be destroyed. We can cultivate it. Nourish it. Dedicate ourselves to it. And in a collective sense, wellbeing might be a foundation for survival in the Anthropocene Epoch.

 This article provides an introduction into the meaning, value, and nature of wellbeing by proposing ways of approaching the core questions: What is wellbeing? Why does it matter? Where do you find it? How do you create it? Rather than propose answers, the responses offer possibilities for further exploration. While Exploring Life will venture into various frontier is of experience, the purpose of every journey is to find ways to cultivate individual, collective, and cosmic wellbeing. 

What is Wellbeing? 

Wellbeing is a creative practice, spiritual presence, guiding principle, exalted belief, practical and useful philosophy, source of wisdom, way of being, deep purpose, unwavering intention, and a habitat for exalted qualities of being. To feel its presence in your life is to feel fully alive, engaged, and invigorated. Wellbeing is the way in which we strive to live a life worth living.

 Wellbeing is a trusted advisor. It is a mentor when confronting fear, anxiety, and despair. To feel the presence of wellbeing in your life is to feel courageous, resilient, and grounded. It is an energy force moving through you inspiring positive action regardless of the circumstances that surround you. Wellbeing focuses your intentions on leaving the world in better condition than you found it. It invites a search for authentic meaning and embodied knowing. Moreover, wellbeing ushers in an age of consilience between humanity and nature. 

 Wellbeing is not a program of instruction, methodology, or curriculum. It has no guru, degree, or certificate. It does not focus on conjuring transient emotional states like happiness. No smile is required. Wellbeing is not found within naïve optimism, empty positivism, or vacuous spiritual programs that haunt self-help. It is not a commodity, corporate enterprise, religious doctrine, or political mandate.  Like the weather, no one can master wellbeing. Moreover, wellbeing is not a self-centered journey into the barren insularity of your own life; that is, wellbeing is a call to contribute to the greater wellbeing of all life everywhere.

Why Does Wellbeing Matter? 

We are living in difficult times. This has always been the case since human beings have not yet learned to play nicely together. However, there are three potent lines of force that pose significant challenges to our survival.

The Covid-19 pandemic has imposed an ominous period of liminality on the world. Everything we experience is imbued with an uncomfortable sensation of uncertainty. An invisible threat has clarified our vulnerability and tested our humanity.

 Culture is in a state of deterioration. Wealth and racial inequity now a virulent disease we are unable, or unwilling, to prevent. Malevolent narcissism plagues our cultural institutions. Truth is under assault, while lies become a weapon for power and influence. Violence replaces dialogue. Genuine cultural development is hard to locate in the world today.

The climate crisis, the symbol of the Anthropocene Epoch, threatens the continuity of human life as we know it. The world is burning, literally and figuratively. The cumulative effects of our collective behavior over the past century are foreboding and irreversible. We are heading into an inferno of transformation that will forever alter the nature of human existence on earth.

Wellbeing is not a panacea, but it offers a way to step on to firm ground and live a positive life during deeply troubled times.

Where Do You Find Wellbeing? 

Exploring life is organized around three domains of wellbeing. The inner life of wellbeing is an intimate, personal, and private domain. It involves a quest to harmonize body, mind, and spirit with the experience of being alive. It is a creative space in which you cultivate meaning, purpose, and intention in life. However, wellbeing is never merely self-centered or self-serving. The purpose of inner wellbeing is to create the necessary internal conditions to thrive in the world around you.

The outer world is the second domain of wellbeing. Your life is a lifelong conversation with the greater flow of life that surrounds you. This is your own unique experiential milieu. In one sense, life is a relentless process of moving through an emergent series of situations and circumstances you have varying degrees of control over. What you choose to do matters. Illbeing reduces you to selfishness, arrogance, and narcissism. Wellbeing inspires you to choose inspired qualities of being, such as gratitude, empathy, and humility. Like art, what you put out into the world will eventually find its way back to you, usually in unexpected ways. The outer world is the creative space in which you contribute to the greater good. 

The third domain of wellbeing is the cosmic realm. It is here we inhabit the great questions: Why are you here? What are you supposed to do? How should you do it? Where is your deepest source of belonging? Many people choose religion and choose faith as their guide. Others embrace a spiritual approach that leans into the cosmic realm through direct first-hand experience. Some choose to avoid or ignore them. But the great questions of being never leave you alone. They cannot be answered with precision and certainty, even though some propose just that. In the cosmic realm of wellbeing, you must inhabit the great questions on their own terms and engage your own faculties of understanding to honor them.  

The three domains of wellbeing are interconnected perspectives. The benefit is the creation of a particular vantage point to explore wellbeing. In practice, however, they are inseparable. What happens in one domain resonates and influence the energy in the other two. Your inner life, the outer world around you, and the cosmic realm are deeply interrelated. In fact, they are inseparable.

How Do You Create Wellbeing? 

You are born into the world through circumstances beyond your control. You inherit a family and a lifestyle you could not choose. You begin life in a context not of your own making. And you must find a way to move through a unique confluence of situations and circumstances that eventually coalesce into your own unique story of being here. The only areas of your life you can exercise control over are your thoughts, reactions, and intentions. Beyond this, your life is a conversation between what you can and cannot control. And then the final threshold.

Wellbeing is created through dedicated creative practice. You may possess knowledge about wellbeing, but all knowledge remains inert until it is tested inside lived experience. Wellbeing is an embodied approach to knowledge, understanding, and perceiving. It can be described through writing, but it is not discovered there. It can be taught in a program of study, but it is not learned there. It can be felt as a pleasant state of being, but emotions are always transient.  You must work creatively with the vagaries of your own experiences in life to feel the genuine presence of wellbeing moving through you.

In a deep sense, wellbeing is a lifelong and lifewide creative endeavor. It demands the courage to turn into the full force of your own life and create something good, meaningful, and valuable from it. It asks you to abandon self-criticism, illusion, and perfectionism so you can see who you really are. Wellbeing is a way to thrive inside the great mystery; that is, that there is something rather than nothing at all.