What does it mean to have an "abundance of life"

by Dawn 4 Replies latest jw friends

  • Dawn

    I posted a question (re: Jesus words at John 10:10) under the research section - it kind of morphed into another question. Someone suggested that I start a new thread - so here goes....

    What does it mean to have an "abundance of life" - as spoken about in John 10:10. I don't believe it applies to a life "in abundance" financially or even through the fun we have, etc. I think it's something more....is it relationships? self acceptance? Here's the background to my question.

    My brother was one of those individuals you would categorize as "full of life". When I would make comments like "some day I'd like to xxxx" my brother's response would be "why are you waiting? Just do it!". He died at 48 - but did more living in 48 years than most people do in a life-time. He had literally traveled the world, was a fireman at one point in his life, a policeman at one point in his life, owned his own business, and even became a commercial deep sea diver. He traveled to Japan, Figi, Indonesia, and numerous other places I can't even remember them all. He lived in California, Hawaii, Texas, Mexico, even owned property in Figi. He had great stories to tell and was the envy of many people.

    However - he was very lonely, and very sad. He did all these great things - but did not have anyone in his life to share them with. He had friends - but not a close family. He was twice divorced, and had strained to no relationships with his adult children. In addition he was very very sick and in constant pain. He had to take daily injections and a high dose of pain killers to keep going. He lived with habitual guilt, pain, and regret.

    I feel sorry for him and I wish his life had been different. So - what really does it mean to have life "in abundance"? I'm thinking it must be something deeper - like a state of mind. Perhaps having life in abundance is reaching a point where you are fulfilled each day - perhaps it's all about relationships....intangible things.

    What are your thoughts?

  • Annanias

    Dawn, thanks...One of the weirdest experiences in my life was when I got to visit Earnest Hemingway's house in Sun Valley, even the bedroom where he stuck the shotgun in his mouth and... I asked the friend I was with,"Why would he do that?" My friend answered, "why not? He probably didn't have anything to live for, hell he'd already done everything there was to do." Pleasant thought, huh? Obviously, if a multi-millionaire with vibrant health, fame, passion, talent, and charisma decides on an early check-out, it kind of makes any definition of "abundant life" hard to pin down, at least, on this planet that is.

    Living is enjoyment. Not hedonism, enjoyment. The problem is, how much enjoyment can you have if it's finite? If you know that tomorrow, you may (or will) be dead due to _________ (fill in the blank), can you really get full or abundant enjoyment out of something today? Sometimes I think I have that brain malady where the receptors can't absorb enough dopamine; and so I can enjoy stuff, but only on a short term, temp basis. I can never get enough. It's like I forget what enjoyment is, or something. Is the last bite of ice cream as enjoyable as the first? The last woman? The last kiss? This particular subject was one of the primary issues that attracted me to the WTBS. Out of all the religions on the earth, here was the one where I wasn't necessesarily going to have to die to get my reward. This was the only one that based the reward on the fact that I would have the one, absolute, no questions asked, most important thing necessesary to enjoyment: life. And an endless supply of it at that.

    So, I guess my answer is: to have an everlasting life.

  • outoftheorg

    I have a theory and it's only that.

    When people are always moving, often to exotic places, hold down many jobs, many with a level of risk, I begin to wonder if they are satisfied. Satisfied with their life or is it themselves? They are not satisfied with?

    I wonder if it is not possible for them to feel satisfied. Is this a type of depression?

    In my way of thinking, I would think that an abundance of life would have to include self satisfaction and being satisfied with our lives and ourselves and others.

    I wonder if those who you described are really troubled by an emotional/mental illness rather than a feeling of not living life to its abundance or having reached a point where it can go no higher.

    At times it seems to me that the mind of a psychologicly healthy person, still tends to magnify the negative thoughts and experience and cast aside the positive thoughts and experiences.

    If anyone figures this out, let me know. OK.


  • bebu

    Hi Dawn,

    I like this kind of question--looks easy, but takes time and experience to start to 'get' it. And each time you answer it, you can answer it differently.

    Life as we tend to want to live it (every whim satisfied) is actually not what abundance is; there is no shortage of depressed wealthy people, as has been pointed out.

    I think abundance has to do with knowing that right now, in this very moment, there is meaning and significance in our life which transcends even the most dire circumstances.

    I believe I am forgiven by God (thru Christ); therefore I feel hope about life. Even though our short lives seem like phantoms dissipating in the air, I think there has been eternal significance bestowed upon them nonetheless.

    I think an abundant life has to do with being comforted and encouraged by the perspective so that life can be appreciated and lived in its entirety. Abundant life could mean not living reactively (in fear, bitterness, remorse, jealousy, despair, etc.), but living with full dignity and hope.


  • JamesThomas

    "Abundance of life" is a phrase that points to the lack of or end of wanting. It does not mean getting more and more, or having a lot of stuff that you now need to worry about and protect.

    When we are really with life, when we are non-judgmentally present and attentive (without mental commentary) with what the universe is presenting at this moment, there can be such a sense of richness that is so overwhelming that there no room left for a concept called "me" who wants, or needs, or suffers.

    It's about honoring Life/Reality more than the continual jabber and antics of mental interpretation, beliefs and emotion.

    Be still.

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