“In the nineteenth century the problem was that God is dead. In the twentieth century the problem is that man is dead.” – Erich Fromm

What does it mean to really live? To exist is no great achievement, but to experience a real state of aliveness might well be.

What is aliveness? It is a state of optimal functioning in which you are:

  • Activated and engaged
  • Curious and open
  • Awake and alert
  • Passionate and energised
  • Each moment is filled with a deep sense of meaning, like what you are doing really matters
  • You feel connected to self, others and the world around you
  • You feel a strong sense of purpose and direction, like your life’s work is an important mission that only you can complete
  • There is a sense of authenticity – like you are expressing the truest part of yourself in everything you do
  • You feel grateful and appreciative just for the fact that you are here
  • Your being is suffused with a deep sense of energy and excitement, joy and vitality
  • Life seems like an adventure, or a journey of discovery; You feel optimistic and the world is experienced as being full of possibility

Aliveness is ultimately a feeling of meaning. We feel alive when what we are doing deeply resonates with our nature. There is a subtle joy that comes with this feeling of meaning.

How often in your life do you experience this deep sense of resonance, a feeling like, ‘this is what I was put here to do’, or ‘this is what I am meant to be doing’?

We lament the loss of life of those who die, but how often do we lament the loss of life among the living? The loss of potential? The lack of meaning? ‘Dead’ time is time spent in meaningless activities of distraction and escape, accompanied by feelings of dissatisfaction, boredom and apathy. The meaningful life that is the driving force of aliveness, is one in which we direct our energies into activities that we deem to be most important and lead to the fullest development of our potential.


When do you feel most alive?

What activities fill you with joy?

What activities feel most meaningful in your life?

What proportion of your time is spent on activities which you feel you have very little connection to?

What changes can you make to your life to help eradicate ‘dead’ time and increase meaningful activities?

How can you cultivate states of aliveness?

What activities do you need to do more of? What do you need to do less of?