Meaning Matters

A Jones-Harrison/Continuum Center partnership:

Creating practical applications of research that Meaning (as a transcendent non-material value of deep connection and sense of belonging), is missing in our current models of aging and a fully human life (at any age).

In our model of New Aging *Whole Living*Meaningful Life, the nature of human consciousness has many dimensions beyond just the physical/chemical brain. These new dimensions provide access to fuller human capacities, most importantly, interconnectedness.

Interconnectedness is at the heart of Meaning; feeling part of something that transcends physical boundaries and barriers. We want society to recognize that we need to connect.We believe that meaning is powerful medicine.

We present a research-based view of a universe in which everyone is a very meaningful part…valued for who they are and all they have to offer, and we invite partners to join in the exploration of the central and transcendent role of meaning in all of life…and even in death.

Our optimism is based in a growing awareness that we do not exist as separate isolated personalities, but we are interconnected and continuous in ways science has only recently begun to investigate. There is now a convergence of science, time-honored cultural wisdom, and many great faith traditions, which describes a universe much more like a responsive or reflective mirror than the indifferent, machine-like universe of our mechanistic paradigm.

A growing number of youth, almost as an evolutionary advancement, need meaning and self- expression, the kind that brings people together in ways that honor differences.   An increasing number of elderly are entering nursing homes feeling like they are a burden and warehoused with no sense of purpose or value to their life, needing meaningful connection. Employee disengagement is at all-time highs.

We believe that meaning is more powerful than medication or purely material measures, and that relationships which cultivate the non-material values of our shared humanity, can lift the human spirit to new dimensions of well-being. At any age. Meaning Matters.

Meaning Matters is a project of Jones-Harrison , the longest-running elder care facility in MN (founded in 1888), and Continuum Center , which was founded in 1979 to explore consciousness, human capacity and the interconnectedness of life for personal, professional and planetary transformation.

In the spirit of New Aging*Whole Living*Meaningful Life, Continuum Center and Jones-Harrison are launching Meaning Matters (MM), to integrate meaning into our perceptions and experiences of aging/whole living. Our efforts are based on the conviction that we need to feel a sense of valued (non-monetary) connectedness in order to experience meaning.

At this time, Meaning Matters has various initiatives under development and the first to formally launch is the MM library and resource center which hosts a weekly discussion group at Jones-Harrison, and other special speaker events for the residents and community.

Meaning Matters: Library and Resource Center:  

A physical and virtual resource center for anyone of any age seeking to ask big questions, more fully develop internal capacities for whole and meaningful living throughout the continuum of life, and explore what science now says about what might continue beyond our 3 dimensions. The Meaning Matters Library will carry books that address how leading-edge science and time-honored cultural teachings are starting a new conversation about New Aging*Whole Living*Meaningful Life. In addition to books, the MM Library will provide access to an online trove of research and links to relevant youtube videos, also space for self-study and regularly scheduled group discussions.

The old conversation is that we live in a machine-like universe, made up of separate physical parts and pieces. The pieces can get isolated, feel unconnected, break down, die, end of story. There is no transcendent meaning in the universe separate from what you choose to value. It is an indifferent universe, aging isn’t pretty.

The new conversation – coming from quantum physics, neuroscience, biochemistry, biology, mathematics, cosmology and time-honored multi-cultural teachings – is that we are fundamentally interconnected, and that there are transcendent, meaning-rich, continuous aspects of all of us and all of Life, including death. And aging can have a new vitality from a new mindset. What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set? –…/what-if-age-is-nothing-but-a-mind-set.html Oct 22, 2014 · Ellen Langer’s experiments have shown that mental attitudes might reverse some ravages of old age. Now she wants to test that same radical principle on …

Based on this growing awareness we want to engage the residents of Jones-Harrison, and the larger community (of all ages), in a new exploration of consciousness and brain/mind capacity, the continuum of life and the meaningfulness of death and dying.

The MM Library hosts weekly discussion groups on Wednesdays, and also presents special speakers and videos.

The online site will provide access to research, teachings and writings, articles and excerpts, links and discussion groups that can help users develop an optimistic sense of themselves and the future – whatever it holds, including death. Optimism and a sense of connection and meaning is the antidote to the feelings of anxiety, depression, alienation, hopelessness, and helplessness that are epidemic in society today, old and young.

The Meaning Matters Library hosts weekly discussion groups at Jones-Harrison, Wednesdays 2-3:30.

Elder Friending – sign up for a year-long meaning-mining expedition with an elder resident at Jones-Harrison, who would delight in building and sharing a connection with you, as you will undoubtedly be opened up in whole new ways yourself. Interested? Email us:

Support youth volunteers – Want to give a weekly ride to a youth volunteer coming to J-H after school?  If you are seeking a way to help and to make new one-on-one connections yourself, please sign up for Weekly Wheels. Make one-on-one meaningful connections.

Meaning Matters Library Staffed Wednesdays 1-5pm. Discussion 2-3:30. Open to the community.  Browse, read, discuss books and ideas about human capacity,  the continuity and interconnectedness of life.  Check out classics and cutting-edge new research in books and on video.