When I was younger, late high school and especially in college, I identified with Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am.” It was the motto for the Age of Rationalism. It is still often used in today’s postmodernism.
After finding faith, or rather faith found me, I believe that Descartes had it backwards—I am, therefore I think. My thinking, my thoughts and even emotions and such are part of me. They exist because I exists, not the other way around. You could make a case for that is what the original statements says, but either way, it causes one to over-identify ones being with their thoughts (and emotions). I am more than just my thoughts and emotions. (Perhaps over-identification with thoughts as being makes it easier to justify abortion and euthanisia?)
Today, I stumbled upon the title of book about an Eastern Orthodox archimandrite named Elder Sophrony, written by his grand nephew. The title plays off of Descartes famous saying while transmitting the real truth—I love, therefore I am.
I guess you could replace the word love with life and still mean the same thing, but love is a much more powerful word. It alludes to the very nature and essence of God, Being Itself (see 1 John 4:7-8). Love is the very essence of existence and being. Love is not a part of me; I am part of love. Life is not something I have; I am a part of life.
I love, therefore I am. When God whispers, “To be,” God is saying that your being is love; go and be and do what you are.