Monty Python's movie did not quite get to the bottom of this question, did it?
Well, let me have a whack at it...
First the thought occurs to me that the reason "meaning" eludes so many people is that we are altogether too complicated. Remember that book that came out a few years back enitled "Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten"? Well there is much truth in that little book. The central lessons in life are really very simple. Play fair. Be nice. To name but two.
I mean did not Jesus say "you must be like a child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven"? Why is that? What secret do the children have? Well, in a word, they keep it simple. Simplicity is the secret people!
Along these lines I was thinking about the "simple" children's song: Row, row, row your boat.
Consider these lines:
Row, row, row your boat
gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but dream.
Now each line it seem's to me has a very central lesson, and when all four "line lessons" are put together they make an entirely fine philosphy of life.
Line one means: Attend to the task that life has given you.
Line two: Relax, don't force things so much, take it easy!
Three: Have fun, be happy.
Four: Nothing is permanent, life is passing, so don't get hung up on the details. They will change.
There. Feel better now? Good. Now go and take nap!