I haven't said anything about any sort of essence. People who presuppose a spiritual essence necessarily presuppose some sort of reality in which it abides, with duties attendant to that other realm. It has too much baggage.If there is a spiritual essence to our existence, then there is more to live for than mere 'temporal and physical enjoyment and emotions'. If we are spiritual and live on after death, there is that eternal after-life to consider, and that is more than physical pleasure. If I choose to believe in a god, I certainly won't walk blind into death, having only lived for the here and now, not knowing what will happen next, and not even caring. Right now, I'm not arguing for or against the existence of god or a true religion: my only key statement is that without these, there are no morals or eternal meaning to life. Whether you believe religion is analogous to belief in Santa Claus is irrelevant to the discussion.
I am talking about a meaning without any baggage. If you accept a meaning without baggage, you don't need to consider an afterlife or God or spiritual essence or whatever. You need accept no more.
To accept more is to be deluded because if we were to accept that there is another realm, the problem moves to that new realm. Having crossed over to the afterlife, what will stop us then from wondering about meaning? Nothing will have changed. Neo, having learned about the matrix, would have just the same philosophical questions; they would merely have moved to the new realm.
We would need an infinite hierarchy of meanings, and the only tenable answer to that is that we make them equal, equal to a 'supermeaning' with no baggage.