Purpose of Life

From our e-book “We are Here to Celebrate”

What is the purpose of our lives? Some of us may have very lofty answers which involves some kind of achievement to make a name for ourselves. But really, the answer to the question is very simple. The purpose of life is to be happy…NOW.

Happiness lies within us. We easily feel it when we remain aware in the present moment. The ego looks for happiness externally because it knows no other way. All of us have different formulas for happiness.  Some is wealth and only wealth. For some, it’s a combination of wealth, good looks, friendship and so on. We try various formulas but cannot seem to find the right one. Eventually, we realize that there is no right formula because happiness depends on our consciousness.

When we stop identifying with our ego, we begin to rest in our own true nature; inner-peace, happiness and love.

man having a phone call in front of a laptop

Danny’s view is that happiness is a combination of wealth, relationships, health and entertainment. He grew up in a well to do family and as such, like most of us, held on to the belief that wealth is critical for our happiness. He graduated as a top student from his
university and started work in a large organisation with big goals for himself. To him, happiness is a future event. It is something he will one day achieve when he accomplishes all the goals he set for himself. For now, his life is filled with long working hours and stress. He accepted this as a necessary part of life and thinks that the people who are unwilling to sacrifice for their future are just plain lazy. He has a simple conclusion, if one is poor, than one must have been unwilling to work hard in the past.

These beliefs stayed firmly with him until one day, the Divine decided that it is time to shake this belief of his; in a compassionate way. His perceptions started to change when he met his parent in-laws. They were poor but they were much happier than his parents. Everywhere they went, they made friends easily and everyone seems to light up in their presence. They do not own much but do not seem to crave for anything. Living simply was a natural way of life for them. They lived the life that our Spiritual Masters teach us to do and yet, they do not read many spiritual books or attend spiritual talks.

They are living examples to Danny of what happiness is all about. Happiness is about being selfless, loving and kind. Happiness is not a future event. Happiness is to be experience every moment; in the present. Danny realised that REAL spiritual practice is not the yoga postures and meditation techniques he has learned in an effort to reduce stress; but it is about how he lives his life.

Once I read a book on the Vietnam war. The author who wrote the book had 70% of his body burnt from a bomb explosion when he was a boy. The boy eventually became a monk and he walked around the world with his bare feet for the sake of world peace. That book made me think if all my ‘problems’ are really worth my worrying. We live in a peaceful country, are free to choose our own religion, have clothes to wear and enough to eat. We are free from physical suffering but are burdened by mental suffering.

This world of duality is filled with inconsistencies. The world teaches us that we need wealth in order to feel secure and happy and so we struggle to accumulate wealth. We forgo our current happiness for the sake of an imaginary future happiness, which for most people will never arrive.

What is this ‘imaginary future happiness’ that I am talking about? Well, if we picture ourselves in the future, staying in a big house with an expensive car parked in the garage; that is imaginary. We may see ourselves bubbling with joy in the future, but in the present moment, we are suffering from craving. Not only that, we may place ourselves in difficult situations in the present to achieve that ‘imaginary future happiness’.

We believe that wealth can give us security but as we accumulate more wealth, the more we are afraid of crime against us. A penniless monk can walk anywhere without fear or insecurity. We strive for power so that we are respected but we choose to ignore the jealousy that others wish for our downfall. What a funny world this is. When we lose our job, we see the lost income but ignore the new freedom and opportunities we now have.

The habits that we have!

Were we always like this? When did we start forgetting that the most important time to be happy is the present moment? When did we start to confuse our imagined future happiness with our current happiness?

But, fortunately, we are divine. The divine will never forget us even if we have forgotten Him. Whenever suffering arises, He shines out to remind us that He is forever with us; that we are all One. He brings strangers to help us so that we can experience unconditional love and kindness. Those who never thought of themselves as compassionate people suddenly give all their strength to help others whenever there is a catastrophe. Then we realize that happiness has always been built into us. We don’t need anything to be happy. We are love, happiness and bliss.

We crave for wealth, power and worldly things because we want to be special. We want those things that can draw attention to us because the ego lives in separation and wants to be special. The need to be ‘special’ keeps us attached to the ego. We tell ourselves that when we achieve our dreams, we will be happy. How far are we from the truth! Our cravings grow with bigger goals! Seeking happiness by imputing happiness on externals is illusory. Happiness comes from within.

External things cannot guarantee happiness. Something that brings joy to a person may bring fear to another, for example some people love cats and some people are just terrified of them. Therefore, whether an object brings joy or suffering depends on our perceptions. Our perceptions are in essence, our thoughts. True happiness, one that is not based on delusion comes from making one’s mind still and looking inside to see what one truly is. The excitements that we chase after are mere distractions from our inner-suffering of separation which we refuse to acknowledge. Because we deny it, we do not know that we are actually suffering.

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