I have a secret answer to a question that has baffled humanity since the beginning of time.
Question: What is the purpose of life?
Answer: The purpose of life is living.
It’s not as easy as it sounds. In fact, it can take quite a while to get it right. Some of us can figure it out over the course of a single lifetime. For the rest of us, it takes even longer. The following insights have been practiced by numerous evolved souls throughout history. They are tools to help master the art of living; the necessary foundation to living a happy life.
- Know Thyself
The first step in the art of living is figuring out who the heck you are. The most direct clues lie in the passion of your heart. What gets you excited? What keeps you up late at night? What gets you up early in the morning? The passion underlying our desires have Divine thumbprints all over them. Ignoring that zest for living can indeed create a life less than full.
But there is more than just our passion. Each of us is hardwired to be and do specific things to fulfill our karmic contracts. Maybe you’re here to be a plumber, a mother, a musician, a priest, a tycoon. Perhaps you have past karma to clear, someone to help heal, someone to love, someone to forgive. Each of us has a unique mission and destiny to fulfill.
Ancient systems of divination help solve the mystery of who we are meant to be and what we are here to do. These include Astrology, Numerology, The Enneagram, to name a few. These tried and true blueprints have helped people uncover the mystery of their identities for centuries.
The next step on the road to happiness is to learn how to overcome conditioning. Conditioning is received input through words, thoughts or actions that influence our behavior. When we receive a message over and over again (especially when we’re very young), it enters the subconscious and will eventually be acted out in our lives. When we don’t recognize that, we can actually end up living someone else’s life.
Negative conditioning most commonly comes from family, school, society and the media. We act it out by conforming to something contrary to the needs of our true self. The quickest way to overcome conditioning is to recognize it and start making different decisions which are in alignment with who you are meant to be.
- Pain and Fear
Don’t ask me why, but to be human means to experience pain and fear. We all get more than a fair dose. Mastering the art of living includes learning how to experience and release both pain and fear. When we become aware enough, we can learn how to experience it and let it move through us. Then, we have an element of control. It helps take us out of the victim’s seat.
Emotions are born to be experienced. When they are, they dissipate. When they aren’t, the remain in the subconscious and create repeating patterns of the same pain over and over. Suppressed emotions can be released through deep states of meditation, thereby ending repeating cycles of pain.
- Family and/or Community
Some of the most well-adjusted people in the world have close, positive connections with their families. The strength and support of a loving community (be it blood related or not) helps us bear the difficult moments in life, as well as providing needed recognition for our unique gifts and talents. Close families also give us the tools to work through our challenges. Those tools can then be applied to relationships outside of the family. Healthy family interaction is integral for our personal growth, emotional well-being, and self-esteem.
The exercise of human virtue takes the act of living to a higher plane and improves the quality of life, freeing us from our own misconceptions, prejudices, self-absorption, and self-inflicted suffering. Virtues take us beyond ourselves to connect with other people in a deeper and more meaningful context. The virtues most central to improving the quality of life include compassion, forgiveness, self-acceptance and gratitude. Genuine exercise of virtue creates a deep sense of emotional freedom that dissolves the bonds preventing us from truly being ourselves.
So go ahead, go out and live life. But if you want to be happy, do it on purpose.