Why do we do the things we do every day? Some of them are obvious to the naked eye, we eat to obtain energy, we sleep to recuperate from a long working day, we exercise to cleanse toxins accumulated in our ourselves. Essentially, we live a life based on our survival instincts. Instincts that are there to make sure that we stay alive. But is this it, is the purpose of life to make sure we stay alive? I believe it is a bit more than that.
It is clear that all of us have one goal in life and that is the pursuit of true happiness. Everyone wants to be happy at all times but why is it that very few people are actually happy? We have build new products to make us feel more engage, metrics to measure happiness to try and decipher the underlying “happiness” code, we even have invented new ways of living but we still can’t seem to figure out a systematic formula that will prove to lead to a happier life. So what is the problem?
I believe we have added more value to the things that in reality don’t lead to a happier life and have mislead us into believing that they do. In our frenetic lifestyles I questioned our urge to grow, to follow our individual passions and desires. In our western world, we have developed a way of living based on a set of principles that enable us to structure and measure our well being but are these principles the right guidelines? Cumulative wealth, extreme comfort and professional success are a few of the things we are made to believe will eventually lead to a happier, fulfilled life. But do they actually lead to what they preach for?
I have been on this quest, on the search of what is the purpose of life and how we can achieve it. This is a lifelong journey and even in a whole lifetime we may not figure it all out but the key is to start to actually look for what are the life elements that make for a happy life. If you don’t look how can one expect to find anything? It is curious how we focus most of our energy trying to fulfill our desires and passions but we spent very little time looking inwards, listening to our bodies and minds. We are in constant search for new ways to connect with others but we spent very little time trying to connect with our true beings, our soul and body. It sounds simple but I’m surprised as to how many of us don’t focus on what really make us feel happy in the longterm. The big question is where does happiness lie?
Happiness is a state of mind. It doesn’t lie in things or even relationships, it lies within yourself. If you want to know why you feel sad, stressed or anxious don’t look for externalities to reduce the suffering but listen deep inside your body which is your only vehicle to achieve true wealth.
So where do we start? When someone asks you, what makes you happy? Does it catch you off guard or do you have a straight up answer? This is something that I have been thinking about more deeply. Asking questions and acting on them has opened up a pandora box and helped me direct my efforts to more meaningful experiences.
Lately I have gotten very serious about my Yoga practice and about reflecting on what is the true purpose of Yoga. It is definitely more than just a physical training. It is a way of entering your inner self, a pathway to listen to your body. It provides you a tool to actually reflect on your thoughts and your subconscious and receive a peace of mind while doing so. We spent so much energy on searching for externalities that will give us perennial satisfaction and so little time listening to ourselves. To me is no coincidence that our society is the most stressful society that has ever existed. For decades we have been relying on things for the pursuit of happiness but how can we expect to be in a happy state of mind when the very things that we rely on provide only temporary satisfaction and are constantly being replaced?
Life journey is about finding yourself by helping others, by liberating oneself from a materialistic life and by practicing compassion. Doing so will lead to a meaningful, lasting, healthier and happier life. It is no easy task living in the world we live in where greed, selfishness and individualism are ubiquitous.
Being a compassionate person and able to relate to other people’s suffering and pain makes us feel happier and more human. We need to realize that life is about helping others and about the positive impact that we can have in other sentient beings. We don’t need to try to save the world all at once, we can start at home, with your spouse or friend. Listen to them, pay more attention and give without expecting something in return. Be present. You will see the results for yourself.