So many people I meet tell me that they don’t know their real purpose in life…
They don’t know why they are on the planet…
They don’t even know why they are alive…
The world is complicated, filled with extremes of pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, meaning and utter meaninglessness.
It’s enough to drive one to despair.
But I want to share a secret with you. One that could change your life. One that is a truth that has been known by wise people across different cultures and different time periods throughout history.
Yet it is a truth that has been constant through the ages.
You might find this surprising, but everyone has the exact same purpose for their life.
“Hey, wait a minute,” you might be thinking, “there are over 7 billion people on the planet, how can they all possibly have the same life purpose?”
Because we were all born with the same reason for being in this world.
The reason or purpose for our advent on the planet is surprisingly simple…
Our purpose is to become happy, and to be of service to others.
Jesus knew this, Buddha knew it, Confucius taught it. So have scores, maybe hundreds of other wise teachers, prophets and bodhisattvas.
The purpose of your life is to become happy.
And how do you become happy?
Well, the Buddha said that the fastest way to become happy is to be of service to others. He said, “To light a lamp for another will also brighten your own way.”
You get to decide what your definition of happiness is. No one can do that for you. But I have learned in my 35 years of Buddhist practice that there are two kinds of happiness – relative and absolute.
Relative happiness comes from the satisfaction of some desire. I call it “Hot Fudge Happiness,” because like a hot fudge sundae, eating one makes me feel really happy — for a while. The problem is once it’s gone, I want more. But more may not be the best thing for me. So, like stuff, money, sex, power, etc., more isn’t always better. But that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.
Absolute happiness is the realization that true happiness comes only from within. If true happiness can come only from within it is therefore not only within my grasp, but also under my control. Absolute happiness is a foundational feeling, a deep knowing that no problem or obstacle is too big for me to handle. And not just handle, but even derive value from. No problem or obstacle is too big, not even death. But that too is a whole ‘nother discussion in itself.
Suffice it to say that happiness is something you create. No one can give you lasting happiness. Sure another person can give you pleasure, or they can give you pain, but actual happiness comes from within.
And how can we nurture and grow this internal, unbreakable happiness?
- By helping others — friends, family, co-workers, young people, even strangers. The contemporary Buddhist Philosopher Daisaku Ikeda puts it succinctly. To the extent that we love others, we will be loved. To the extent that we work for others’ happiness, we will enjoy protection and support. This is the law of cause and effect…Through this process of fostering others, we polish and develop ourselves.”
- By having appreciation or gratitude in our lives. People whose hearts are filled with gratitude are already happy.
So how about you?
Are you ready to live your purpose?
If so, what is your unique mission to live out this purpose common to all humanity?
We all have a common purpose, but each of us has our own mission, our own way or path to achieve our purpose.
That sounds like a good subject of another blog post, so stay tuned.
Wishing you total success and fulfillment.
The Career Buddha