WHAT IS THE MEANING OF A LIFE WITHOUT HAPPINESS?
Courage and effort in order to come out of a state of dissatisfaction.
I live surrounded by those who are searching for happiness; as if it were an goal or a state of mind that could be reached by purchasing a ticket.
They want to feel happy, in peace, balanced, with all their necessities covered…and then I meet people who appear to have achieved it, until they start to need more to be able to sustain this peace, balance and happiness.
Soon enough, when this fragile state of apparent happiness collapses or loses stability, they start to go deeper, to peel away the layers of the onion of their state of mind. They begin to think, to question what they have, including their family, their sexual and social orientations. And suddenly, they are questioning EVERYTHING…and then arrives the question of all questions…What is the meaning of my life? This question usually arrives when there is no longer any trick to avoid intrinsic dissatisfaction.
This approach is not new, nor original. Thousands of years ago, a prince that had everything, called Sidarta, escaped from his palace and decided to find out; “what is life”, and searched for “the meaning beyond the circle of life and death” – he wandered between immense luxuries and extreme asceticism until he was on the verge of fainting. He then sat under a fig tree where, after many weeks, he was visited by an illuminating light. Encapsulating a lot of the story of Gautama Buddha (not the first and neither the only Buddha, but the one who was known to have founded Buddhism) and he realised some fundamental things; that extreme hedonism did not entail happiness, nor the absence of suffering, and much less so did, extreme asceticism. And so he founded what is known as “the middle path” based on “four noble truths.”
1: Existence is unsatisfactory; to be human is universally and inherently unstable. There is no solution
2: Suffering comes from desire, addiction and ignorance; in other words, the ignorance of our conditioning is the seed of our suffering; not taking care of what moves us, searching for what we desire, and rejecting all that we do not desire is the source of lack of acceptance, unconditionality, and constant struggle. We do not want things to change; we deny interconnection and interdependence.
3: Suffering can be overcome: through expansion of consciousness, of the deep understanding that takes place in the heart of all those who take responsibility 100% for themselves in all aspects. Suffering cannot be defeated by looking to change from the outside.
4: There is a way to understand suffering that is multifactorial and integrative, and that requires effort, discipline, and maturity.
Why do I speak of the Buddha in a post where the title is about the meaning of life?
Because Buddha also searched for a meaning of life outside of himself, in methods, techniques and practices. And he realised for himself that in looking for the meaning of life, in life itself, he was never going to find the answers. The meaning of life could only be found inside himself, inherently inside of himself, his soul and his consciousness. No teacher could show him, because each teacher had found their own way.
To allow ourselves to consider that life has no “meaning” opens us up to the possibility of changing the direction of our search.
We are born, and then we die. The people that we love are also going to die. Life will no longer be. But in life we can find happiness inside ourselves that transcends both life and death. This happiness, like inner mastery, is not a method that someone can teach you, it is something that you can discover for yourself.
If you can accept the existential anguish of being alive, of being finite, limited, that just as you were born, you are going to grow old and will die, and not give greater significance or importance to what it is, you will be closer to understanding that existence is much more than the life that you are living in this moment. That this life, in fact, is nothing more than a tiny instant in the existence that you really are.
Happiness is the accumulation of flashes of profound comprehension that happen in the heart which opens us to receiving, unconditionally, every step of the path that life has prepared.