What is your goal / purpose in life? When asked this question, most people will give a variety of answers: get good grades in school; proceed with a successful career; look for a life long partner; get married and have children; being admired by becoming a celebrity; becoming successful and being respected by others. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these goals, can we look deeper and beyond these goals, and find out why do we have such goals? What we will discover is that these goals in themselves do not have any meaning, but by achieving these goals, we think we will find happiness through these things.
Notice there is one commonality with all of these goals, it is which we look for happiness through outer world. And usually the goals are in sequence, one goal leads to next. For example: “I feel lonely, therefore I want to find a partner, that is the first goal. Do I really stop after finding a partner? No, there comes the next goal: I want to earn enough money to start a family with my partner, then after achieving that goal, the progression becomes getting married and having children, then the next goal becomes raising the children correctly and have them become who I wish them to be!” So you see the point, the goals are never ending, oh by the way, I didn’t mention all the struggles and hardship and sufferings along every step of each of these goals: I wanted my partner to behave this way but he/she didn’t; I wanted to have this promotion to earn more money but it didn’t happen; I want my children to behave and follow my guide but they didn’t! Notice that goals that we have in which we seek for outside things/people to find happiness almost always lead to suffering and unhappiness.
So what is the way to happiness? Do we just give up all of our goals and be a hermit living in the mountains, or be a monk and live in a temple, attempting to renounce the world in order to find happiness? No, not at all! Happiness comes with-in, not with-out. What do I mean by that? It mean we are looking for happiness in the wrong place, we think by achieving certain goals, getting certain things, obtain certain status in society, we will be happy. But it is not true, we are suffering along the journey to reach such goal, and what good does it do if we are suffering? Can we take a deeper look inside ourselves and find happiness with-in?
Yes it sounds mystical and wishy-washy when I say happiness always comes within, not without. But it is because we don’t know how to find happiness, and the road to happiness is firstly to understand about who we are. We are not our body, we are not our mind, we are not our thoughts, and we are not our emotions. We are the consciousness that is experiencing this world through the body, the mind, the thoughts and the emotions. We are the soul, the spirit, the consciousness that is yearning to experience this world, and the universe is also experiencing and expressing itself through us!
Once we understand who we are, then how do we find happiness? The road to happiness becomes quite simple: to always be with the present moment, be here now and never lose your consciousness. Joy, love, compassion, enthusiasm, inspiration and tranquility naturally comes in when we are being with the present moment, thus we naturally become happy! You might say: wait a second, I don’t feel this all the time, it is not my natural state of being! I only feel happy when I get what I want! For normal people, it is like that way. We are not always in the state of conscious being, but it is because we have preferences built within our mind. Where does all the preferences come from? It is built up from all these past experiences that we had, the impressions we stored in our mind, the disturbances we feel when outside events happen. In yoga, these are called Samskara. It is the disturbance that we stored which keeps us from being in the present moment. And the reason why we store these past experiences in our mind is because some events give a sense of uncomfortable vibrations, and we couldn’t handle them, they are usually considered negative experiences. When we cannot handle the disturbances, we tend to suppress them or push them away. The more we push them away, the longer it lingers in the back of our mind. The more negative experiences we stored, the more preferences we have (the likes and dislikes), and the more distortion we will experience when the outer world events happen that is mixed up with our inner disturbances.
But you might say, as long as we live in this world, we are bound to have likes and dislikes, how am I going to get rid of them? We don’t have to get rid of our preferences, just like we don’t have to renounce the world and live in a temple to find peacefulness and happiness. Once we understand what preferences are, then it becomes much easier to not identify with it.(hence we are not our mind, and preferences are made up in our mind). The outside world are bound to have so many different things happen, but are we okay to let them happen? Are we comfortable with feeling uncomfortable at times? A snake is crawling within our visible distance, we might feel fear in that moment, but are we going to allow that experience define who we are for the rest of our lives, and not be able to ever look at a rope straight without thinking that it can be a snake, or never walk in the forest again because that one time we encountered a snake in the woods? It might sound ridiculous when I say it like that, but that is the truth in life, to not be bounded by our mind and find the happiness within!
What I have noticed is that when we are in a conscious state of being, we are able to notice our thoughts and emotions much easily, however, as soon as disturbance comes up, we tend to lose our consciousness with it. Afterward we will regain consciousness and then realize how stupid it was to not let that little thing go, to let go of that disturbance when it first arrived. But that is part of the practice, the practice to let it go, and work on your inner state of being. The more aware we are , the easier it becomes to be in the present moment and let the disturbances go. So my inner purpose / goal in life is to always be with the present moment, and never lose myself with my mind. By setting my goal to the highest possible way, I am able to see myself and be aware of my thoughts and emotions when disturbances come up.
Once we have set our inner purpose and work towards it in every moment of our lives, then the outer purpose comes with clarity. Like I mentioned earlier, get good grades in school; proceed with a successful career; look for a life long partner; get married and have children; there is nothing wrong with any of these goals, and to live consciously and live happily does not mean we renounce anything in this world. We simply find the inner purpose, and align it with our outer purpose in this world, and anything we do will be in a joyful and harmonious state of being, not only it will increase the efficiency and productivity of any actions we take, we will also be able to enjoy the process along the journey!
To be in the present moment is not to deny what happens, or how we are feeling, it is to be centered in consciousness and witness the world as it unfolds, our thoughts to form, our emotions to rise, and still be at ease with life! French novelist Roman Rolland once said: “There is only one heroism in the world: to see the world as it is, and to love it.” I hope we are all able to be that hero that we deserve. Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day! Feel free to discuss and share your perspective on any topics! With love and respect!