The Meaning of Life

Here I am just one more person discussing the meaning of life. It became clear to me recently that it is not found in happiness but in struggle and chaos. Happiness is an afterthought that will occur at times but only if you are not looking for it or forcing it to happen. I figured this out recently after observing a guru here in Columbus, OH.

The benefit of living in a small town (as opposed to LA where I saw my first gurus), is that I was in a room with 50 people vs. 3000. Darshan (being blessed by the guru), only took 30 minutes as opposed to 3-4 hours in Los Angeles.  And here I was sitting about 10 feet from this woman rather than having about 10 rows in front of me as I did in LA.  This makes for a more valuable experience. When she walked passed me, I felt a vibration surge through my body.

As I sat there viewing this female guru, I was perplexed by the lack of expression on her face.  In fact she seemed very sad to me. Very quickly I realized her expression was similar to that of my fellow social workers when we worked for Children’s Protective Services in Northern California. I must have been on to something because suddenly the same expression appeared to me through the faces of Sister Theresa, Ghandi, other Gurus, great leaders like MLK Jr. and Priests/Clergy in general that I knew growing up. If these people who are meant to be our guiding lights or our hero/heroines aren’t happy looking people there is something to this.

Being conscious of life and those who are suffering, having the ability to lead people and be held accountable for others is not going to make you happy. This is a huge burden to carry. You have such a great amount of responsibility. All of us, even if we are not great leaders should be, on some level, helping others or serving our communities. If everyone was in service to their community (non-harmful ways, i.e., wars) this would make for much safer and healthier communities.

However, even as we are right now, without the “should be’s” attached; there is another factor to consider. Life is not easy. Our loved one’s die, our friends leave us, we lose our jobs, we are inflicted with disease, learn that our partner is not who we thought they were, etc… The meaning of life is in accepting this fate and dealing with the obstacle in the best way we possibly can. It means learning from this lesson and becoming a better person. This also means not getting caught up in the fact that these obstacles occurred and thinking, now our life is over or meaningless or whatever we might want to attach to it. It also means not forcing happiness as a result of your life. By this I mean putting a smile on your face and pretending it didn’t happen. When you force something you are not being your authentic self and instead are projecting a false self. Think of people with plastered smiles on their faces every day. This is not real.

There are only two people who I am aware of who do have an authentic smile on their face. One is the Dalai Lama and the other was the late Sai Baba.  Two guru’s who spend most of their life on their bottoms or walking around talking to people in interviews or giving speeches. These are not your average people as they are at higher levels than all of us and have all their needs taken care of. Their smile is authentic, almost laughing at us average people because they know the secret of life. I believe they find it hilarious that the answer is right in front of us and we are too stubborn to see it. We get in our own way so that we are constantly tripping over the answers.

The answer to life is not finding happiness but learning lessons from the obstacles that are presented to you. Finding strength in misery of course takes time and is not something you can do in one day. I am not saying that you look for misery either or that you should stay in relationships with unhealthy people in order to force an obstacle for yourself – or try to control obstacles. Problems will find you, I am positive about this.

This also does not mean that you should not try to put together a plan of what will make you happy in life. No one can be successful by sitting around waiting for life to happen. But it does mean that if the plan you have falls apart or does not seem to be what you thought it would be, you re-think your plans and don’t give up.

When you begin to realize this truth and just accept the chaos that has been given to you, by being responsible about it,  you become a lot happier. Also, when you stop looking for happiness it finds you anyway. Happiness can not be felt unless you have lived through sadness.

If this all sounds ridiculous or confusing it is.  Life isn’t easy and just because I write an answer to something I have realized does not mean you will understand it. Food for thought. Take a gander at the next person you see.  Whom are you really looking at? What can you see in their eyes? What does the expression on their face imply? What are you projecting to others?


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