Tag Archives: 07 21

Happiness In Life

Conversation with SR continued from here: The Higher Purpose In Life.

SE had a follow-up question (a lightly edited extract):

…I have a question on tour analogy you given. I have similar experiences in multiple group tours and I had wondered why do these group tours create happiness which is not found in our normal day to day life journey? I tried to analyze and had identify certain attributes of these tours; noting them down here:

1. When we go on a tour, for those few days, we take a break from day-to-day life and let go our thoughts of past and future for duration of the tour.

2. During the tour, because we are in different environment and with new people, most of the time we stay in present experience. All the time alert, watching, experiencing, interacting so that we do not miss even a bit of the tour. 

3. Because we know we will not see these people again in life after this tour we are more friendly and accommodating than normal. Also we do not feel that bad when these people say or do something not matching with our expectation.

4. Inner state during these tours is relaxed. After all we are on break and came on tour to relax and enjoy.

Those are few of the critical differences between tour analogy and day-to-day life journey….

**

Loved the question. Set me off thinking about it.

My two-bits in response:

Before attempting to project the experience of a tour and the camaraderie/happiness enjoyed therein onto the larger canvas of our life, it’s useful to look at some other experiences too and recognize underlying similarities. Note some of them could be more towards alleviating grief/trouble leading to satisfying outcomes than generating raw happiness per se.

In these cases, we create and inhabit a small world of experiences shared with a few others bound by a common purpose, more to do with mundane living than exalted, such as enjoying the sights, company and amenities in a group tour, travelling to the destination safely on any kind of mass transport, being in a hospital ward with other patients to get treated during sickness, providing as a team, relief to disaster victims…

The ‘small’ ensures homogeneity  and congruence of purpose.  Membership to this world is one of low on maintenance and short-lived only for the duration of the experience (also a reason for low maintenance, besides the smallness). Note nishkama karma too, is low on maintenance not expecting anything in return!

Now, going from the tour to life looks simple!! For happiness and satisfaction, the solution, to think aloud, may well be: Fill your life – at least some part of it – with these worlds, as many, as varied, as frequently and as long as possible!

Well, not so fast and simple😊 Of course, life is more complex with its share of high-maintenance groups and their activities one cannot shy away: employment in an organization, a competitive team sport, etc. And not to forget, the Family and Friends!

End

The Higher Purpose In Life

An ex-colleague of mine, SR, popped up this question after sending me birthday wishes:

…Last time when we had email conversations, you mentioned that person needs to have a purpose to get going. I have a query on that. How to know or find a right purpose? Earning money, taking care of family is the purpose with everyone. How to know or find higher purpose to make best of this human birth and remaining life?

A few words about him. He worked with me in our Software unit. Qualified in Textile Engineering from a premier technical institute in Mumbai, he was easily the best OO designer I had seen in sometime among the good many that passed through my hands. When I was down and under after a serious heart ailment and a major surgery, this young man would take a break from his project, come up into my cabin, chat with me about this and that simply to pep me up!!! Not just once. Absolutely unforgettable. Have been in touch with him on and off. And now here he is…

With a question people spend a life time to find an answer:-)))

Will share my views on the subject.

Many believe living is doing what gives one happiness. After all there’s just one life to live. Everything else like karma, rebirth….is a conjecture. To be happy is the key to life.

Intuitively we know there’s much more to life than happiness which is a state of mind, largely a  function of the present, hence evanescent.

Brought up in our tradition, we all know life is to live the role we assume as per the prescribed dharma withstanding the challenges encountered on the way. For example, a parentis required, among other things, to bring up the kid to become a good citizen in the society. Happiness is nothing more than a by-product generated in the process of fulfilling the demands of the role taken.

While this may be the basic purpose in life – to play the role well – what then is a higher purpose in life? The original question.

For the spiritually inclined, the question is easy to answer. For example, in the system of belief’s I belong to, the highest purpose of life is salvation, freedom from rebirths that one achieves when one has discharged all karmic debts (bad karma) and, yes, credits (good karma) too! In this state the jeeva (Self) goes back to its natural state of oneness with the paramathma (Supreme). In its framework, the theory holds together good and it’s difficult to pick holes. And how does one go about working towards it? Well, it’s said: “Lead a life as per prescribed dharma and, as one matures, engage more in meditating upon the Supreme in progressive renunciation of this world.

The specific system I belong to says more on the subject. Will not dilate beyond summing it up as: The karmic load is not easy to be reduced to nil. Requires innumerable janma’s (births) of high merit. An easier and a quicker way is to completely surrender oneself to the Supreme and dedicate all thoughts and actions in its service. Prapatti proposed by Ramanuja versus Karma, Gyana and Bakthi yoga’s enunciated in Gita .

Am sure the various faiths under the umbrella of Hinduism likewise have their own theories on the subject. And other religions too. 

What about those not deep into spirituality? Answers are many.

Picking on one, let me cite the example of our ten-days tour of Egypt and Jordan three years ago. My cousin got us to join. As families, we are similar and different in what we enjoy, our need for private/shared spaces, our eating habits, etc. Likewise there were another 10 to 15 families with us on this tour. We had such an enjoyable time on this trip being together with my cousin and others.  Happiness shared was happiness multiplied in a group tour far outweighing the convenience of a private tour!!

Life is no different, a journey shared with many close/known to us and the multitude out there each fighting his own battle. Can we make the journey a wee bit better in some manner for each other?  At the lowest point of altruism, someone suggested, costing nothing, why not greet with a sunny smile 5 perfect strangers we see in a day? Could be as easy as that.

An employee in an org, for instance, through his work, touches the lives of his employer, colleagues and customers. Opportunities unlimited! It’s not too difficult to imagine ways he could do a bit of good in his line of duty going beyond its call!  An interesting implication: In order to serve them best, it is incumbent on him to operates at the peak or near-peak of his efficiency and up-to-date knowledge and skills!

Not to be left out, Artists, Scientists, Professionals…all have their own ways of threading a higher purpose into their lives and their work.

And that’s what makes life worth living, even enjoyable, regardless of one’s station in life, each new day loaded with opportunities.

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