the purpose of life is…

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we all are seeking something better in life…” – Dalai Lama

“But isn’t a life based on seeking personal happiness by nature self-centered, even self-indulgent? Not necessarily. In fact, survey after survey has shown that it is unhappy people who tend to be most self-focused and are often socially withdrawn, brooding, and even antagonistic. Happy people, in contrast, are generally found to be more social, flexible, and creative and are able to tolerate life’s daily frustrations more easily than unhappy people. And, most important, they are found to be more loving and forgiving than unhappy people.” – Howard C. Culter M.D.

Happiness is determined by one’s state of mind than by external events. Success may result in a temporary feeling of elation, or tragedy may send us into a period of depression, but sooner or later our overall level of happiness tends to migrate back to a certain baseline. We need to find a happiness that is everlasting.

What is happiness based upon?

Whether we are feeling happy or unhappy is based upon how we perceive our situation, how satisfied we are with what we have.

What shapes our perception and level of satisfaction?

Our feelings of contentment are strongly influenced by our tendency to compare. Whether it’s your wealth, the job title that you have, the person you’re dating, or it could be as simple as the clothes you wear. Researchers have conducted a number of experiments demonstrating that one’s level of life satisfaction can be enhanced simply by shifting one’s perspective and contemplating how things could be worse.

So how do you reach happiness or inner contentment?

1) Setting up your mental outlook is a more effective means than seeking happiness through external wealth, job title, or even physical health.

2) The second is self-worth. Do not tie it to materialistic things and there’s less chance of you becoming depressed if you end up losing it.

The book gives the story of Christopher Reeves and how he is grateful to be still alive. Had he been paralyzed years before, he probably would’ve died. He is grateful that he still has a functioning mind, and still has his loving wife and kids. In learning to deal with his despair of immobility, he realized that the only way to go through life is to look at your assets, to see what you can still do. Reeve uses his mind to increase awareness and educate the public about spinal cord injury, to help others, and has plans to continue speaking as well as to write and direct films.

That story was pretty touching to me as it made me aware of how blessed most of us are to be in good health. Imagine not being able to go about and do sports or even to just walk. I think I would be devastated. Better yet, he’s grateful that he can still think. Think of all the depressed people in North Korea who aren’t free to do as they please, or believe in what they want to believe in. We are pretty lucky living in America with our wealth and our freedom to express ourselves.

When faced with any important decision making, just frame the question to, “Will this option make me happy?” A lot of times, the right choice is a difficult one – one that involves sacrificing some of our pleasures. A lot of you probably know that I have wanted this car, the Honda S2000, for quite some time now.


I wanted to buy it a year ago, but I decided to hold back because it wasn’t practical for me if I was to move to the city. So then the question became which would I rather do, buy the car and live at home or move up to the city with 5 of my close friends. I was contemplating that for the longest time. I know to the most of you that decision probably would’ve been easy, but I love cars a lot! In the end I came to the conclusion that the car would only bring me pleasure when I drive. My true happiness is being around the people that I enjoy interacting with.


Most of the content was based on the first 2 chapters of a book that I just started reading, “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. The book focuses on “happiness”, and how do we strive to get there. All in all I highly recommend the book. If you’re interested, borrow it from Lijen after I’m done reading it. I will end with another quote from the Dalai Lama.

“Sometimes when I meet old friends, it reminds me how quickly time passes. And it makes me wonder if we’ve utilized our time properly or not. Proper utilization is so impotant. While we have this body, and especially this amazing human brain, I think every minute is something precious.”


~ by toekneelc on January 9, 2007.

One Response to “the purpose of life is…”

  1. my ass post a pic where you cant even see yourself

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