The purpose of life is to have a happy go of it, realize our divine potential and help awaken others likewise.
Happiness is a function of gratitude, optimism and freedom from the karmic prison of our past lives (the days of our life now passed).
Gratitude is the realization that even the worst days could always be worse; for that we are grateful. When we are grateful we are “great-full,” full with feeling all is great.
The etymology of happy is “hap” which in Old Norse means luck. When we get lucky we immediately feel happy. When we realize how lucky we are relative to most who are here now or who once were and are no longer, we are grateful and happy.
An antonym for gratitude is complaining. While complaining often feels good as an emotional bowel movement, complaining reflects and causes unhappiness. Moreover, complaining is selfish as in doing so we are oblivious of others who are truly suffering, those who would be very happy living our lives. When we view our lives from the perspective of those who are suffering, it’s clear we have much about which to be grateful.
Nothing is perfect but the universe which the gods have created. As everything but the universe is imperfect, it is easy to find some aspect of everything about which to complain. Complaining is ugly as it makes this world less beautiful than it would be otherwise. Thus by complaining we risk that the gods hear us complaining and entertain themselves by putting us in harm’s way.
Moreover, complaining makes it difficult to realize our potential as it engages our time and attention, distracting us from moving forward best we can. Complaining is akin to driving a car and paying much attention to what’s in the rear view mirror, increasing the chances of an accident which would give us something about which to truly complain.
Optimism is based on the realization that the universe eternal; yet everything that comprises the universe is temporary, forever changing. As what is now will soon be no longer, difficult circumstances will change for better or worse and sooner or later for the better.
Most of us are locked in a karmic prison. Karma is the intentions, actions and consequences in our prior lives that we’ve woven into generalizations, meanings and stories that affect our experience of the present. Our prior lives are days now passed as each day is a lifetime. Karma holds us in a prison of these preconceived notions and stories that keeps us from experiencing the ever-changing present as it is. To free ourselves from our karmic prisons, we need to realize that our past and all our stories are an illusion. Tangibly, this means that we forgive all who we perceive as having done us wrong in the past as they are now not the person they once were and we are not the person who was wronged. Likewise, we don’t have have feelings of entitlement, expecting those whom we’ve treated well in the past to treat us well now or in the future as we and they today are not the people we were in prior lifetimes; they owe us nothing.
REALIZING OUR DIVINE POTENTIAL
Humans are a transitional species, part animal and part divine consciousness. We are born as animals and are socialized as animals. As animals we view ourselves as apart and separate from that which is not ourselves. In that context, we effort to fulfill our needs for food, shelter, security, health and companionship with little regard for that which is not ourselves. However, we realize our animal potential when we fully develop and fulfill our responsibilities to others, like a seed that grows into a fruit-bearing tree whose fruit nourishes others.
The ultimately human potential is the realization of divine consciousness; the realization that we and the universe are one. This is enlightenment. When we are enlightened, we are one with the light and one with everything as everything is light. As enlightened beings, we treat others as we treat ourselves (compassion) and our perspectives are infinite (wisdom), not solely the perspective from our finite selves. Enlightened, we find almost every situation funny, sooner or later, and know the nature of consciousness which keeps us from suffering in life and death.
To awakening others, we need to rouse their curiosity; question them about who they are, why are they here in life, why the universe here. If they are sufficiently engaged by these questions, they will work looking for answers. The work is difficult and frustrating as we need to see beyond ourselves, yet are locked in our karmic prisons. We work hard by meditating, studying, performing rituals and reflecting as though our lives depend on realizing the light.(1) We work to near exhaustion like a dog endlessly chasing its tail. Then, suddenly, we stop and fall down laughing at the absurdity of our chasing our tail, as we realize we were enlightened from the very beginning.
(1) In fact our lives do depend on it as only those who are enlightened know eternal life. As the universe has been and will be here forever, the enlightened never die, just transition from one form to another.