The Meaning of LifeBy Dr. Margaret Paul
April 06, 2009
What has heart and meaning for you? What brings you joy? What would your life look like if you followed your bliss?
Is happiness the purpose, or is happiness the result of another purpose? Is happiness the meaning of life, or is happiness the result of discovering what has heart and meaning for you?
There is not one right answer to this question. The answer lies within each of us regarding what gives meaning to our life.
What Gives Meaning to Your Life?
Perhaps, in seeking happiness, we discover what has heart and meaning for us. Is this how it is for you? Or is it the other way around for you? Is happiness for you the result of loving yourself and others? Do you find that when you are open and loving, that you feel filled with happiness?
Maybe love and happiness are inseparable. Maybe when we are happy, we are naturally loving, and maybe when we are loving, we experience happiness. If this is the case, then is the purpose of life is to seek happiness, or is the purpose of life to evolve in our ability to be loving and compassionate with ourselves and others?
In my view, it is not important to separate out love and happiness. What is important is to discover what gives your life meaning. In my experience, meaning always has to do with love - with loving yourself and discovering how you want to share your love with others. When you discover this, you will likely be happy.
Perhaps the meaning of life is to discover what has heart and meaning for you and, therefore, brings you happiness. The questions to ask yourself are:
- What has heart and meaning for me?
- What brings me joy?
Following Your Bliss
Gillian decided early in her life that what had heart and meaning for her was getting married and having children. She had decided that if she did not have children by the time she was 43, that life was not worth living. She started working with me when she was 42, unmarried, childless, and contemplating taking her life.
In the course of her deep inner work, Gillian discovered another source of meaning in her life. She discovered that learning to be loving to herself - to the spark of God that she truly is - was extremely satisfying to her. As she practiced getting to know and love her true Self, she discovered another source of meaning - helping others. She realized that working in finance was not fulfilling to her and went back to school to become a chiropractor.
Gillian currently loves helping people attain excellent health. In addition, she adopted a 10-year old girl whose parents had been killed in an accident. She has found great joy and meaning in loving her adopted daughter.
Gabriel consulted with me because he was depressed. He had become an attorney because that is what his father was, but found that he disliked it. It held no heart and meaning for him. In his soul, Gabriel knew that he was a writer. He decided to "follow his bliss", as Joseph Campbell encouraged us to do. While Gabriel is currently not making nearly the money he made as an attorney, he is finding his happiness. By choosing to love himself and share his love through his creativity, he is finding his joy.
Love, happiness, joy - perhaps they are all One. If you choose to pursue what has heart and meaning to you, you will likely find your joy.
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Do you awake each morning excited about your day, or do you awake wondering why you are alive? If you are following your joy, then your life has meaning, but if you are just doing the 'right' thing, it is likely your life feels flat and meaningless. There is no time like the present to follow your joy. What are you waiting for?
By Dr. Margaret Paul