What made me write this article? Well, just an hour earlier I read a blog entry in which an author was comparing 4 different people – a sex addict, a God addict (Christian), an alcoholic and a yogi (3 hours of yoga a day). He came to the conclusion that since those 4 people were attaining a feeling of wholeness, happiness and togetherness through their pursuits; that it is wholeness, happiness and togetherness that we all need in order to be satisfied as human beings. It is an interesting notion.
I am aware that we very often do not feel whole, happy and together and that it is painful. We never really meet the goals that we set for ourselves, we never really measure up to what we perceive ourselves to be capable of. We attach ourselves, we judge ourselves, we always strive for more. That is the reality of a Western lifestyle and it becomes more and more obvious as a person grows up.
Now, there are numerous ways of temporarily breaking through this state – among them the numerous addictions that have been pointed out by the author of the blog entry.
Alcohol is a depressant – it takes away certain functions of our mind while being consumed – among those the feelings of emptiness, fear, paranoia. That is why it gives us the illusion of being whole and happy. After the intoxication ends the feeling returns even worse than it was felt before and it takes a couple of hours to get back to starting point from which the only road is to drink again. Been there, done that.
Sex is the easiest tool of losing yourself in an action. The same way that a professional sportsman enters a zone in which nothing else exists than the acitivity that he is doing, the person who is having sex can lose him/herself in the activity. Sex is the easiest way of attaining this temporary higher state of consciousness. It also calms you down after the point of orgasm – orgasms releases endorphins and raise serotonin levels. Once again though, sex will not give you a permanent state of wholeness, happiness and contentment.
Belief in God and yoga are different – rather than being tools to the temporary attainment of happiness and wholeness, through the continuous practice the practicioner attains them semi-permanently, for as long as he continuously practices and believes in his practice. He does not only feel whole while practising – rather his whole life becomes the practice and the feelings last.
So, there are temporary, semi-permanent and permanent ways of attaining wholeness. Those temporary methods are known to us all, semi-permanent ways too. Yet, many people feel it impossible to enter the semi-permanent states as they believe that belief in God is an uninformed jump in logic and a lie, while yoga is a strange pursuit for those who are too weak for the gym, or female. These people are partially right in that the belief in God is a jump in logic – there is no proof for the existence of God except for personal experience. Yet, they only need to be shown glimpses of higher states, whether through psychedelic drugs, meditation, prayer, yoga, spontaneous experiences, psychological turmoil, release of addictions, aesthetic beauty, near-death experiences or other ways, and they change their opinion. Why is that? I have been a witness of a lot of people questioning the non-existence of ‘something divine’ or at least ‘the inexplicable’ and it is often-times very beautiful to witness. And no, it is not self-delusion.
Ever wondered why the hippie or the yogi is happier than the investment banker? I guess that getting high on happiness works better than getting high on money, stress and adrenaline. Yet a combination of both brings more potential growth.
To return to the first question I asked – what is the meaning of life? Well, I don’t think that the meaning of life has anything to do with what I have been writing about so far. In order to feel happy, content and whole it is not enough to intoxicate yourself – almost all my friends have taken this path in order to alleviate the feelings of alienation, confusion and indecisiveness that all young adults feel, yet they are still unhappy and report feeling empty and depressed. Maybe it really is worth it to put some work into understanding yourself better and working out your issues.
But the meaning of life – I don’t worry myself with the global and transpersonal meaning of life. I am happy to quote my friend with whom I had the pleasure of spending New Years with. He said: ‘You have to love – everyone, everywhere.’ I laughed at the time (as he was lying on the floor unable to say anything else and repeating his message of love every 20 seconds – for 2 hours) but to be absolutely honest, loving yourself and everyone else is not a bad meaning of life. As to the personal meaning of life – well, you are the only one who can give yourself a meaning to life – what you do, and what you set out to do is the meaning of life that you have (un)consciously given yourself. Be careful what you wish for.
If you have to do something in order to achieve happiness then it is not happiness that you are achieving. Happines is in the here and now.
In other words: If you have a goal set as a prerequisite for the attainment of happiness, ie. ‘I will be happy when I’m rich’, or ‘I’ll be happy when I make some friends’, then the attainment of that goal will not bring you happiness. It will not last – but find out for yourself. The trick is to be happy with what you are and have, right now, right here.