The Purpose Of Life Is Life Itself
December 5, 2010 by Akemi Gaines
When was the last time you did something just for the joy of it? Or not even for the joy, but just because?
Doing things for the benefits
I’ve noticed we do so many things for the benefits that are supposed to come with doing it. For instance, some people run because they want to lose weight or because they think running is good for health. Same with eating healthy. How many people drink green smoothie just because they love the taste and the feeling within them when they drink it? How many people run just because?
And many of us work to get the paychecks and the benefits, not because they like what they do.
This way of living is so ingrained in our mindset that we hardly stop and question it. And we constantly compare and evaluate things and people for the benefits they are supposed to bring.
Some people even approach enlightenment for the supposed benefits of it, like bliss (or the right to boast about their spiritual development).
This is absurd. At least when you define enlightenment as clear seeing, as seeing and accepting things as they are. How can this kind of clear seeing prevent people from having so-called negative emotions such as anger or sorrow? Judging something as “negative” is the very thing that left with enlightenment.
Of course, events that bother us keep happening with or without enlightenment. I mean, if it’s something that is caused by your judgments and distorted worldview, then you won’t have that any more with enlightenment. But enlightenment doesn’t prevent your spouse to cheat. Your kids may still get into trouble. Your loved one might die. And you yourself will still do silly things, small or large.
The only difference is, with enlightenment, you are kinda “okay” with everything. It’s a feeling that is hard to nail down with words. How can a spouse cheating on you is okay? Because you quit judging something as good or bad. So you recognize the event as “it just is”. He (or she) did such and such. That is what is happening, and you don’t repress your feelings nor attach stories around it, like “I should have been nicer to him,’” or “He is such a jerk, I wasted my time with him” or “Cheating is morally wrong.”
It just is. Period.
What’s wrong with the benefits?
Enough about enlightenment. As I wrote in the linked article, I don’t particularly like discussing enlightenment because there are way too many misbeliefs and (ironically) ego investment there. (Like, who is more enlightened, or what is the best way to get enlightened, kind of discussions.)
My point is we are so conditioned to seek benefits in all areas of our life that even enlightenment has become the means to an end.
And what’s wrong with the benefits, you may ask? Nothing is wrong with benefits themselves or receiving benefits. The problem is our attitude, or the mindset, of doing things as a way to get benefits.
Here are some of the issues when you live to get benefits:
1. We devalue the life experience
When we do things as a way to get benefits, we devalue the experience itself. When you run for the benefits of weight loss, the experience of running is devalued. You see it as a means to an end. It could really be any other form of exercise, and your heart is not in it.
When you work for the paychecks and benefits, you devalue your work. The work experience, in such a case, doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t have to be that job.
2. We forget the love for the experience
And when you devalue your life experience, you forget the love you may have had for it. It’s possible you actually love running — but got so overwhelmed with all the information of the various benefits of running that now you see running as a means to the end.
When you forget (or never had) the love for the doing, life’s unique experiences are treated like commodities, something you can comparison shop or trade.
3. We devalue the Now
And what do you plan to do with all the benefits you collect? See, when you live this way, your attention is not in the Now but in some future time. When we are focused on getting benefits, we devalue the Now and live in our mind, the fantasy land of the future.
4. The benefits may be a lie anyway
And, of course, in many cases, we don’t receive the benefits anyway. Many benefits are only mind constructs or sales strategies.
The purpose of life
It’s time we realize the unhappy nature of this approach. Do things, anything, just because. Quit doing things for the benefits.
This brings us back to the experience of doing, in the Now. For the sake of experience itself. And when you do that, you notice a simple truth: Life’s purpose is life itself.
It’s so simple and self-evident. Life is not a means to an end. The “end” includes some nice-sounding “purpose”. Nay, the meaning of life is living it. I’m afraid so many people are in the search of life purpose because they think it comes with nice benefits. Turn around — what you have been looking for is right here.
Life’s purpose is life itself. In other words, life’s purpose is Now. Whatever you are doing. Whatever you are experiencing.
Why I am writing this
So you know why I am writing this blog? Because I love writing and sharing. If I am not blogging, I am writing basically the same things in my journal. That’s fine, but I also like sharing. It’s fun to get some feedback.
But if reading is not your thing, please feel free to close the computer. I don’t say this in a mean way. I myself have reduced the amount of time I spend on reading blogs and books these days. I still like reading, but I like doing other things, too. I want to read only when I feel like reading, and read only what I enjoy reading.
Enjoy your life today. Live just because.