Our lives are packed with ups and downs, learning, challenges and choices; experience, commitment, and observance. It's about joy, it's about sadness and light, it's about obscurity. Life is, therefore, a constant process of becoming and overcoming negativity in order to obtain happiness. Happiness is a product of self-realization which I believe is the purpose of our life, in other words, the purpose is to find true happiness. Self-realization is a state in which an individual knows who they really are and is fulfilled by understanding. When people are self-realized, they have no suffering, no negativity but only true happiness. Every person in this world wants happiness from the moment of birth to their end and doesn't want to suffer. This cannot be influenced by social conditioning or education. We want satisfaction from the very heart of our being. We do many things and go very far for happiness. But life is not simply happiness; life consists of suffering, pain, negativity, and other horrible traits. By overcoming these factors in life, we will achieve self-realization which results in true happiness. This will be further explained by exploring different religions' teachings, personal experiences, and research.
Before talking about the purpose and meaning of life, it is important to know the difference between life and living. Living can be defined as breathing or being alive. The definition of life is more than just breathing and being alive. Life is the part of existence that through growth processes and experiences, acts, reacts, evaluates, and evolves. Life is a combination of emotions, relations, conditions, pains, etc. All these factors in our life have something in common. We go through or run away from these factors for happiness. In our life, we do anything for happiness. For example, you have an old car, but you buy a new car because you are not happy with your old one. Your old car functions just fine and does its job but you are not satisfied as the new car has a better feature. Once you buy the new car you get happiness temporarily. Whatever we do in life, we do for happiness as it is the meaning of our life. But is the happiness we get out of buying certain things or pursuing our favorite career true happiness? Back to the car example, after you purchased your car you got temporary happiness, but in the future when a newer car with better features comes out you are most likely to be unhappy with what you own. Once we fulfill our basic physical needs of food, shelter, and comfort, our life aims to maximize joy. The challenge is that we are often lost or turned. We finally seek many things, believing that they will bring us to the emotional state we want. We might get things, but we don't want the feeling. We're disappointed that people aren't who we thought. Relationships can lead to emotional drama, insecurity, and heartbreak. The key to being happy to regulate our inner experiences and see who we are and what we need in humility and integrity is self-realization. This happens because all of this is temporary happiness. People everywhere are unhappy and this suffering stems from our desire for more and the fear of losing what we have. We are in a continuous search for temporary happiness and we ignore the true happiness that we already have. By keeping the old car you might not get the new features but you can still go on adventures and make memories that last forever. The key to our happiness in regulating our internal experiences and seeing who we are and what we need in humility and integrity is self-realization.
Unfortunately, life isn’t just happiness even though we strive for it. In life, we go through a lot of suffering and pain. People are quick to think that life is all about suffering and pain, but accepting this negativity and moving forward to become a better person will bring you happiness. In Buddha’s teachings, he explains how life is full of suffering and how to deal with situations in life to achieve happiness. The beliefs of the four noble truths are at the heart of Buddhism. These four truths, which Buddha believes to have conceived, are the truth of life's suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path leading to the end of suffering and happiness. The first noble truth states that existence is suffering and that you suffer from the time of your birth to death. This is true because throughout our lives we go through so much pain such as stress, physical pain, emotional pain, losing a loved one, and many other situations. The second Nobel truths state that we suffer because of zero satisfaction in what we have and do. There is always a craving for happiness that does not end. The third noble truth states that we have to give up these cravings in order to be free of suffering. The fourth noble truth states that the ending of pain can happen by following The Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path consists of eight practices: right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness. The theme of Buddhist teaching is happiness. The Noble Eightfold Path leads its practitioner to eternal peace for ultimate liberation from suffering. Ultimate happiness can be achieved only through overcoming fear in all forms. Buddhism also promotes the generation of love and compassion, the desire for happiness, and the well-being of all.
Aristotle’s theory further explains how people strive for happiness in their lives. According to Aristotle, happiness is the purpose and end of human existence. It is easy to see that we only want money, pleasure, and honor because we believe that these goods will make us happy, but all this happiness is temporary, in other words, instant gratification. This means that we have to make decisions, some of which can be very difficult such as watching a movie instead of finishing a culminating assignment which is worth 20 percent of your grade. The development of a good character even in difficult situations requires a strong willingness to do the right thing. He states that to achieve happiness, you need to obtain a good moral character. This connects back to overcoming all the negativity and figuring out who you are as a person and how you act and think. Happiness requires intellectual and moral self-reflection, for this is our ultimate rational capacity. Overall, Aristotle’s theory explains how happiness is the meaning of our lives as we strive to be happy in every situation of our lives.
In conclusion, I believe that the meaning of our life is happiness as we spend our whole lives doing things to make us happy. In everything we do, we look for happiness. The purpose of our life, on the other hand, is to find true happiness which has no connection to the type of car you own, or the relationship you have with someone. That true happiness comes from inside, you have to realize who you truly are and get rid of cravings and negativity in life.