Placing value on a person’s life is not measured by the way an individual has lived, but rather, by what the person has gained in his life. The ideas I have towards the meaning of life could be totally separate from the ideas of another. For me, there are many things that make my life worth living. Life offers many obstacles but from the love that I receive from my family and friends, I become strong enough to face them. Love that I can receive as that not only makes me stronger but also happier makes my life, a, life worth living. As Aristotle once quoted that “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim, and end of human existence.” I truly believe that we must find happiness in every little thing that comes our way. It’s these moments of happiness that would give more meaning to our life. After all, a life in which a person is filled with joyous moments is truly a worthy life. There are a lot of things that people seek in this world that could be questionable to others, however, happiness is the one thing that you cannot reasonably ask ‘why should we seek happiness.’ The meaning of happiness itself varies from person to person. For example, my grandfather loves to collect currencies from different countries in the world. It is these coins that give him happiness and in particular, certainly, add meaning to his life. A life with meaning is a life worth living.
In this course, we learned a lot about many religions. I belong to a very spiritual family whose parents and grandparents are at all times followers of the principles of their religion and could relate with a lot of ideologies from a number of different religions I have acquired from this course.
And to a large extent, I would agree with those who believe that religion is important to give purpose to life. A belief on the fruitfulness of after-life could give satisfaction in the final stages of a person’s life if one leads a life in the manner in which their philosophy has asked them to. Eighty-four percent of the world’s population does correlate with some religion or the other and most of them do so for a purpose in life. Could a sport ever become a religion? Well, it has now, with the ‘Iglesia Maradoniana’ which is the church of Maradona set on his own set of commandments. So if gaining happiness is what all want from life, and if sports is one such source then it absolutely does not seem wrong to keep it at the very top of what one must do to lead a life worth living.
So these two important things, sports(yoga or other physical activities included) and religion which as words may seem poles apart, however, maintain a very important balance in how I see life. On one hand, while sports give physical pleasure and joy, religion gives mental and inner satisfaction, both together could really shape a person in the right way both physically and mentally.
If we take a minute to think as to why everyone does what they do, as to why people live the way they live, it all comes down to simply one thing: happiness. Materialistic things are very important to the lives of many, but that itself is to provide happiness, without which even the materialistic thing would simply have no meaning. All wars were fought for power, which gives happiness; Every deal is made for wealth, which gives happiness. Basically, every life has been lived in pursuit of happiness. And the most important thing that I’ve learned from this course is that happiness can be found in a lot of other things that do not really contribute to wealth or power. As for wealth, we live in a civilization that piously denies that it is an end in itself, and treats it exactly this way in practice. One of the most powerful indictments of capitalism is that it compels us to invest most of our creative energies in matters which are in fact purely utilitarian. Buddhist monks do not seek worldly things but can still be happier than a large number of people in this world. This is only because of the mental peace and meditation which they believe could lead them towards the path of enlightenment.
There are always two sides to a coin. Atheists find this version of the meaning of life a little too laid-back for comfort.
A common belief is that if there is such a thing as eternal life, it must be here and now. It is the present moment that is an image of eternity, not an infinite succession of such moments. The idea of the afterlife may frighten a person with the burden of tasks that must be followed in order to have a good afterlife. Believers sometimes speak as though a key difference between themselves and non-believers is that for them, the meaning and purpose of life lie outside it. A common belief of an atheist is that a person lives in the present and not after his death. So why should their purpose be something that isn’t necessarily achieved in this life?
And as much as one could agree with them, the reverse statements could itself be imposed onto them: “If there is no religion and no afterlife then what really is the point of this life? Is it simply to be happy in their own way and then die and finally disappear into space?” This question does have value when we talk about our purpose in this world.
The weekly assignments of this course which certainly kept me busy throughout the semester also taught me a lot. Especially one ideology that really inspired me was that of ‘ikigai’ which is a term to express well-being, purpose, and meaning of life, with connotations of joy about being alive in Japan. Everyone, according to Japanese, has an Ikigai. To discover it requires deep and long research. Such quest is considered very important since it is estimated that the discovery of our personal Ikigai brings joy and meaning to our lives.
One particular incident really brought about a change in the mannerism of leading my life happened very recently.
Giving context, my cousin who was an aspiring tennis player, already ranked seventeen in the country just the age of fifteen was leading her life absolutely perfectly in my opinion. Following her passion, winning, and most importantly being happy. All this changed one day when she was jumped over a barricader right outside a lift of a building to get into the lift which was clearly shut. This lead to an electric shock in her right hand and a badly wounded injury in the same hand which lead to its removal for the safety of her own life. Her dream of being a tennis player never happened and could never. I learned a lot from this incident. I stopped taking even the smallest things lightly; as a very disorganized person I brought about a massive change in my lifestyle by introducing timetables for my daily routines and completely cutting procrastination which I believed is the biggest evil. The fact that this unfortunate incident really brought about a change in my way of living and looking at life from a different perspective is something I am honestly proud of.
Apart from these the most notable change that I have brought about in my life is permanently becoming a vegetarian.