The Purpose of Life Is Not to Find Happiness
The last few mornings, I’ve been waking up feeling kind of depressed. At least, the sensations inside my body are ones that I would normally associate with “depression.” These last few mornings have been different though. Instead of ignoring how my body feels, or blindly following ratholes of thought about how terrible life is, or could be, I found myself curiously paying attention to the feelings and thoughts.
“What is this?” I have been asking, not expecting a verbal or logical answer, and not even asking verbally. This is a process of just noticing what is happening and assuming that it’s how it’s supposed to be. Non-verbally, there might be a sensation in my head that I would usually label as a headache and drop into the bucket of “no thank you.” Now, there is just this interesting sensation.
What I’ve been discovering is a new level of contentment and ease, even in the middle of “depression.” Instead of resisting what is happening and thereby giving it power and incentive to shout louder, I am stopping everything else that I’m doing—which is mostly thinking about stuff that’s not actually happening—and turning my attention to it. Ah, there you are my children. If I am anything, I am these children of mine. This “everything is my child” perspective, is one that I have picked up from Jeff Foster.
Something else I seem to have picked up from Jeff Foster is the recognition that actually there is ultimately no resistance to anything that is happening. Even what we think of as resistance is happening effortlessly: we don’t need to do anything to have the sensation we call “brain fog,” and we don’t need to do anything to be resistant to it. It’s all just arising effortlessly. In fact, everything is occurring before we even have a chance to assess it and to drop it into either the “I don’t want that” bucket or the “I hope this never changes” bucket. Everything that seems to be happening is already allowed without any effort from us.
As my friend Joey Lott says, you can’t win until you “lose all the way.” You can’t be happy until you’ve totally allowed sadness. You can’t feel peace until anger has run its course. You can’t recognize the presence of wholeness until you have allowed the feeling of loneliness to blossom. All of these children will keep knocking on your door, louder and louder, until they are welcomed into the concept of what you are, and until that concept dissolves into the perfect inclusivity that is already here. You can’t truly live until you’ve allowed yourself to die.
The purpose of life is not to find and to keep happiness. The purpose of life is exactly what is happening right now, and now, and now; the only thing that is ever happening. The purpose of life is simply life; nothing more or less. Until you stop rejecting all there is, it will keep shouting louder and louder, “this is it!”
When all the doors are open, all that is left is all there ever was: what seems to be happening.