"What is the meaning of life?", and "What is the meaning of suffering?". If you answer one, you have answered the other.
However, there are two main streams:
1. Those who are in search of "Happiness".
2. Those who are in search of "Self-Actualization".
If happiness were the goal
of life, then suffering would be its hell.
For hedonists, happiness determines the quality of life, since happiness is the need to be fulfilled, and the quality the ability to fulfill that need.
Hedonism, can only make us happy for some time, but it always must give away to suffering, since fulfillment is not sustainable in a changing world.
Therefore, you will find
yourself forever redefining "happiness", as it will follow our needs
and circumstances as they change throughout our lifetime.
It is this fallacy that makes us aim for prosperity, money, and greed to fulfill our perceived need for happiness.
Happiness is not the result
of the circumstances, but the result of our attitude toward our environment.
Two people put in the same circumstances may find one happy, the other miserable.
Material wealth and even health, while making life more pleasant, does not necessarily create happiness, nor does the lack of these create misery.
We all have met people who
have next to nothing, barely able to sustain themselves, but happy go lucky.
They 'go with the flow', wherever life takes them.
While we also meet people who have a nice home, great family, a good job with a good income, yet unable to appreciate what they have, unable to 'count their blessings', because they are focused on what they find disagreeable instead of using it as a learning experience.
Our environment changes,
varies from moment to moment.
There is a time for everything under the sun!
We need both the positive and the negative in our life.
We can enjoy the good times and dread the bad ones, but must deal with them regardless.
We must learn to live in harmony with our 'karma', the task that life (or the 'Universe') has given us.
It is up to us to accept it and learn from it and to learn who we really are.
That is Self-Actualization.
The old Greeks posed the question as: "Know thyself", which translates into "Who are you?". It is our task to find out who we really are.
In a more modern version of the ancient sages: "Are we physical beings trying to get spiritual experience, or are we spirits trying to get physical experience?"
Funny enough, we attain happiness as a by-product of finding ourselves, not by looking for it.
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