I used to say that the meaning of life is to be happy! Yogi Bhajan agrees, in fact he goes on to say that Happiness is a birthright! However he also adds that this is an easy question, a more challenging one would be: “How to be happy?” I interpreted what he said as a reference to the practical steps necessary in order to achieve it. However somehow I felt there was a deeper quest: “What is the actual reason of us being here, the purpose of our presence. I have just realised why happiness is also the answer to that. A proper light bulb moment! I will try to explain.
Over the years there have been teachings that have resonated with me and have explained some aspects of our existence
- Jesus showed me compassion and to recognize that the other is my brother;
- Buddha has taught me that everything is impermanent and therefore attachment to people or things is the cause of all pain and sorrow;
- Sikhism and the Yogi philosophy kundalini yoga is based on, have opened the door that leads to the realisation that God and me, me and God are one; that is THE ONE having an experience through the confines of my finite self. Rather than feeling detached from creation and the limiting view of being purely its product, the journey is in recognising that THAT ONE is within me and all around me seeing and enjoying its creation all through my own eyes.
As a part of my phycology degree I was taught Piaget theories on child’s development. Describing the first few months of the baby’s development, Piaget affirmed that during that stage the infant has no boundaries. It perceives all as an extension of the self, therefore when he brings something in his mouth, the object is not seen as a separate entity but as part of his body. Equally when he is hungry and food magically appears, the connection that is made is that it happened as a direct consequence of his desire to eat. This stage is defined as egocentric, as everything seems to be a product of the self (paradoxically at this point there is not even awareness of having an Ego). This approach sees the infant as a deluded self, a magician fallen victim of his own tricks. We learned to pity the poor infant, who is on a road of painful discovery. Discovery that will teach him about separation, dependency (as he awaits for an external source to satisfy its needs) and frustration (as he loses control over the terms within which they can be satisfied). The carer, therefore, becomes the bridge and mitigator between the baby’s egocentric world and external “reality”
This to me seem the perfect description of the journey of the soul in this finite realm, a soul that progressively learns to forget that he is divine and because of that start seeking love, nourishment and approval from the external word. This is the moment we witness the migration of God from within to outside of us.
I have always known that there was more to life than just a process to satisfy needs, and although I never doubted the existence of a Divine force, I never digest the idea of a humanised God. One that is watching, one to whom you have to prove that your are worthy of his love, one that will decide over your faith after you leave behind your physical body. Yes, I was told that he does love me, of course! However seen the premises, a sentiment not so easy to believe.
I think I have now come full circle, and can say that the meaning of life for me is realising God within me, recognising my divine nature, experiencing it through me. The WAHE GURU, WAHE JIO! The teacher that moves us from darkness to light, a realisation which brings ecstasy! That is the happiness the true contentment.
The famous Nirvana is a lot more concrete that what I have always thought. Clearly thinking it and saying it alone is not enough but at least I now know where to look!
Now I understand why Jesus said: “forgive them father because they don’t know what they are doing…” It was not because by not believing that he was the son of God, they were denying themselves a place in heaven by his side. It was because by denying Jesus and condemning him to death, they were denying their own divine nature.
Wahe Guru Ji ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji ki Fateh