Friday, January 11, 2013

The Meaning of Life and other small thoughts


When I was younger, there was this breathing exercise fad that was similar to yoga but without any movement. I would sit up straight and take deep breaths, feeling my muscles work to expand and contract while wishing my belly into a six-pack. It was possibly not a fad but just an infomercial I decided to believe in, but I felt it “work” the two times I humored the program. It’s all in what you believe.

The Power of Now reminds me of this phenomenon because it seeks to isolate this very moment from everything else going on in your mind. Eckhart Tolle highlights this very moment, letting go of anything and everything else, which allows for a happy and calm mind. Generally, I love this book because it presents a concept that simplifies life to a very basic level. It clears your mind and puts an end to the racing thoughts. Where The Happiness Project gives you projects to create a happy outlook, The Power of Now just lets happiness be with you. It’s an interesting mind game.

While I was on board with the mentality (and I do anything Oprah tells me to), this article brought everything together. Happiness is not the point and "the very pursuit of happiness thwarts happiness," said Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist who survived the Holocaust. 

"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," the authors of a study examined in the article claim.

Every person is unique and that in itself is purpose. No one will bring what you bring. Happiness is simple, selfish and fleeting, but the real importance lies in discovering and believing in a purpose for your life. Read the article, it’s fantastic.
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