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Thus, if we really want pure and everlasting happiness and freedom from misery, we must learn to control our mind, principally our desire. With wisdom we can understand how our human life is precious, rare and meaningful.
Due to the limitations of their body and mind, those who have taken rebirth as animals, for example, have no opportunity to understand or practise spiritual teachings that are methods to control delusions such as uncontrolled desire, anger and ignorance. Only humans are free from such hindrances and have all the necessary conditions for engaging in spiritual paths, which alone lead to pure and everlasting happiness.
This freedom and possession of necessary conditions are the special characteristics that make our human life so precious. Although there are many humans in this world, each one of us has only one life.
One person may own many cars and houses, but even the richest person in the world cannot possess more than one life; and, when that is drawing to an end, he or she cannot buy, borrow or manufacture another. When we lose this life, it will be very difficult to find another similarly qualified human life in the future.
A human life is therefore very rare. If we use our human life to accomplish spiritual realizations, it becomes immensely meaningful. By using it in this way, we actualize our full potential and progress from the state of an ordinary, ignorant being to that of a fully enlightened being, the highest of all beings; and when we have done this we will have the power to benefit all living beings without exception.
What could be more meaningful than this? No Sign-up required. New to ebooks? Not sure which format to choose? Visit our FAQ page for more information. Direct download of the Kindle file from this site. Look Inside. Jan 10, Minutes Buy. In a culture obsessed with happiness, this wise, stirring book points the way toward a richer, more satisfying life. The truth is, there are untapped sources of meaning all around us—right here, right now. To explore how we can craft lives of meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith synthesizes a kaleidoscopic array of sources—from psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists to figures in literature and history such as George Eliot, Viktor Frankl, Aristotle, and the Buddha.
Drawing on this research, Smith shows us how cultivating connections to others, identifying and working toward a purpose, telling stories about our place in the world, and seeking out mystery can immeasurably deepen our lives.
To bring what she calls the four pillars of meaning to life, Smith visits a tight-knit fishing village in the Chesapeake Bay, stargazes in West Texas, attends a dinner where young people gather to share their experiences of profound loss, and more.
She also introduces us to compelling seekers of meaning—from the drug kingpin who finds his purpose in helping people get fit to the artist who draws on her Hindu upbringing to create arresting photographs.
And she explores how we might begin to build a culture that leaves space for introspection and awe, cultivates a sense of community, and imbues our lives with meaning. Increasingly, people tend to spend less time with their loved ones and more time in front of their phones and computer screens. To support this claim, take these findings from the General Social Survey. In , that answer dropped down to zero. This rise in individualism and isolation seems to be a major contributing factor as to why many people feel that they have a lack of meaning in their lives.
Surveys often conclude that people consider close relationships to be critical sources of meaning, and research often shows that those who are lonely consider their lives less meaningful. By focusing on your relationships with others, you can begin to make your life more meaningful. So, to find meaning in your life, try to reach out and connect with others around you.
Have you ever considered what your purpose in life is? When you think about your purpose, simply consider it to be the strengths and opportunities that you possess, with which you can help others. The developmental psychologist William Damon believes that your purpose should be a far-reaching goal that involves some kind of contribution to the wider world.
As long as you have a goal and a make a meaningful contribution, you could live purposefully as, say, a zookeeper or a parent. Zookeepers, for instance, feel that they have a duty to fulfill by helping animals live better lives; therefore, they have a purpose and consider their lives to be meaningful. A survey involving 2 million participants found that those who considered their jobs to be meaningful were involved in careers such as English teachers, radiation therapists, school administrators and other roles that involved serving others.
Instead, focus on the ways in which your work affects other people. A road worker whose job it is to direct the flow of traffic is keeping other people safe, for instance. In other words, switching your focus to how your work affects others can give your job more purpose, and thus make your life more meaningful. As such, storytelling is the third pillar of meaning: it refers to the way people create stories from their own different life experiences.
Humans feel compelled to tell stories, as this is how people make sense of the world. Individuals create meaning from telling their life stories to other people in a certain way.