The True Purpose of Life

A friend recently recommended The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World to me. The book is a memoir of a famous meeting between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. I had already been thinking about writing this post about the difference between joy and happiness when I found that my thinking on the subject was in alignment with these two amazing individuals.

“Joy,” as the Archbishop said during the week, “Is much bigger than happiness. While happiness is often seen as being dependent on external circumstances, joy is not.” – The Book of Joy

Joy is an experience. Joy is experiencing life fully in the present. Joy can be experienced through things, but joy is not inherent in the thing itself. – From Type A to Type Me

Power and money fail to bring inner peace. Outward attainment will not bring real inner peace. Outward attainment will not bring real inner joyfulness. We must look inside. – The Book of Joy

The problem is not choosing the wrong versus right things. The problem is in believing “things” provide us with joy. Things don’t provide us with joy; it is experiencing the thing that brings us joy. – From Type A to Type Me

Materialistic values cannot give us peace of mind. So we really need to focus on our inner values, our true humanity. – The Book of Joy

Most Type A’s define joy based on accomplishments, titles, awards, meeting deadlines, material possessions, professional success, societal approval, and following traditions. However, many times the pressure to achieve these goals creates pain instead of joy. – From Type A to Type Me

Sadly, many of the things that undermine our joy and happiness we create ourselves. – The Book of Joy

Much of the pain we feel is wrapped up in things, the nouns. Nouns are deadlines, expectations, and outcomes, which are usually outside of our control. The desire to control what we cannot causes pain. When the physical outcome is different than what we desire, it can lead to self-attack, depression, and disappointment. When we are anxiously waiting for a thing, we often miss out on the experience happening in the moment. When we tie joy to something outside of ourself, we cannot truly feel joy. – From Type A to Type Me

As one of the seven billion human beings, I believe everyone has the responsibility to develop a happier world. We need, ultimately, to have a greater concern for others’ well-being. In other words, kindness and compassion, which is lacking now. – The Book of Joy

We may not have power to change the economy, our employer, or the healthcare system. We do, however, always have the power to change our reaction to our circumstances. Focusing on pain, fear and worries only increases pain, fear and worry. When we choose instead to get out of our self by making true connections and giving freely in service, we find real happiness, hope and joy returning to us. – Melissa Heisler

For me, happiness is transitory based on external circumstances and things, nouns. Joy can be constant (or fairly constant) because it is based on how we view and experience life. As joy is not tied to external circumstances, the simple truth is it is up to you to choose the experience you want. To experience more joy in life, we need to stop feeding and focusing on fear and instead actively reach out, make connections, and give compassion to others.

Are you choosing fear, happiness, or joy?

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