Hi, I’m Paul Krismer. I’m your happiness expert and we are talking once again about what is life’s purpose?
What do we do with the existential crises that come into our lives? I know we dealt with this in the last post so why are we looking at it again? I mean who needs a second existential crisis?! Well we all do because if we only use the solutions in last week’s post we won’t be satisfied. Last week was all about the material world— how we can engage in daily activities in a self-directed way so that we can be happy. And the answer was live within our strengths and values. Pursue our strengths and values, but this week we go much much farther. This week we’re doing mind-blowing purpose. So in past videos you’ve heard me talk about how the positive psychology science has very clearly demonstrated that people with a high sense of their spirituality (that is they have a spiritual life) are proven to be happier than people who don’t have that.
And I’m not talking about religion here. It doesn’t necessarily take a religious path. I think in past videos I’ve said that spirituality’s opposite is egoism. So when the ego takes a bit of a backseat and spirituality has a way to be more expressive in one’s life we become happier and that’s what we’re talking about in today’s post. You know every huge religious tradition has a path that points to a bigger purpose and so that’s what we’re talking about today. What is our bigger purpose? Our biggest bigger purpose is about expansive consciousness. Expansive consciousness- I know it sounds kind of woowoo. For some of you that do sound just way fluffy and kind of way out there, but it’s not. I’m staying grounded in things that I think we can all relate to. When I say expansive consciousness I’m really just talking about a diminishment of the ego. That’s that self referential way of constantly viewing the world where we’re just seeing the world always through our own importance and our own lens. And what’s good for me, what’s bad for me in this own story, this constant chatter of ourselves is the central figure in life.
That we are the most important thing that we could consider. And of course when you think about it that’s a pretty stupid way to live our lives. When we can get that ego to diminish a little bit its like clouds parting from the sun and some sunlight shines through. We feel lifted. We feel excellent we feel like there’s a burden being taken off our shoulders. And trust me I’m not suggesting that I’ve got a cloudless sky and I’m living in the sunlight and sunshine all the time, not at all, but I have seen glimpses of sunshine often enough to know it’s super wonderful. Super wonderful. So there’s a few things I’m going to point to and the first one is just… (hey how’s this for self referential dialogue) but there’s a few things you can do— go into some watch some of my past videos videos on meditation on living our values on altruism or gratitude. All of those videos are excellent ways of getting in touch with our spiritual side. I wanted to talk about expanding consciousness through the teachings of a spiritual guru who’s made a big difference in my life and that’s Eckhart Tolle. Tolle talks about there’s only three appropriate ways to engage in the world— to engage in our own lives and that when we live in these three ways we are experiencing expansive consciousness. The first of those three ways is acceptance. He essentially says if anytime you are fighting against what is, you are in open warfare to the reality of the world that you have, where you can’t accept the present moment for what it is. You can’t be happy. You can’t be an expanse of consciousness. You’re in denial of what is real you’re fighting what is real. So he essentially says you either need to stop an activity that you’re not accepting or turn around and accept it because if you can’t accept it if you’re fighting it. Then you’re in resistance with what is. You’re in resistance with life as it is! This does not mean passively say: “Oh I don’t care those bad things happening to me, I’ll just take it.” That’s not what’s meant by acceptance. Acceptance is by saying this is true and in this moment this thing that is true I accept fully. I take responsibility and now I’m gonna find a way to move through this thing in my life. It may be something I can’t move through, maybe it’s a horrible disease, maybe it’s my impending death.
I could fight it and be resisting, resisting, resisting and unhappy. Or I could accept it come to peace with what reality is and then live my best life through to the conclusion of that disease for example. It could be all kinds of other things. A fight with your wife, that broken flat tire on the side of the road. Can we accept our real world? What’s really going on? If we can’t then we’re gonna be unhappy and we’re gonna be in an existential crisis. We will be without purpose. That’s point number one; we have to accept life in the present moment- if we are accepting life in the present moment most of the time we can get enjoyment. That is the reality of most of our present moments. Most of our “now”s are okay, take for example your own now. “Right now” in this moment wherever you’re watching this how’s your life? I’m guessing since you’re reading the post most of it’s pretty good. You probably have some degree of food in your belly so you’re content that way, you might have a roof over your head, you’ve got some semblance of security around you. You aren’t facing some kind of major threats. If you reflect on your right now it’s probably okay. In fact if you really live in this right now you can probably even say: “Hey this is a good moment, I can enjoy this.”
And that’s true for the vast majority of your nows. It’s when we’re living in the past and going “Oh I wish that was different” and we’re worrying about the future that’s when we tend to be unhappy. That’s when our ego is telling this story about how life should be or how we wish it had been. So when we diminish our ego and get fully present in the real moment of our lives there’s a tremendous opportunity for enjoyment. Okay, so there was acceptance of what’s real, then there’s enjoying the present moment, and then thirdly there’s the opportunity to be enthusiastic about the present moment. And this is usually the blending of being in the present moment with some purpose.
And yes purpose always has kind of a future orientation to it, but I want the future orientation not to be fixated on the outcome but in the process of getting there. In the process of the present moments that will take me further along this purpose that I have. Whatever that purpose is for you! When we can have enthusiasm about something that’s coming up in our lives and be conscious of our present moment movement towards that goal, we tend to get all kinds of spark and sizzle in our lives. So long as we don’t make it about the ego (that this thing that we want in our lives is about me being grander in the world and people looking up to me and sending money or anything like that) if it’s in fact about just really richly going after something that gives you a real sense of purpose, that maybe nobody will ever know about or pay you a cent for, then we can be enthusiastic.
And when we have enthusiasm we are really cooking with fire. Those are the three stages of life we want. (or the three states of being in life we want.) We want acceptance, we want enjoyment and especially we want some enthusiasm for what’s going on in our lives. If we have those things we are without existential crisis— we are in our life purpose.
We are happy.