Why are we living? What have we come here for? Every day we hear questions about the aim and purpose of our lives. And most of us continuously search for answers. How can we find happiness? That is one more question forcing us to search for its answer every day. What if the answer to those questions is straightforward? What if all those questions are just about ONE thing? Relationship. The secret of happiness is elucidated in the clear and inspiring voice of Masami Sato in the following excerpt of her book, ONE.
What are we looking for?
There are a host of things that we do in our lives.
But have we ever thought about why we do what we do? What are we really looking for?
The world is a confluence of millions of people of all continents, races, religions, and ideologies, doing different things. They look different and also act in different ways. All of us have different interests and each have a different viewpoint. We converse differently using different languages. We have different emotions and desires.
Still, if there could be ONE thing that we are ALL trying to get, what would that thing be?
While I journeyed all over the world, I asked people a seemingly straightforward question, “What would you like to achieve in your life? What do you really want?”
In the beginning it appeared that different people were looking for different things. People said different things like “A house of my own”, “A good job”, “A perfect partner”, “A soul mate”, “A little more money”, “An affectionate family”, “Freedom”, “Peace of mind”, “A purpose to life” etc. There were many answers of this type.
I noticed that while some of these were temporal, and more related to day-to-day needs, others were of a more spiritual nature. We yearn for temporal desires because we do not as yet have it, or don’t feel that we have it yet. As different from this, spiritual desire is not about getting things we do not have. It is about a ‘feeling’ we look for, which does not end no matter what we manage to achieve at every moment of our life.
If we take off the temporal desires from the list and look only at the permanent desires, it is clear that all we want is to continue experiencing positive feelings like exhilaration, enjoyment, encouragement, motivation, kindness, love, happiness etc. – in another way, we want to remain happy.
Contentment is a state of emotion that all of us are yearning to be in. Each of us may define it differently. We may also value it differently. Each of us may be familiar with different levels of intensity of contentment. Still we definitely have something in common when contentment comes to us. And when we realize this secret about contentment, we hold the key to greater contentment, and to make those around us know the same feelings as well.
Life is a mystery we are all living in. We all may love it in our own special ways. We may despise it in different ways. We may question it. We may treasure it. Or we may just have it, accept it, indifferently. But what is the purpose of our lives? What if the secret of our existence is so near? What if the secret actually brings us happiness and contentment when we discover it?
What if the secret of our life purpose, and of happiness, is as simple as this:
It is all about relationship.
Connection is everything
Everything is about making relationships. Everything is part of something else. Just a look at our own lives would reveal it to us. Then we will understand the real purpose of our lives.
Why do we do something, ANYTHING at all, in life as human beings?
It is mainly because we want to bond more and more. We make fiends to feel bonded. We get married for bonding with another person in a firm and lasting manner. We raise a family to feel even more bonded. We go out and meet people to bond well with them, not only for getting advantages out of that bonding, but also to feel more bound to the world.
We get ourselves good clothes or go to a beauty parlour to bond better with our physical appearance or aesthetical sense. We choose to try out different types of food to bond better with our sense of savour and aroma. We dine out to get on better with people we would be sharing the meal with. We buy mobiles and computers to bond better with the entire world and its people. We read books and newspapers to remain connected to what is happening around and what others are going through. We study things and learn things to bond better with knowledge that others value.
All that we do is done to satisfy the need for that bonding. If we have no bonds with our own body, we do not even need to sleep or eat. Our bonds to all our senses tell us to do certain things to satisfy the demands that the body makes. If we disregard these pleas of our body, we feel pain and discomfort. And over and above our basic needs, we search for a bonding of a loftier type – the bonding to our existence – the bonding to our purpose. And without those bonds, it is just bare. Just like the barrenness many of us feel within when we have no bonds even to ourselves. It is just not the right way we are supposed to live our lives.
Bonds are powerful, and yet they are fragile and tender
When we can’t feel the sense of connection in a relationship, we go for separation, divorce, arguments, judgment and resentment. It never feels good to feel disconnected. But we could even feel in love with someone one day and feel totally remote and resentful toward that same person the next day. The feeling can change just by a flick of a finger. And it could be your finger or theirs!
When we feel disconnected
When the relationship is not there, we start seeing problems. We start seeing differences and hindrances. We start sitting upon judgement of others and disapproving them. We exaggerate, concentrate upon, and give energy to such things that we see as problems. Under such a scenario, these problems might turn inwards and inflict pain and disapproval on ourselves. We cannot be fully happy when we have no associations with anything.
Relationship: the Secret to Happiness
What about if we looked at the whole concept in reverse? When we do that we discover this simple truth: we cannot feel unhappy when we are feeling totally connected. It’s impossible!
Try to feel unhappy when we’re feeling connected to the people around us and laughing and sharing wholeheartedly together. Even when we have so-called ‘problems’ in life, we can still laugh together and feel happy and positive when we are feeling connected. At the same time, it is very difficult to enjoy anything if we’re not feeling connected.
Relationship: Our Life .
Relationship is the core of everything. That is what life is. Relationship.
Things are just a combination of smaller parts. Things connect together to form a greater whole; the way our bodies are collections of smaller units, cells, organs, molecules and atoms.
Our acts and the choices we make are the manifestations of our need for bonding. We are designed to persistently search ways to bond to each other and to a larger rationale.
Relationship and Religion
Some of us choose to be part of different religions to feel more connected. The connection they seek could be to God. It could be to the people with the same belief. When we share the same belief, it creates a stronger sense of bonding within that group of people. More giving happens naturally among people who are feeling connected to each other.
Connection and Business
People start a business to feel a stronger relationship to themselves by having better mastery over their destiny. But quite often in the world of entrepreneurship, there is a greater sense of isolation especially when we start seeing other enterprises as rivals, staff as devices and customers as a source of income. With all that, the main reason for getting into the business was to establish a relationship. So why should we cause any secluding at all? Maybe in an ideal world, all enterprises worked in another way, but jointly.
Connection and Wars
Some of us even create arguments or wars to experience some sense of ‘victory’ or supposedly a greater sense of security and significance. But ironically, this rebounds. The moment we ‘win’ the battle, we are actually more disconnected from others. We now need more security to protect ourselves from being attacked by others. We somehow end up being more insecure and afraid. We can’t laugh at this because it actually happens to almost every one of us in different ways.
It may be the arguments we have with people around us. It may be the negative judgement we make when we feel something or someone is wrong. When we try to be the only one to win, we can never win in the real way-we feel disconnected. We can only truly celebrate the victory with others when we win together. Then we feel connected.
No matter how differently we express our needs, everything we do is to fulfil the mere desire we have to feel and be connected.
The full sense of a bonding is realized only through our heart. We can bond with anybody when we are truly concerned about them and feeling that bond with them. If we are conscious of this, giving life to that required state of mind is really easy, uncomplicated and a pleasure. Then we would actually feel more delight and joy.
Life is like a play. We act things and feel things in a play but actually, the aim of the play is to derive pleasure out of it. It is not about acting out things, doing things. When the curtain falls finally, the winners are the ones who have experienced joy by acting. Not the ones who received more applause in the end. The effects and upshots of a play in which we acted do not affect our real life. But if we lost all our life to act in a play just because we wanted to be the best actor there, would it make us the best actor of the play?
It is easy to comprehend this when compared to acting in a play, but we often fail to understand it while enacting the play of life. We do not remember that life is also a play.
Even if we don’t know when this game actually started and when it would end, we know that it somehow started in the past and it will end someday. When we close the lid of the game box eventually one day, can we simply say, “Wow, it was so much fun. Let’s play again!”
In this play called life, the aim of the play is to ‘bond.’ We can keep bonding until we all merge to become one. It is the one way to perpetually feel bonded to our rationale – the feeling of joy and pleasure. We cannot afford to have the bonds to anything weakened or reject and decide even one thing if we are to reach the state of complete bonding.
Life is as simple as that. There is just ONE secret.
And the secret is to connect.
To become ONE.