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mindfulness: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LIFE?

Marcus Hamill

For a question that’s plagued the greatest minds since the beginning of time, I think the answer is remarkably simple… happiness. For me, the whole purpose of life is cultivating happiness. But don’t just take my word for it, have a look at what the Dalai Lama and John Lennon have to say on the matter…


“One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not: What is the purpose of life? From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness”
– Dalai Lama XIV

“When I was 5 years old my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I wrote down happy. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life”
– John Lennon

So simple that even a 5 year old can understand it. So why does life get so hard? Why are so many people so unfulfilled? Why do so many people seem to feel that life is meaningless?

It’s not that we don’t instinctively understand that the key to life is happiness; it’s simply that we’re looking for fulfilment in all the wrong places. When we chase happiness in the external world, through relationships, careers, achievements and the like, we subject ourselves to an ever changing set of circumstances and desires and our degree of happiness is at the mercy of things we can’t control.

True contentment is an internal state cultivated by meditation and mindfulness. In this sense, searching for happiness in the external world is akin to the ocean reaching out to the rain for wetness.

When we realise that true contentment is found within, we no longer carry neediness into the world, for there is nothing we actually need for our fulfilment. This is not to say that we don’t get pleasure from the world. To the contrary, the pleasure we get is in direct proportion to our level of fulfilment.

So, if you want to change your life, forget about the endless attempts at rearranging your external situations and go straight to the source, then watch as something remarkable begins to happen. I see it time and time again with my students. We change our state of mind and the external world begins to rearrange itself, just the way we desire.

– Marcus

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{Pics: Zadig & Voltaire}

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