What is the difference between a meaningful life and a happy life? Is not a happy life meaningful too? Not necessarily. Conversely, it has been found in studies that poor people can find happiness in life easily when their basic needs are met with. But the richer the country becomes, the more the mind is evolved and people try to find meaning in life, and the more frustrated they become.
Last year, Donald Trump’s son had come to India and he commented that one can see the poorest of the poor in India and there is still a smile on the face. Whereas, “some of the most successful businessmen in the world are the most miserable people in the world.”
This reverse relation of affluence and happiness is very interesting. Probably our chief goal in life should never be happiness because happiness is ephemeral, and it won’t help you overcome life’s tragic incidents. If happiness cannot be the goal, then what should be? Actually, the goal changes with the stacks of money people have. Rich people want to find meaning in life. They are more educated, and therefore more critical in their thinking, more individualistic, their intellectual needs are more refined than the financially deprived. If a government wants to increase its residents’ meaning in life and prevent suicide, then improving economic prosperity alone does not seem to help achieve these goals. People need something higher than that. As society becomes wealthier, religion becomes less central to people’s life. As religion becomes less central, more people lose a sense of meaning in life. So what will help them find meaning? A life of awareness, consciousness, and playfulness.
When Osho was asked about the meaning of life, he said, “We assume that everything must have a meaning. But doesn’t it occur to you that if everything had a meaning, life would be so rotten that you cannot even imagine it? In life, whatever is beautiful, is without a reason. Whatever is beautiful is purposeless. If I love someone and I start asking the meaning of love, then that love has disappeared. If we understand things in the language of reason, then life will become very sad and useless. All the happiness of life exists only in those things which are purposeless. A person is dancing. What is the purpose? He says dancing itself is the purpose. Someone is singing a song. What is the purpose? He says singing itself is the purpose. The birds are singing in the morning and flying high in the sky. What is the purpose of this? Flying itself is blissful; there is no other meaning.”
“Why should there be a purpose in the first place? What is the need for everything to have a meaning? My understanding is the opposite. My understanding is that as our awareness deepens, even things we thought had a purpose start becoming purposeless. And in the end, the whole world becomes just a play, a leela. Purpose doesn’t exist, only the play is left. But our minds don’t accept play, they accept work. There is a difference between work and play. Work has a purpose; play doesn’t have a purpose.”?
“The strange thing is that we get bothered by work, and yet we only accept the concept of work, of purpose. Even when we are playing, we want to turn it into work. Children are playing and they don’t understand why you are asking them what it is for. Playing is enough in itself, it is sufficient. Beyond that, there is no question!”
Amrit Sadhana is editor of Osho Times International. She facilitates meditation workshops based on Osho insights around the country and abroad....