Happy Hour on the Beach

Life has a Purpose!

I recently had a conversation with a friend and we were discussing the purpose of life.  I am very passionate about people finding their purpose.  Everyone needs to find their purpose and meaning to life, no matter what their faith or beliefs.  I found one happy guy who spends half his time on the beaches of Costa Rica and the other half on the slopes.  Is that a lasting formula for happiness?  Kudos to Surf for Life who have found a way to combine service to others and surfing.

beach happy hour

I recently watched a video about a lady who nearly died of cancer who had a near death experience.  The passion for life and purpose and intent was so incredible.

I LOVE TED talks.  I find so much value in listening to TED talks because the purpose and intent is greater than the speaker.  There are even a few talks that ask… Are you there God?

As I write this I’m watching a little TV.  My wife follows a number of shows and tonight she’s watching “The Apprentice All Stars,” and you can see even Hollywood folks that they want to find real meaning and purpose in their lives and in helping others.  I use to enjoy the end of the Extreme Home Makeover, it was great to see the light in the eyes of the family being helped out, often it was a disabled child with a single parent with piles of bills and worse, but also in the people who were bringing the good news of a new or rebuilt home.

What is the meaning of life?

Since I was young I have read scriptures that have discussed why we are here, and offered up answers “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” [2 Ne. 2:25]

In Sunday school, I learned we came here to gain a body, to essentially have a physical experience.  We wanted more.  God had a plan, and part of that plan was for us to come here on this earth that was prepared for us.  We came to be tested and ultimately to return to him having gained experience.  He wants us to obey him and keep his commandments. Those commandments were given to us to help us return to live with him.  They aren’t designed just to be difficult, but to help give us guidelines and to show our love for Him.  In Christianity, Christ plays a MAJOR role in that plan of happiness in showing us the way to live, and in ultimately sacrificing his life to atone for our sins.  He acts as our mediator with our Heavenly Father in our quest to be with him. 

This understanding of knowing we can be saved through this act by accepting him as our Savior and by keeping his commandments is what brings peace in this life.  These are the simple truths I’ve found.  (John 10:15–18; 1 Cor. 15:51–57; Mosiah 15:6–9; Mosiah 16:7–8.)

More of this plan of happiness is laid out in an article with many references titled “The Purpose of Life.”  Something I like about the article is that it also addresses the flipside of the plan, and why God allows bad things to happen to good people.  How can you really be free from pain and sorry if we hold onto sins and pain of the past?  People who dwell on the past and find themselves victim have a hard time finding peace.

Amulek the great Nephite missionary orator laid out an amazingly well articulated view of the plan of salvation or redemption as he encouraged his people to not procrastinate the day of repentance.  I have personally found repentance is one of the keys to happiness. 

Alma 34:31-33

“31… for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.

32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.

33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity”

I’ve found that most of the world’s religions and even science will teach a person to try to be happy and enrich their life, but often it’s not enough.  It is important for a person to fill their life with things that help them continuously grow.  I reflect on the YouTube videos for kids who struggle with being different and struggle with life challenges.  “It gets better” is their message.  I’d echo that to anyone who is looking for meaning in life or struggling with life’s challenges.  I’d also encourage anyone that is having trouble finding meaning in life, that they are more likely to find meaning in life by loosing it in the service of others.  The times I’ve volunteered at a soup kitchen, or helped someone out, and in my travels looked for someone who needed my help… their is joy and peace in true charity and pure love.  I gathered a few quotes and thoughts from a decent collection of quotes and lines on the Wikipedia article on the “meaning of life” as I have recently done.  I’m finding that some of these references are looser than I’d prefer, and really you need to go a couple of layers deeper in analyzing the world’s religions in understanding them and this does over simplify the messages.

Ancient Greeks

“In Platonism, the meaning of life is in attaining the highest form of knowledge” [and good]

Confucianism

“Because mankind is driven by both positive and negative influences, Confucianists see a goal in achieving virtue through strong relationships and reasoning as well as minimizing the negative.”

General Christianity

“Life’s purpose in Christianity is to seek divine salvation through the grace of God and intercession of Christ.”

Islam

In Islam, man’s ultimate life objective is to worship the creator Allah… Earthly life is merely a test, determining one’s afterlife

Baha’i

To Bahá’ís, the “purpose of life is focused on spiritual growth and service to humanity.”

Zoroastrianism

“By using free will, people must take an active role in the universal conflict, with good thoughts, good words and good deeds to ensure happiness and to keep chaos at bay.”

Hinduism

Existence is conceived as the progression of the ātman (similar to the western concept of a soul) across numerous lifetimes, and its ultimate progression towards liberation from karma

Buddhism

The potential of human life to end suffering, for example through embracing (not suppressing or denying) cravings and conceptual attachments. “Attaining and perfecting dispassion is a process of many levels that ultimately results in the state of Nirvana.”

Sikh

Sikhs balance their moral and spiritual values with the quest for knowledge, and they aim to promote a life of peace and equality but also of positive action. “The Lord dwells in every heart, and every heart has its own way to reach Him.”

Science

“Science may or may not be able to tell us what is of essential value in life (and various materialist philosophies such as dialectical materialism challenge the very idea of an absolute value or meaning of life), but some studies definitely bear on aspects of the question: researchers in positive psychology (and, earlier and less rigorously, in humanistic psychology) study factors that lead to life satisfaction, full engagement in activities, making a fuller contribution by utilizing one’s personal strengths, and meaning based on investing in something larger than the self.”

A favorite irreverent comedy that my parents wouldn’t approve of:

In Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, there are several allusions to the meaning of life. At the end of the film, a character played by Michael Palin is handed an envelope containing “the meaning of life”…  “Well, it’s nothing very special. Uh, try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.”

I hope that is something obvious here as you study this.  I don’t see anything in here about getting your own way and harming others who are trying to do good.  I hope we can respect others of all faiths, and live together in peace and help each other to always look on the bright side of life.

881832_10151565903428783_762244628_o

Advertisements

Is Karma Real? Do good things really happen when you serve?

Stack it up

Stack it up

I had a couple of experiences recently that among others, continue to reinforce divine providence.  We aren’t just here on a rock having human experiences like an animal.  Not to say that even animals don’t have a purpose, because they do.  You can know for yourself that God, Yahweh, Allah, Brahma, the Surpreme being Father, or a higher power exists by simply following the principles contained in Karma or the Golden Rule as explained below.

Interesting enough, many atheists, also believe in a solid foundation of based on mutual respect, even scientific laws of physics nod to the idea.

Newton’s third law, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

I find that simply living these principles or laws you can also find God interacts with his children who serve him.  No better way of finding yourself than in losing yourself in service to others.

The first principal I have to say I firmly believe in is when you do good things, good things will happen to you.  If you help others you will be helped.  You will be blessed.  In many Asian cultures you’ll hear that those that do evil will generate evil around them, and visa versa.  As well, Buddhists believe that you will suffer for those things you’ve done that bring pain or take advantage of others.

I like the simplicity of how Karma is spelled out in Wikipedia.  These quotes below are from the Karma wikipedia article.  The word Karma is most often associated with Eastern traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and more.

“Karma is the law that brings back the results of actions to the person performing them.”

“Some traditions, believe that a supreme being plays some kind of role, for example, as the dispenser of the ‘fruits’ of karma.” Humans act with  free will creating their own destiny. According to the Vedas, if one sows goodness, one will reap goodness; if one sows evil, one will reap evil.”

The Christian world believes as well in the teachings that you should do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.  There are similar quotes in nearly all the world’s religions.  See more about the “Golden Rule.”  I have to agree that this is a true principal, and gospel and one that should be practiced outwardly.  We need to find the opportunity to help others.  Pass it forward!

Here’s a great list of quotes from world religions all supporting similar principles.

Baha’i: “Desire not for anyone the things that ye would not desire for yourselves.” Baha Ulla LXVI

Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18

Christianity: “Do for others what you want them to do for you.” Matthew 7:12

Confucianism: “Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” Analects 15:23

Hinduism: “Never do to others what would pain thyself.” Panchatantra 111.104

Islam: “Do unto all people as you would they should do unto you, and reject for others what you would reject for yourself.” Mishkat-el-Masabih

Jainism: “In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” Lord Mahavira, 6th Century BC

Judaism: “What is hateful to you do not to your neighbour. That is the entire law..” Talmud, Shabbat 314

Native American: “Respect for all life is the foundation.” The Great Law of Peace

Sikhism: “Treat others as thou would be treated thyself.” Adi Granth

Taoism: “Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain and your neighbours loss as your own loss.” T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien

Unitarian: “We affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and the interdependent web of all existence…”

Zoroanastrianism: “That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself.” Dadistan-I-Dinik, 94:5

Today I had an incredible experience that definitely helps reinforce the principle.  A lot of what is important to understand is not just that you should do this or that, but that you will be blessed in this life and in the one to come based on the good you bring into the world.  You reap what you sow!  Law of the harvest, one of the oldest principles on the earth.  Now don’t be offended or hurt if you have a few weeds in your garden, or if a storm comes… don’t curse God.

people watch and few act

People Watch and Few Act

I was travelling from Central America today and while parting with a friend who I’d spent the last week with we were approached by a lady who was disheveled and distraught.  She said “Delta?”  I replied back, “Where are you going?”

We were in the International terminal, in Atlanta, the world’s busiest airport.  It was obvious to me that this poor lady was overwhelmed and needed help.  My friend asked to see her boarding card, and she pulled it out.  Pittsburg, I looked up on the board with hundreds of flights and saw there were 2 flights, and narrowed it down based on her flight number.  She was going to the first flight to Pittsburg, boarding in about 10 minutes and needed to get from Terminal E to Terminal A on the train, and then go all the way down to gate A2, the last gate in the terminal.  A Delta representative also happened on to the situation and rattled off the gate and pointed in the direction of the train and told her to turn right after going down the stairs.  I looked up my flight and saw I also going to A2 at a much later time.  I said my goodbyes to my friend and rushed down to the train.

After a couple of minutes I saw the lady arrive and say, “Aqui?” (Here)  “Si,” (Yes) I replied.  We both entered the train, and I watched from a couple people away.  I saw her eyes tear up.  She was visibly upset.  Knowing we were going to the same place, but not trying to freak her out, I pointed at her and myself and said, “Vamos.” (We go).  Each stop of the train she’d look over at me, and I’d gesture to stay onboard the train.  Finally it was our stop, we left the train together and walked up the huge escalator.

To break the ice a little, I replied “grande airopuerto.”  (Big Airport).  As we walked down the terminal toward the gate she struggled with her bags, and I’m sure all sorts of things were going through her head.  Who was this guy??  As we walked I explained I spoke “Un poquito Espanol.” (A little Spanish.) It was obvious to me, she didn’t speak very much english at all.

After another 10 minutes of walking we arrived at the gate.  The plane was already boarding.  She looked at me, to see if I thought it was ok to board.  Overhead I heard them say first class and executive.  I asked to see her boarding pass.  She was in Zone 3.  “Zone Tres.” I explained. I pointed at those boarding… Zone Uno. (Zone 1).  When it was her time to board, I shook her hand and said “Adios” (Goodbye.)  In the many words in Spanish she said, I heard “Gracias.”

Man it felt good.  As she got up to the ticket counter going through the extensive line, I saw a final turn to see if I was still there.  I waved.  A warm feeling came over me.  It felt awesome to help her out.  Having travelled to over 100 countries, I have rarely had the opportunitity to reciprocate all of the hundreds of impromptu assistance I’ve received.  Even in this last week I’m sure I must have had dozens of people that took time out of their days to hear my broken pigeon “spanglish,” (mix of English and Spanish) and I was the one in the group that spoke the best Spanish.  A few weeks ago I was in Spanish Morocco and got around with a driver who spoke no English.  I really loved the challenge of trying to get around with only Spanish learned in a year and a half of high school Spanish class, which I struggled to get a passing grade.  I did enjoy the course, but didn’t have a very good foundation.  Seemed like a lot of memorization, but what I’ve found is it’s the context and for me it’s more about experiences that help enforce and help me learn.

Pay it forward.  We will be blessed for doing good and helping others.  Find a way to serve.  There’s no better way to secure your place in the hereafter, and let me convince you… there is a life after this life.