My goal in life? The meaning of life, you mean? Who cares?
Is there anything we can do about it anyway? So, why bother? Is my life going to change if I give it more attention or any attention at all? Pursuing happiness, I guess?
All these and many other similar responses quite explain why we barely ever touch this topic throughout our life. It seems we have been able to reduce this colossal question to a vague guess or a shoulder shrug. It also feels as if there is some underlying fear to formulating the question, let alone delving into it. So, what is this fear? Fear of change perhaps? Fear of the Truth? Or are we totally convinced we will never get close to knowing it and therefore we have decided this is just a big waste of our valuable time? What most of us ignore is that identifying our goal in life and living according to it may save us a good deal of emotional upheavals and many unwanted health problems.
In the Hindu tradition, there are four different facets or aims of human life: Kama, Artha, Dharma, and Moksha. These four aims are neither independent nor non-exclusive and happen together in various degrees of intensity, one normally shining over the others. Each one of them is also seen as a step along the way in our pursuit for the ultimate goal and therefore they are all essential in our development as human beings.
Kama relates to emotional fulfillment, sex, pleasure, love, and desire for material things while Artha is more about career, wealth, prosperity, recognition, success, and fame. These two, without proper understanding of their role in the broader meaning of human life, are the cause of numerous imbalances such as stress, anxiety, cardio vascular conditions, traumas, obesity, sleep problems and a long list of physical ailments. Why is that? Because a selfish approach here involves continuous action which fuels the flames of karma bringing unwanted effects back on us. In The House of Dharma, these imbalances are treated through proper diet and lifestyle, use of herbs and oils, detoxification programs, relaxation techniques, and a strong sadhana practice in the case of spiritual seekers.
Dharma, which has multiple meanings depending on the context, is used here as vocation, that is, living according to your destiny in a lawful, virtuous, harmonious and compassionate way. When we live according to these principles, our imbalances reduce in number and intensity as we succeed at controlling our senses and desires thus stopping the creation of new karma, at least to a certain extent.
Living your dharma means you have agreed to your role in the universe and as you feed the divine mechanism so you are properly fed. Not knowing what to do with your life is one of the main imbalances at this level along with low
self-esteem, negating who we are, and inability to express our real nature. This often translates into digestive problems, auto-immune diseases, depression, and sadness that can be treated through counseling techniques such as the Integration of the Self, which includes proper living, identification of your mission in life, development of
discrimination and detachment, and removal of programs that contaminate the mind and our vision of life. Introduction to a specific meditation depending on the individual is also an important tool not to be omitted.
The fourth and higher aim of life is no other than Moksha, popularly known as liberation. Few individuals gamble with this goal as it involves putting a stop to the life-rebirth cycle. Basically, it means absolute detachment from life itself or, in other words, a pure and strong desire of not becoming an earthling again. The path to Moksha meanders through the understanding of the real nature of the Self, integration of discrimination and ultimate detachment on a daily basis, identification and removal of mental and emotional programs, and embracing the silence of meditation. Depression, addictions, despair, and mental problems may happen if moksha is not properly understood.
Understanding the aims of life and living them according to their higher purpose invariably leads to a more profound and richer experience as well as a calmer and more balanced attitude towards the challenges of this mysterious game. Identify your goal, learn how to properly work towards it, and see how it can help you in your development as a human being. And don’t be afraid to pop the question: “What’s the meaning of life?” to yourself or in public, somebody will respond.