I finally realized why our cultural focus on happiness bothers me. At first, I thought it was because I’m stuck in my own life and not happy, tainting my perspective. No doubt that is part of my challenge. But today, reading about Einstein’s letters to his daughter (about love being the most powerful force in the world), I had a new insight.
To me, pursuing happiness is reflective of our cultural bias toward personal gain and an individualistic approach to life. We value our personal health, happiness, and freedom above all else. Corporations live for profit and growth. We’re growing and consuming the planet into disaster. As a species we live and express mostly from the masculine, mind, ego, self perspective.
I see many clues that pursuing happiness and personal gain are not the answer. Since the 1950s in the US, we have grown in personal wealth, house size, incomes, and personal development, yet, we are less satisfied overall. Around the world, the happiest people are often those with less material lives. Additionally, in the 2020 happiness ranking of countries, 6 of the top 10 are socialist countries with a strong focus on public good.
I believe pursuing happiness puts our ladder on the wrong wall. It points us toward self centered behavior. Plus, happiness can be elusive when we pursue it. Here is a post called The Meaning of Happiness which explores how pursuing meaning and purpose are better than pursuing happiness. Research has shown that lasting contentment comes from a life of meaning rather than one of happiness.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting happiness or personal development are bad, but they might not be the best goals or ways to orient our lives. We need people, relationships, and love to survive and grow. Our self oriented lives have led us to a world in crisis; full of division, pandemic, hate, war, extreme wealth gaps, starvation, corporations ruling the world, acidifying oceans full of plastic, climate change, and mass species extinction. Isn’t this enough evidence that we need to orient our lives differently?
Love is inherently selfless and based on relationship. Fungi are the very foundation of life on earth and researchers suggest we would benefit from learning to live like fungi who build networks for sharing resources. They believe humans need to evolve to a more connected and collaborative way of living. We need to work together for the common good, creating new ways of living that transcend our personal needs and wants.
If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer. ~ Albert Einstein
What if we made our purpose to live for the greater good?
We could make choices, take action, and live based on helping each other and the planet. I stand with the teachers, gurus, and peaceniks who remind us the power of love. Let’s embrace the feminine, heart centered, group oriented way of living for the good of all. We truly need each other as Einstein and countless spiritual teachers remind us, and love is always the answer.
When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life. ~ Albert Einstein
Will you join me in upgrading to love, making love our purpose and priority?
#UpgradingToLove, #LoveIsTheAnswer, #Love