Life Requires Grounding in the Supernatural

prayer GIF

We only live once in this world. As rational beings, we are creators of meaning. What makes our life meaningful would depend on our ultimate goal we set for our self. This ultimate goal we envision for our life is what basically guides us in our daily living. Its achievement can ultimately make us happy. The quality of our happiness would depend on our ultimate goal in life.

sad over it GIF

If our ultimate purpose is to seek wealth, then our happiness would consist of gaining profit in our investments, increasing savings, achieving dominance in the market, creating new breakthroughs in business innovation, etc.

jerry maguire money GIF

If our ultimate purpose is to chase pleasure in food, sex, alcohol, or other forms of addition, then our happiness will be enjoying and prolonging pleasure in our bodily senses.

alejandro jodorowsky party GIF by Endless Poetry

If our basic aim is to love for God by serving others, then happiness would be spiritual consolation and the joy of serving God’s poor and underprivileged. If our aim is to change society for the better by fighting oppressive social structures and regimes, then our ultimate happiness can consist of personal joy upon seeing that some of our reform efforts are realized in society. In short, the ultimate purpose we set for our life can determine the quality of our happiness in daily living.

julia roberts films GIF

Almost all philosophers agree that to live a meaningful life requires grounding on something supernatural that transcends the self. It requires a deeper reflection and question on where we came from and where we’re going to in our life. Finding the ultimate meaning and purpose of our life is crucial in order to provide focus and happiness in our daily living. Drifting in life without a philosophy or sense of purpose that guides us in daily living is tragic. Without an ultimate goal and a sense of meaning of what we do everyday in life could not provide us with a true and lasting joy and happiness.

fast and furious car GIF

We know that material happiness is fleeting and temporary. A person who love cars, for instance, would be happy to acquire a new one. But after a few days the feeling of excitement and pleasure of having a new car would surely evaporate that lead to another craving or desire for another fantastic car that he or she can boast of to friends and society.

hot tub party GIF

Or if one’s happiness is based on pleasure such as food, sex, drugs, or pornography, the material joy is indeed fleeting and endless. He or she may end up spending his/her entire life chasing the insatiable want of the human senses. This is hedonism and materialism: “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we will die!” Surely life is more than what we eat and consume! Thus, we need to search for higher spiritual values in life than mere pleasure seeking and material satisfaction.

peace meditating GIF

The need for grounding one’s life in something supernatural is supported by some research studies of social sciences and sociology on resilience. People who are religious with strong spirituality are more resilient or able to “bounce back” during disasters and tragedies in life than non-religious.

strong we can do it GIF by buzzfeedladylike

They are also more able to withstand the vicissitudes of life and able to face serious problems with peace and humility since they have strong faith in a Supreme being and know that their ultimate destination is beyond the earthly life.

little things fun GIF by Aum

britney spears jesus GIF

Enjoy the little things in your life and be contented. Christ loves you!

mohing GIF

Thank you for reading this post. Subscribe or follow for more updates.

 

Anthony Bourdain’s Suicide and the Limits of Popularity

The tragic death and suicide of the Anthony Bourdain this week is an eye-opener for some of us who want fame, wealth, and popularity at all costs.

Anthony Bourdain is an American celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian, and CNN television personality who starred in programs focusing on the exploration of international culture, cuisine, and human condition. He was considered one of the most influential chefs in the world by many commentators. He first became known for his 2000 bestselling book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventurers in the Culinary Underbelly”.

To many people,  Bourdain had enjoyed all the fame and material rewards due to top celebrities idolized by millions of admirers. But only few people, most probably only his closest friends and relatives, knew what he had actually gone through in his private life. Since celebrities appear happy in front of TV cameras and usually secretive about their personal life, we assume that their being rich and famous is the ideal goal in life.

But things are not what they seem. What appears from the outside may not be from the inside.

The irony of public life is that the more people become popular to the public because of their extraordinary talents and abilities, the more they lose their freedom and ability to mingle around with the poor, ordinary people, and their fans without fear of being hurt and lowering their social stature. Many people aspire to be like Anthony Bourdain, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, and all other top celebrities because they are praised by millions of fans around the world. But they may not be fully aware that to be rich and popular implies moving more to your own private life and inner sanctuary to find peace and consolation with your loved ones and away from the noise of screaming fans. It also requires nurturing a strong social bonding with their inner circle of friends which can reduce the risk of committing suicide.

People’s lives have two dimensions: The public and the private.

In the public sphere we project ourselves based on what our bosses, managers, or producers and directors, in the case of show business, who will tell us what to do in our jobs. The public arena is the stage of our public performance but the private sphere is our backstage where we return to our true selves and meet our own family and inner circle of friends, and relatives.

Life can be ironic. Anthony Bourdain and the rest of the celebrities may had appear happy with their fans and people who surrounded them, but in reality all that transpired could be just for the show dictated by directors, scriptwriters and producers. If Bruno Mars, for instance, could appear very happy singing in front of his adoring fans during his concert. But after that? He could return lonely to his hotel if he has no intimate and loyal friends and relatives who would support him outside his public performance. Robin Williams, another famous actor who committed suicide, could be indeed very funny and appear joyful to his fans in the movie or TV screens, but deep indeed as a private person he was lonely and hurting inside and longing for genuine love from people who surrounded him. But this seemed not his case when Williams once said:

Anthony Bourdain’s life was not easy. Although he was successful in his career part of life, he was a lonely man in private life. Before he became famous, he struggled against his drug addiction and alcoholism. He was a chef in a huge mega city of New York where social alienation is high. He was not also successful in his married life, being divorced twice. Research shows that men tend to suffer emotionally more than women after breakups or divorce. He probably hurting privately with all his past marital separations. Bourdain only has one child. If he has many children who are very supportive to him despite these divorces, he would not probably commit suicide.

Celebrities are actually lonely in front of “lonely crowd” during their public performances.  Loneliness would even be greater if celebrities do not have their own supportive inner circle of family members, close relatives, and friends who could console them in times of personal crisis and trouble. The social integration theory of Emile Durkheim states the level of social integration of people with their social groups is connected with the risk of suicide. The more people are attached with their social groups, such as family, peer, kin, or organization, the lesser is their risk of committing suicide. Communal support  can prevent depression and egoistic suicide.

Celebrities can be prone to depression and suicide if they have a weak social bonding with their social groups. Some rich and famous are able to manage stress and pressure in their public life as celebrities because they are able to maintain their strong bonding with their families and friends who provide a strong support system to their work and career.

Bourdain’s death can provide us an important lesson: Life is not all about popularity and material success! Life is being and not having. Whatever blessings we receive in life must not hinder us from searching and pursuing a spirituality and finding the true meaning of life beyond material happiness. Bourdain became very busy after he became a celebrity that he found less time to enjoy life with his loved ones. In one of his interviews, he longed to be just a father to his daughter, to enjoy the moment of being just a dad, not a celebrity! Spiritual joy is therefore more lasting than material happiness! What makes smile in our journey to the next life is not our material success and popularity, but the joy and happy memories we have created with our loved ones and with people we care about.

Thank you for reading this post. Follow this blog for more updates.

Is Material Happiness Lasting?

pexels-photo-761854.jpeg

It has been said that happiness is a state of mind and a relative term. Our views on happiness are determined by our mental frames which are reflections of our own cultural orientation as members of a particular community. For Christians, happiness is not only limited to material happiness. The Christian concept of happiness goes beyond the material world and satisfaction of our sensual needs. In fact, the Church’s teaching on the 7 deadly or cardinal sins includes gluttony. The word “gluttony” comes from the Latin word gula which is derived from gluttire which means “to gulp down or swallow”. Gluttony is the inordinate, over-indulgence, and over-consumption of food, drink, or material things that provide much pleasure to the body.

pexels-photo-376464.jpeg

The Church does not discourage people to enjoy consumer goods that provide pleasure and material happiness to people. But consumption must be done in moderation. As embodied beings, we are entitled to the enjoyment of God’s creation and human goods and services. But we must avoid inordinate attachment, i.e., our life is not tied up with material goods, we don’t crave for things that are unnecessary in life and detrimental to our spiritual life with God.

pexels-photo-415380.jpeg

In Church teaching, happiness is, above, spiritual in nature. True happiness is spiritual joy of being in the state of grace and of knowing that one is following God’s will. The happiness of parents of seeing their children praying or doing their duties in school is spiritual joy that last in their memories even after death. The consolation we experience when we pray to God is spiritual joy that can propel us to be with the divine in the afterlife. In other words, spiritual happiness is lasting, while material happiness is fleeting.

 

The Limits of Material Joy

 

Material happiness has limits. We may have achieved our personal goals. We may have acquired much wealth and fame, but the end of the day we still remain mortal and moving towards our own death. The great Steve Jobs may have reached the pinnacle of success in business and innovation for co-founding the tech giant Apple. But when he was stricken with cancer and was dying, he acknowledged what that lingers in people’s memory are not achievements, pleasures, and material success in life, but the loving memories of the things we care about that make our loved ones and other people happy. In other words, he is referring to our spiritual joys which are indeed lasting!

pexels-photo-723031.jpeg

Material happiness is like eating our favorite cuisine. After we have savored it and satisfied our craving, the sense of pleasure immediately vanishes. And it is only a matter of minutes that we crave again for another type to continue the pleasure of eating. Some Roman gluttons were said to intentional vomit the food they just ate in order to feel hungry again and to continue to feel the pleasure of tasting their sumptuous meal.

pexels-photo-358070.jpeg

The fleeting moment of material satisfaction can also be illustrated in buying a new luxury car. After using it a couple of days or would probably after a week, the excitement and pleasure of driving our dream car would immediately subside. And the desire of acquiring a new car which is better than the previous model would probably surface in our dreams.  We enter into an endless cycle of craving and pleasure to satisfy our insatiable material desires. This also the case of people who find happiness in sex, drugs, and other forms of material pleasure. The material happiness is indeed very temporary.

family.jpg

Contrast this material pleasure with spiritual joy and happiness of helping and loving our loved one and people who are in need. Our loving memories of the good we do to others do not just fade away in our consciousness but can linger even up to our last breath. That’s why people capture memorable moments in selfies, groupies, posts, videos, digital photos and pictures to remind them of their treasured happy memories. This is not say that we should disregard our material desires and suppressed them altogether, but we have to be conscious of their limits and not be imprisoned by our inordinate attachment to material pleasures, thereby losing sight of our spiritual journey in life.

pexels-photo-356842.jpeg

Seeing life from the point of view of death has been recommended by great saints and thinkers. St. Ignatius of Loyola, for instance, recommended a meditation on death to make us more humble and see the limitations of our being or what the great philosopher Martin Heidegger calls a human person as a “being-towards-death”, and to feel our vulnerability on the face of death and remove the last vintages of pride within us.

 

Again, Steve Jobs is one of the most innovative and charismatic leader in the American business world and has been idolized by millions of his fans worldwide for his technological innovation and vision and for co-founding Apple and its innovative products. And yet, he has acknowledged the limits of success and accumulation of wealth. In the face of death, everything fades except our loving memories of people.  In our dying bed we recall these memories and thank our God for giving us the spiritual grace of genuinely loving other people, especially our family and friends or whoever that touched our life deeply.

pexels-photo.jpeg Praise God for reading this post. If you feel that this post can help others, press click share! I pray that God will always guide you in your daily activities. God bless! Photo credit: Pexels.com free photos

 

Continue reading “Is Material Happiness Lasting?”

What is Life & Happiness?

adult-american-blond-1061580
Web Hosting

        Do we really know where we are going to in life? The following lines of the song of Diana Ross entitled “Do You Know Where You’re Going To” are loaded with philosophical and sociological meanings that can challenge us to find the ultimate meaning and happiness of our life:

     “Do you know where you’re going to,
     Do you like the things that life is showing you,
     Where are you going to,’
     Do you know?…”

Happiness Depends on Our Ultimate Life Goal

mom and baby

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We only live once in this world. As rational beings, we are creators of meaning. What makes our life meaningful would depend on our ultimate goal. The primary goal we envision for our life is what basically guides us in our daily living. Its achievement can ultimately make us happy. The quality of our happiness would fundamentally depend on this life goal. If our supreme purpose is to seek wealth, then our happiness would consist of gaining profit in our investments, increasing savings, achieving dominance in the market, creating new breakthroughs in business innovation, etc. If our ultimate purpose is to chase pleasure in food, sex, alcohol, or other forms of addictions, then our happiness will be enjoying and prolonging pleasure in our bodily senses. If our basic aim is to love God by serving others, then happiness would be spiritual consolation and the joy of serving God’s poor and underprivileged. If our aim is to change society according to our ideology or political beliefs, by fighting oppressive social structures and regimes, then our primary happiness would consist of personal joy of seeing that some of our reforms are realized in society. In short, our ultimate life goal can define the quality of our happiness.

Our view and enjoyment of happiness, however, can change through time. We are historical beings. Our ultimate life goal change as we continually search for the true meaning and value of life. That is why we hear conversion stories of people who have found their true meaning of life and change their original life goals.  St. Augustine of Hippo, for instance, was a true sinner and womanizer before his conversion to Catholicism. But after he found Christ in the Gospels as the true meaning of his life, his personal life radically changed, from being a pleasure seeker to being an avid servant of Christ and a great theologian of the Catholic Church. In his famous book, The Confessions, St. Augustine declared the basic orientation of his life: “My heart is restless until it rests in you, O Lord!”

Happiness as Cultural

People from various walks of life can have different goals and philosophies in life. Thus, one may inquire: Which ultimate goals in life are “superior” or more sublime than others?  Is serving God or humanity a superior goal and object of happiness in life than seeking pleasure, chasing wealth, fighting for social reforms or some other noble or religious purposes?

IMG_0376

Photo: “Sunset” by the author

Well, the unintended consequence of becoming human is to be born in a particular set of parents and community and to grow up in a particular culture. We neither choose where we must be born nor control how we should be brought up as a human being in society by our parents or guardians during our formative years i.e., from infanthood to early adolescence, which is said to be crucial for our personality formation. Social scientists believe that each culture is as good as the other. Thus, there is no “inferior” culture and cultural conception of what constitutes a meaningful life. Culture plays an important role in constituting one’s ultimate goal in life. If one is brought in a capitalist culture which puts more value on material prosperity rather than spiritual pursuit, he or she would more likely see the ultimate goal of his or her life in terms of material pursuit rather than in terms of service and growth in holiness. If one is born in a primitive society and culture where following tradition and communal goals supersedes personal ambitions, then the individual life goals would more likely reflect the collective goals. If one is born in a criminal sub-culture where people in the neighborhood are members of criminal syndicates and often talk of deviant techniques and criminal exploits, then expect the members of this neighborhood to pursue criminal careers and see prosperity through crime as the ultimate purpose in life. Unless there is external intervention or socialization on non-criminal or religious pursuits, individuals within this subculture could never be converted to other forms of lifestyle and non-criminal worldviews. Thus, it is crucial for individuals to think outside the box and explore other worldviews through education to go beyond the limitations of one’s sub-culture in understanding the ultimate purpose of life. Some people change their worldviews and goals in life by mere reading of books. St. Ignatius of Loyola, for example, was converted from a hedonist soldier to a spiritual mystic and founder of the Society of Jesus, the largest religious orders of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church, by accidentally reading the book of the saints while recuperating from a serious wound in a castle in Spain and asking himself: If the saints can do great things for Christ, why can’t I?

Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to like, comment, and share this post. God bless!

Life, Memories, and Happiness

 

pexels-photo-277371.jpeg

What has passed will never be repeated again. Life and time unfold swiftly. If we just follow the labyrinth and race of daily life and refuse to pause and reflect for a while to know where we are actually leading to in life and why we are doing all the things that we do, we would probably miss the essentials and beauty of life.

Jack ma

Photo credit: bornrealist.com

The Chinese billionaire and founder of the global retail giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, once said: “Life is so short. Don’t be so serious about work. Enjoy the lives.” Although a very busy man himself, Jack Ma knows that life is more important than work, that “being is more important than doing” in life. Another saying states: “Work, but don’t forget to live!” So if we are so preoccupied with work and worldly affairs and neglect to reflect on our life, we would miss to appreciate the beauty and nobility of living!

pexels-photo-377058.jpeg

Ultimately, what will probably linger in our minds in our dying moments are not our achievement, popularity, and recognition but our loving memories of people whom we have touched and loved and significant events that reminded us of the beauty of life. What would probably make us smile as we struggle our last breath are the good old days when we felt happy that we shared our life with others and achieved our earthly goals!

people-children-child-happy-160946.jpeg

We only live once in this world. As rational beings, we are creators of meaning. What makes our life meaningful would depend on our ultimate goal we set for our lives. This ultimate goal, we envision for our life is what basically guides us in our daily living. Its achievement can ultimately make us happy.

The quality of our happiness would depend on our ultimate purpose in life. If our ultimate goal is to seek wealth, then our happiness will eventually consist of gaining more profit in our investments, increasing savings, achieving dominance in the market, creating new breakthroughs in business innovation, etc. If our ultimate purpose is to chase pleasure in food, sex, alcohol, or other forms of addiction, then our happiness will consist of enjoying and prolonging pleasure in our bodily senses.

pexels-photo-267559.jpeg

If our basic aim is to love God by serving others, then happiness can consist of spiritual consolation or joy that we have served the God’s poor and underprivileged. In the gospel, Christ assured us that He’ll prepare a place in His Father’s home for those who serve Him faithfully.

pexels-photo-767276.jpeg

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.…” (John 14:1-3).

The ultimate purpose we set for our life can determine the quality of our happiness in our daily living….LIFE BECOMES MORE MEANINGFUL IF WE SEE THE CONTINGENT FROM THE ULTIMATE, OUR DAILY AFFAIRS FROM OUR ULTIMATE GOAL IN LIFE!

Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to like, comment, and share this post. You are also invited to sign up in our newsletter, leave a message, or follow this blog! For the greater glory of God!

Photo credit for all photos except on Jack Ma: Pexels free photos.com