Even before Covid-19 spread like a brush fire across the globe, we were approaching a downturn. The media pretended as if there were many more treats to find out there, but despite the smokescreen, we were inching toward the end nonetheless. We will not be happy living on a colony in Mars; we will not be happy because there is a new president; we will not be happy because our car is electric and our energy comes from renewable sources, or because we’re eating vegetarian burgers or lab-grown meat. We will be happy only when we take responsibility for our lives and stop focusing only on ourselves.
We are approaching the truth. The desires that previously drove us into action are gradually losing their charm. We still want money, fame, and power, but people’s willingness to make the necessary effort to acquire them seems to be waning. These aren’t lazy people; they are simply more aware than others that such achievements will not make them happy. And if they can’t be happy having those things, why bother getting them?
However, something has to satisfy us! Without satisfaction, we don’t feel alive! Today, many people have already given up on finding satisfaction in wealth, power, or fame, yet do not find a substitute ambition, and therefore sink into hopelessness, which then becomes depression. Others try extreme sports, excessive eating, or eccentric sexual habits, but these are all stages toward relinquishing these interests, too. Even religion, which used to be one’s most secure haven from life’s apparent meaninglessness, no longer seems that promising.
Eventually, when we have exhausted all the options, and the media’s promise of potential joy no longer fools us, nor any other enticement, we will find ourselves clueless as to what will make us happy, what will make life seem worthwhile. That moment, when we hit rock bottom, is a eureka moment. At that moment, when we find that nothing can please us, we stop looking only at ourselves. This is when we truly see that there are others, a whole world outside of us that has been waiting for us to look outside rather than only inwards.
This is when we stop asking about the meaning of life because every moment becomes filled with meaning and purpose. The opportunity to feel others, to connect, share, and care, expands our narrow horizons to such an extent that we discover infinite desires we can satisfy.
When we exert to realize our own dreams, we often remain dissatisfied. Moreover, even when we do achieve our goals, they usually stop satisfying us shortly after we accomplish them. Contrary to that pattern, when we seek to connect with others and cater to their needs, the work, and the achievement, are both satisfying. Think about it; have you ever done something for someone and didn’t feel good about it?
There is a good reason for it: When you give, you grow, you become more than just yourself; you connect to the person you give, and something of that person becomes you. All of life, the entire universe is connected. When you adopt that frame of mind, you, too, become connected, similar to your surroundings. By this, you connect with everything around you. Then, even if you’re unaware of it, your surroundings begin to energize you. This is why givers are never depressed and never hopeless. Just as people grow up when they become parents, so we must now grow and become parents of the world around us. We can only gain from the transformation.