“Do not ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman
Although many do not really believe it is possible to achieve, most people seek happiness and wish to live peaceful, secure and contented lives. Yet, the reality is that an incredibly high – and increasing – number of people never come anywhere near to that.
The quest for being happy is actually a quest for being ‘alive’. Most people live mechanical lives dominated by social constraints, cultural norms and personal habits. They go to school, study, get married, earn, fight, compete, eat certain types of food and watch certain types of entertainments simply because everyone else does it. They never sit and ask themselves the question of what they really, truly, want.
To be alive is to be awake, alert, energized and conscious of your creativity; it is being aware, trusting and manifesting your personal truth, your uniqueness and the real aspiration of your heart; it is to live with authenticity, with passion and a sense of ‘mission’; with truthfulness and love and meaning and purpose and a sense of inner freedom or detachment which is the condition of humor and lightness of spirit.
I remember when I was 18 and left the family home in Africa to pursue further studies in France, I was feeling this very strong call for becoming ‘alive’. Without really knowing how or why, I was feeling I was not living my life as I should live it. I was yearning for freedom and feeling locked in a cage which was actually nowhere to be seen because I was living in a ‘free’ society. Yet, I discovered later that the cage was inside my mind. It had been built by years of education, of conditioning and exposure to the ways of my culture. It was the worldview I had been ‘educated’ or compelled to adopt.
I do not believe you can really be happy if you remain within the constraints of the herd mentality. I do not believe you can be powerful or effective if are not able to understand yourself and engage your intelligence, talents and energy in an activity whose purpose is more than survival or selfish gains. I do not believe you can really feel good about yourself if your life is not meaningful, useful and beneficial to others.
Many people equate happiness with possessions, position, fame or money and appear to be externally successful – but are they really happy? Yes, if they have developed a sound character, built fulfilling relationships and done something good for others. No if their happiness is solely dependent on their achievements. Money, external power and fame can buy pleasure but there is a fundamental difference between pleasure and happiness – and the currency of happiness is the quality, the strength, the integrity and the generosity of your character.
- Come alive! (wayofthehummingbird.wordpress.com)