Happiness B4 Fulfillment?

by Christopher Lovejoy on March 7, 2021

Fulfilled? I just wanna be happy!

I have sensed a bit of confusion around what it means to be happy, and what it means to be fulfilled.

Certainly, fulfillment implies “the completion of desire,” just as fulfilling implies “desire on the way to completion,” but if I am fulfilled, does this not mean that I am happy? And if I am happy, does this not mean that I am fulfilled? What is happiness in relation to fulfillment?

Do I have to be fulfilled before I can be happy? Not at all, for what is fulfillment without contentment? Well then, do I have to be happy before I can be fulfilled? Obviously not: I can be happy for no reason, or at least for no reason that I am aware. But is pure happiness enough?

Pure happiness could be enough; it would be if you enjoy the pathless path, that is, a paradoxical path without purpose in life, whereby “the purpose of life is to live a life without purpose, wholly surrendered and spontaneous, following my bliss with finesse, and with effortless ease.”

Is fulfillment enough? It might be; it is if you enjoy the path driven exclusively by purpose, whereby “the purpose of life is a life of purpose.” In this view, even rest, relaxation, and refreshment have a purpose; the fulfillment of life includes contentment, discernment, enchantment.

So when it comes to “turning a burden into a blessing,” is it better to be happy or fulfilled? In perusing the burdens that follow, pick one that resonates, either with you or with someone you know well.

I feel like crying when things go wrong
I feel so down
I don’t feel close to anyone
I keep messing up
I’m a terrible parent
why does everything always seem to go wrong?
nobody likes me
I feel so ugly since I’ve put on weight
I can’t be bothered to go out
I’m so scared about the future
we argue all the time
I just can’t sleep
I don’t have enough money
I’m stressed all the time
I just can’t cope
how will I manage on my own?
I’m starting to need a drink every day
when I’m panicky, I can’t breathe

Consider for a moment that this world is presently full of people who grapple with such burdens.

What would you recommend they do, in light of what I just told you about happiness and fulfillment? With the first thought that comes to mind, ask yourself: “is this thought leaning towards happiness or fulfillment? Towards a life without purpose or towards a life driven by purpose?”

And . . . “what do these responses say about me?”

/

discernment or improvement?
enchantment or achievement?

contentment or fulfillment?

~ yours

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