The whole purpose of life is to have happiness. All of us strive for it; work towards it and deep inside feel that it is the ultimate goal. Different people have different definitions of happiness but ultimately we all want it.
Happiness is a state of mind and hence the purpose of life is to make mind happy. And mind becomes happy by maximizing its experience which is facilitated by the body since body provides inputs through the senses.
Maximization of experience is affected when brain absorbs information from the senses and creates neural pathways to form memories. This process takes place at the maximum rate during childhood when the brain is developing and also continues to happen for those whose brains remain nimble throughout the life. Thus the brain is a sucker of experience! And we are what we think!
Since the information absorption capacity of the brain is the highest during the childhood proper education and guidance to children is of paramount importance. Educating children in the art of deep thinking and contemplation can enable them to produce minds which will remain supple and ever-expanding all their life.
Those brains which do not have the ability to gain new experiences, get petrified and signal the start of senile death which is normally a sign of old age. Nevertheless there are quite a number of individuals who are active and curious even in old age and they are the most interesting people and a joy to be with.
As the brain becomes bigger, as is the case of humans, more experience is required and acquired. This mind-expanding exercise is the genesis of wisdom since it gives a sense of perspective in life.
Also the gaining of experience is very enjoyable and this mind-expanding exercise brings happiness. The maximization of experience is also achieved by travel since the scenery changes and hence provides tremendous inputs to the brain. This is the reason why travel and especially travel to new places is enjoyable.
Experience gaining is also enhanced by curiosity. An active and supple mind is also a curious mind. The suppleness can be cultivated by being mentally active and can be enhanced by Yoga and meditation since it allows the expansion of neural pathways.
Another reason why we feel happy when absorbing experience is because a furiously absorbing mind keeps the psychological knots to a minimum. These knots are formed when in the absence of external experience; the mind goes in an ever increasing internal spiral. The mind which gets enmeshed in psychological knots cannot expand itself and get happiness. The old saying of “small and petty- mindedness” probably came from this.
A supple mind which maximizes experience intake is also able to focus on a single thought for a long time. This is called Sanyam in Patanjali Yoga darshan. During this process of tremendous concentration the sense of time vanishes. Time itself does not go away but the sense of time reduces or nearly vanishes.
It is this losing of sense of time that gives contentment and peace since anxiety is reduced. Anxiety emotion is about perceived fears and hence has time embedded in it. It may also produce a fear of losing something or missing out. A powerful mind which can analyze and process the information very effectively makes the time-sense disappear and hence reduces the sense of anxiety.
Why are our brains wired for maximum experience? A part of the reason is the large number of neurons in the human brain – about 100 billion, which forces the intake of information and hence the experience.
Another reason could be that the Universal consciousness can only experience through bodies of living beings and hence the proliferation of species and the need for maximization of experience through them.
So let us all live a happy, fruitful and energetic life by maximizing our experience. That is the whole purpose of life!