Is there ‘more’ to life than enjoying it?

When people told me that the purpose of life was enjoyment I used to feel let down.

I felt there had to be more to life than just enjoying it.

But I never found the “more” I was searching for. And I could never shake the suspicion that this mysterious “more” was just a different form of enjoyment.

Why did I react so badly to the idea of enjoying life? Isn’t enjoyment prima facie a wonderfully desirable thing?

In hindsight i can see two, interrelated, reasons.

The first is that I was very unhappy from early childhood onward. While there were lots of things I enjoyed, the struggles and conflicts of home life were firmly in the foreground of my experience.

So by the time I started wondering about the meaning of life I already had a very negative outlook and had trained myself out of enjoyment.

The second reason I didn’t like being told that the meaning of life was enjoyment was that I didn’t see much to enjoy in the lives of the people who were telling me this!

To my mind they were satisfied with very little…much too little to convince me that their “enjoyment” would give me the meaning I sought.

But that was simply an error in my understanding: they weren’t telling me to enjoy their lives, but to enjoy my life.

The power of big contrast

Having spent twenty years searching for that elusive “more” to life, I can see that I was in fact digging myself deeper by constantly reiterating and reinforcing my negative thoughts and feelings.

In the Abraham Hicks system negativity is presented under a positive aspect as “contrast”.

Contrast refers to anything unwanted that sparks within us a desire for more. Big contrast or persistent focus on unwanted experience gives us a proportionately strong desire for something better.

So even if we have suffered, the good news is that the suffering translates into “treasure in heaven”, drawing us to an even greater happiness.

Hence my “mistake” of prolonged and obsessive focus on my own misery, anxiety and depression sparked within me an extremely powerful desire for real enjoyment.

With this is mind we can let go of regrets or dismay about the past. While I could have turned to happiness much earlier in life, it would not have been such an epic contrast to the unhappiness that I’ve endured and self-inflicted.

What do you enjoy?

It turns out the “more” I was looking for was really just more enjoyment of life.

It’s up to us as individuals to find out what form that takes. In fact for myself I would say I have a very strong, yet-unfulfilled desire to find out what my enjoyment looks like.

Though life rolled on for those twenty years, I felt as though I had deferred the question of enjoyment until after I had found the answers to my questions.

I wanted to know the meaning of life before I committed myself to really living it.

And now it turns out that the answer is just to enjoy it, and the way to enjoy it is by feeling better about life as it is right now.

Overcoming ‘ordinary’

I used to have a strong repugnance toward anything that felt mundane or ‘ordinary’.

But lately I’ve come to recognise that this is really about my own unhappy formative years, and the fear of reliving that experience for the rest of my life.

It’s the sense of having grown up in an ordinary middle-class home that was actually dysfunctional, and equating dysfunction with everything mainstream and ordinary.

But it’s also about the yearning for “more” and quickly rejecting anything that felt like “same old”.

Yet if we bear in mind the Abraham teaching that we get more of what we are focused on, then my insistence on avoiding my past experience only guarantees I will find more of it.

We can’t remove things from our experience by pushing against them, only by choosing something else to focus on.

Finding a new normal

It doesn’t really matter if my life is ordinary or not, because the only reason I feared the ordinary was that I equated it with feeling bad.

But everything in my life can be viewed in either a wanted or an unwanted aspect. There is always a path to appreciation and immediate relief no matter where I am.

Who cares if your life looks ordinary to you or others? All that matters is you enjoy it. And who decides what is ordinary? What is your comparison point and scope? A middle-class Australian gen-Y perspective of ordinary is actually incredibly narrow and specific!

Rather than being hampered by a need to overcome the ordinary, I can come at all of life with the aim of enjoying it as it is, and as it will be, confident that my focus on enjoyment will lead me further down that happy path.

And freed from an obsession with the ordinary, who knows where the path of enjoying life will take me?

15 thoughts on “Is there ‘more’ to life than enjoying it?

  1. So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun
    HMMMM
    ALSO FROM ECCLESIATES IN THE BIBLE
    Grief is better than laughter, for when a face is sad, a heart may be glad

    AND FINDING THE PROPER BALANCE….?

    • Avoiding Extremes
      15 In my futile life† I have seen everything:† someone righteous perishes in spite of his righteousness,† and someone wicked lives long in spite of his evil.† 16 Don’t be excessively righteous, and don’t be overly wise.† Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Don’t be excessively wicked, and don’t be foolish. Why should you die before your time?† 18 It is good that you grasp the one and do not let the other slip from your hand. For the one who fears God will end up with both of them.

      • The melancholic weakness is despair, and we tend to think badly of ourselves. So when we read that God is love, but we also read that fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, a melancholic will try to reconcile the two, lest we err in not fearing God sufficiently.
        But nowadays I recognise that fear of God is not for me. I think it’s for a proud temperament. So I give myself permission to just ignore things that don’t feel good. After all, not one other person will come and live my life for me or take responsibility for me.

        • OOPS I thought I was posting my bit on fear of god here ..so THO I posted it further down…sigh gotta still work on perfection..

      • Douay-Rheims Bible
        Only this I have found, that God made man right, and he hath entangled himself with an infinity of questions. Who is as the wise man? and who hath known the resolution of the word?

  2. In proverbs …the fear of god as hating evil..namely I think how choosing evil obscures ones god given original understanding of the eternal goodness in all of creation..assuming that when one understands the mysteries of the bible..that it will all come out in the wash a la reincarnation..then the issue if the bible is at fault for not making such more clear or rather actually it works in the long run to enable the redemption of all…then IF HICKS TEACHINGS FALL SHORT OF WHAT THE ULTIMATE ENABLING POWER OF THE BIBLE..EVEN in some ways disparaging the bible and jesus

      • With HICKS.. The level of wisdom she claims lacks a proper recognition of the power of the shed blood of Jesus..suggesting the entities she relies on are deceiving or deceived

        • She uses different words for everything, so I wouldn’t know, just like I wouldn’t know what you mean personally and theologically about “the power of the shed blood of Jesus”

            • .

              I would now like to share a little more about my personal beliefs on reincarnation. Consider the following scenario, as I have:

              Imagine a baby dying and then appearing before God. Since we are judged by the deeds done on this earth, what crown would this baby be able to place at the feet of Jesus? In other words, what could the baby offer in return for reward? Not only would the baby be able to offer nothing, but what could the baby receive? Wouldn’t this be the ultimate example of something totally unjust and unfair? The baby would not have even had the chance of offering something to God.

              Consider another scenario: how can a merciful God create a place of eternal punishment for a sinner, especially when that God KNEW before hand that the creation would end up there? If God really did this, is “merciful” the right word to describe Him?

              After thinking for myself instead of believing what I have been told about the Bible, I can’t help but wonder how much institutionalized Christianity strayed from its spiritually humble beginnings. I am willing to bet a whole lot.

              Finally, and as you probably already know, reincarnation works on the principle of karma. This is exactly the same thing as reaping what you sow! THAT is just. THAT is merciful. This is also truly in line with a loving Father who rains both on the just and unjust! So yes, I think the idea of reincarnation is a very logical belief, and personally, I am glad to see that Jesus supports it.

              What do you think?

              • Well it reduces Christianity to individual interpretation. I don’t really worry much about the afterlife, I’m more focused on this life. So reincarnation doesn’t bother me. At the same time there is little evidence for it in early Christianity as far as I’m aware.

    • There are lots of ways of interpreting these things. I used to be reluctant to trust my interpretation but then I saw other people just followed their own interpretation anyway; and ultimately my interpretations didn’t help me, more like a hobby or interest.
      I’ve heard some of the Hicks stuff on the Bible, but it struck me that it’s all in the context of the person who is asking the question. Makes me wonder about Jesus and the things he said to individual people in specific situations, and then we try to draw universal lessons from them…
      Don’t get me wrong, I see great meaning and significance in the bible but it didn’t help me to understand myself or feel better. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to.

      • In part I think benefit god allows to come from aspects of corrupted sources that can be helpful temporarily for a person and that person can be protected from the corrupting aspects and find helpful elements for their growth and we’ll being but there can remain issues of being sucked into the corrupted aspects… Which THO can apply too to various Christian denominations..never the less staying with bible study has the benefit of its deeper better elements to see faults of self or that particular denomination.. I think tho there other helpful great religions that have a good history of believing in God’s loving ways. But sources that from that not based in history but more in some individual or group of supposed enlightened individuals..are more suspect in my book…uh due out next LIFETIME:p

        • Bear in mind it’s been twenty years of searching for me. There’s not much I haven’t looked to in my search for answers. I was also deeply reluctant to look at the Abraham Hicks material, that’s why it is the last thing I looked at in my search.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s