How revolutionary. My purpose in life is equally to offer myself joy and to offer others joy. At first glance, this sounds very un-Buddhist. It sounds selfish. It sounds self-centered. But it is not.
I have often written that one cannot be there for others if you cannot be there for yourself. The whole purpose of the Buddha dharma is to teach us how to live life without suffering by changing how we relate to ourselves and to others. We are the ones who the Buddha sought to help. Yes, it has a positive impact on all those around us, but the primary recipient of the benefit is ourselves. I wrote on this in an early post, “It’s No Crime to Think About Oneself.”
But even with that perspective, it never dawned on me that my purpose in life is offer myself joy, as well as others. And how do I offer myself joy?
I offer myself joy by being open to experience all that the present moment has to offer, be grateful, and take pleasure in the moment. I offer myself joy by taking pleasure in myself and in everything I do (see my post “Joy - At Last Real Understanding”), by loving myself unconditionally and having compassion for myself. I offer myself joy by observing everything through the positive energy of my heart and the neutrality of my senses, free of the intervention of my ego-mind. I offer myself joy by opening up my heart to embrace all aspects of my being and experience … past, present, and future.
In short, I offer myself joy by freeing myself from the control of my ego-mind. My entire spiritual practice is thus devoted to offering myself joy, and in so doing open up my potential to offer others joy. My practice is devoted to connecting with my true Buddha self, my heart. What more joy can there be?