“Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living.” ―Buddha

Some people search meaning for their lives. They question themselves, “Who am I?”, “What is my identity?”, “Why did I come to this world?”, “What is my role?” “What should be my goal?”, “What I would like to be remembered for?” and so on. This enquiry spirit leads to individual growth and spiritual development. Some people go to the extent of giving up their materialistic possessions to search meaning for their lives. For instance, Buddha renounced all his materialistic possessions and luxuries to become a great saint.

Who Am I?

“Who am I? Not the body, because it is decaying; not the mind, because the brain will decay with the body; not the personality, nor the emotions, for these also will vanish with death.” ―Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharishi made the question ‘Who Am I?’ very popular. With the rapid growth in technologies people are overloaded with information and lost track of their paths. They began questioning their nature of work and life. Hence, the question, ‘who am I?’ has become more popular currently. It is a well-admitted fact that only when you love yourselves you will be able to love others. Only when you understand yourself you will be able to understand others. Hence, understand yourself through self-inquiry. The human mind is like monkey’s mind. When you can control and stabilize your mind, you will be able to inquire yourself to find meaning to your life.

Do Happiness and Meaning Go Together?

It is rare to achieve both happiness and meaning in life. The people who want to lead their lives happily are takers while the people who want to provide meaning to their lives are givers. When you lead a happy life, you live only one life but when you lead a meaningful life you live beyond one life. Only in rare cases, you live in eternity. It all depends on the people and their choices whether they want to live for today or for eternity. When you look at Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela they sacrificed their personal lives for the sake of others by giving everything and provided meaning to their lives. Hence, there must be some balance between happiness and meaning to lead a happy and meaningful life.

How to Lead a Meaningful Life?

To lead a purposeful life, break your mental limitations. Take risks. Remember, not to take a risk is also a risk. Identify your passions and follow them religiously. Remember, you have only one life to live. Focus on destination but enjoy the journey. Remember, you must balance your personal, professional and social life. Above all, avoid regrets in life. To summarize, don’t live your life on auto-pilot. Instead take control, be a risk taker, come out of your comfort zone, and explore opportunities to make it big in your life.


“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?” ― Buddha

People are born and dead every day but we remember only a few great leaders because they added an immense value to the society and provided meaning to their lives. Therefore, understand your true identity to add value to others and provide meaning to your life.

Life is great!

Professor M.S. Rao

Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India

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Note: This article has been adapted from “See the Light in You: Acquire Spiritual Powers to Achieve Mindfulness, Wellness, Happiness and Success.” His Holiness Dalai Lama wrote foreword for this book.