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"Man brings with him at birth the ground-plan of his nature. . . ."
~ Carl Jung
Living With Purpose: Finding Joy in a Suffering World
By Melanie Votaw
Recently I was reading about how people are suffering in the Congo; how girls struggle to be educated in China; how a huge number of people in the world live without safe sanitation, and on and on and on. It seems endless! There is war, hunger, corruption, greed, and incomprehensible pain on our planet. How can I allow myself to feel anything positive when so many people are suffering?
But the right question to ask is, "how can I allow myself to NOT feel positive and joyful when so many people are suffering?!" If we are all connected to one another in a collective consciousness, as psychotherapist Carl Jung suggested, then perhaps I have a responsibility to the world to experience as much joy as possible! What's the use of drowning in the pain and simply perpetuating it further?
If we are all part of the same consciousness...
I can either go down with the ship, or I can try to pull it out of the water. I choose the latter! Sure, there's activism, and I take part in as much of it as I possibly can. I sponsor the education of a woman in Iraq. I write letters. I pray. I send love through the ethers. But, mostly, I try to remember how lucky I am and how ungrateful I would be if I squandered my blessings.
In this journey we take in physical form, we are bound to experience pain and lose some of the exuberance that we brought into the world as children. It's an inevitable part of the human experience. But a big part of the lesson of this journey is to find our way back to that place of absolute openness to the wonder of the world. With our food and shelter taken care of, we are the lucky ones who can work toward elevating everyone to a higher state of consciousness - which is indeed a higher state of joy!
As you connect more and more with the joy in your life - without guilt - you begin to connect with your soul's purpose. The universe is very economical. It has designed your true work to bring you the most joy and fulfillment, while at the same time providing some service to others. So, joy is both the ticket and the destination. Climb aboard!
Melanie Votaw is the creator and instructor for the course Discovering Your Life Purpose: Living the Life You Were Born to Live. If you are not already enrolled, learn more about Melanie and this course now.
Copyright © 2004 Melanie Votaw. All rights reserved. If you are interested in publishing this article, please email .
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