The good life was called “eudemonia” by Aristotle, which is a Greek word meaning good (eu) spirit (daimon). Aristotle believed that the good for humans would be the maximum realization of the function that was unique to humans, which means reason. Since part of the task of reason was to teach human beings how to act virtuously, the good for humans was the exercise of their faculties in accordance with virtue.
The good life was defined by Aristotle as the activity of the soul in accordance with virtue. The word virtue itself means moral excellence, goodness or righteousness.
However, the performance of virtuous act itself causes equal and opposite reaction. Hence even when we are performing virtuous acts, we face obstacle which disturbs our peace of mind and comfort. When we are righteous, it becomes our duty to fight against the evil. Thus in the process of achieving the moral excellence, goodness and righteousness, we lose good life which means happiness, peace, comfort and luxury.
While virtuous acts are needed for the happiness of soul, comforts and pleasure are the key to physical happiness. We need both for good life.
The attainment of good life is, therefore, not a science based on pure reason but actually an art and skill which needs to be developed with practice and knowledge. Good life does not mean inaction but it also does not mean painful actions.
There are two types of action which can lead to attainment of one’s objective. The first may be called “Effortful Action” where we have to exert and work hard. It requires exercise of force and causes “perspiration”.
The second type of action is based on “inspiration” which does not require much effort since it uses the nature for its assistance. If you can tap the energy of the nature intelligently, you can perform the work effortlessly. For example, your effort can be greatly reduced if you take assistance of gravity for pulling the water up from the well. Travelling can be totally effortless if we travel in the direction of the stream. One can travel in sea by “sailing ships” where the power of the wind is used to drive the ship by the help of “mast” without the need of any engine. Windmills can produce large amount of energy without destroying the environment.
Effortless Action and Good life
Good life is possible only by actions which are either effortless or require least effort. If there are many methods to perform the same task, the smart is one who uses the path of least effort. It is important to understand that the human nature is like the wind of the nature which does not flow in the same direction all the time. The nature of man moves in almost every direction at different time and we call it mood of the man. Sometime, we are like cool breeze while at other times, we are like storm. If we can identify the mood of the people or the organization, we can flow effortlessly.
Thus for an effortless action, we must know the mood of the organization and people. If you know them well, you job becomes extremely easy. However, since the mood of the people keep changing like the direction of the wind; one must have the patience to strike at the right moment for the best result. If most people have to work extremely hard to get the work done, it is because they never analyses the person or the situation and wishes to produce the result whatever effort required.
The effortless life is a good life since it leads to the desired result without causing much effort. In order to live a life effortlessly, we must follow these five steps.
1. Knowing the Mood of the People
It is important to know the mood of the people and the group of people. The mood of people is not same for any two moments. We are different in the morning than in the noon and in the evening. One must ask the people to do the things at the right moment when the mood is just right and the person is receptive for the idea. Organizations are also like people with different moods. When dealing with organization, identity the mood of the organization and strike the deal. If we know what people want, and provide them the same, they shall be happy to do our bidding. The problem is that most people are themselves not aware as to what they want or their desires changes rapidly. If we provide the right thing at the right time when it is not too early or too late, we can accomplish the things effortlessly.
2. Knowing yourself
We are not same for any two moments. There are many things which we can never feel comfortable to do while we would love to do many things even without any benefits. If we choose a profession that suits our temperaments, we can enjoy our work and perform all our jobs effortlessly. Do not try the most important move when you are in bad mood or upset with something. When we are in good mood, we can take our failures much more sportingly without losing our temper. In our bad mood, we are quite fragile and susceptible to break.
3. Knowing the Best Path
There are several paths to achieve the same goal and several methods to solve a problem. We must have the knowledge of not only the different methods but also the best method to solve the given problem. It may be prudent to analyses the multiple alternatives to select the best alternative instead of trying to solve the problem by using the first method that comes in your mind. Like a swimmer, never move exactly in the direction of the goal, but set you direction taking into account the direction of the wind and your power of swim which takes you to your goal with least effort.
4. Time Your Move
Just like you must wait to sail till the wind flows in the direction of your goal, you must have the patience to wait for the right moment. A child, who makes his demand from the parents when they are in the right mood, gets the same immediately while one who demands when the mood is foul gets the beating. An impulsive action often makes you more distant from the goal and makes your job even more difficult. When the right moment comes, strike and you shall sail through even the greatest obstacle effortlessly.
5. Identify your Goal
Most people waste their entire life without knowing what they want in their life. They always remain miserable since with every achievement, they change their goal and even without enjoying their achievement move towards their next goal which is often in opposite direction. Their movement is like Brownian motion where a particle even after travelling miles, actually comes back to the same place without making any progress. However, one who knows his goal moves slowly but steadily towards his goal and no effort is wasted in the process.
Effortless Life is Good life
A life which needs lots of effort cannot be a good life since an effortful action is recognition of our failure to identify the effortless method to achieve the goal which can come only by proper knowledge. When we put more effort, we are drained of our energy and become tired soon. When we accomplish less, we have less at our disposal for good life. We even have less time at our disposal to enjoy our achievement. It is important to know yourself and the people as a living creature whose moods change rapidly rather than know them as a static beings. The sense of time and identification of goals can make our life effortless and give us the good life which is full of pleasure, comfort and happiness.
Life is a mystery which can not be explained either by science or by scriptures. Truth has a body and a soul which we call science and religion. Contrary to popular perception, they are not opposed to each other but complement each other like body and soul. In fact, they can not exist without each other.
I am the founding member of The Science of Soul Foundation in India which works for the synthesis of the diverse disciplines of knowledge like science, religion, philosophy and arts. The website of the foundation is http://www.scienceofsoul.com
I am working for the creation of a synthesis between science and religion through my articles. I believe that everyone can understand this Truth by the use of intuition and reason. You can contact me at aksinghirs [a] yahoo.com if you wish to know more about the mystery which we call life.
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