Are you thinking, "Humans will die anyway, so why do I have to make any effort..." or "I don't have the motivation for anything..."? There are many different views in life. If you relax your shoulders a little and look at this world from the perspective of "eternal life", you may find a hint to brighten your life.
From the teachings of Master Ryuho Okawa, we have selected a prescription for finding a purpose in life.
A new life plan to lift yourself out of despair
Have you ever been struck by a setback so disheartening that you could no longer see the way forward? Have you been driven to such exhaustion that your mind seemed to stop working? Are you facing a life crisis that is plunging you into despair? There are times in life when we run into adversities that make us feel so defeated that we lose all enthusiasm to keep going. What can we do to lift ourselves out of such despair and rediscover the world of wonder?
We can take one basic step, and that is simply to set a goal for ourselves.
When we are stuck in a pit of despair, setting a goal is like throwing a rope up to the surface, catching a rock, and using the unmoving solidity of the rock to pull ourselves out. It's even better if we can attach an ice pick to the rope and have it catch the root of a tree.
If you are currently feeling disheartened, despondent, and anguished, this is what you can do to help yourself: just as you might throw up a rope to climb out of a pit, you can set new life goals to help you climb out of the pit of despair.
To start with, get two sheets of paper.
On the first sheet, write down your goals in life, dividing them into big goals, medium goals, and small goals. On the second sheet, list when you want to aim to accomplish each goal: immediately, in the near future, and in the longer term.
You now have two plans that will be vital in lifting yourself out of the pit.
When you are finished setting these goals, begin working on the most manageable ones that you can start right away.
Begin applying yourself to your small goals that you can get to immediately. This should help you determine specifically what you will do to pull yourself out of despair.
As you find your way out of the pit, you have a choice between two different ropes or paths. One rope will take you on a completely new journey. With this rope, you will be taking a path you have never traveled before and have never imagined taking. The second rope will lead you to a path that you can take to start over from the beginning.
What I want to say here is, if the bitterness and sense of failure in your hearts is caused by your relationships, it is always possible to change and improve it.
Acts of nature, such as natural disasters, are beyond human control. But the crises we face in our relationships are well within our power to resolve over time.
Time favors those who work hard. Good paths open up for those who work hard. When we persevere through the passage of time, it is important to set a time for endurance.
For those who are truly in the depths of misery, one goal to set would be to "just try to live for the day". For those who are not so desperate, a goal might be, "First, I will try my best for the rest of the week. Then, "I will try to do my best for a month. I will try my best for three months. I will try my best for six months. I will try hard for a year." I believe that this will eventually become a way to get through the bottlenecks in life.
I have had my share of these experiences, and what they have taught me is that these periods of despair do not last longer than a year. My most difficult period did not last longer than six months. By giving yourself a chance to persevere and improve your circumstances, you will notice your anguish subsiding, and you will feel new light being breathed into you. Perhaps you were tempted to believe that everything around you was meant to hurt you. But over time, you will see that there are also people around you that are casting their light of kindness and support upon you. Your decision to believe these things to be true and your perseverance are sure to help you in times of despair.
Human beings have eternal life and are reborn countless times
I have repeatedly taught that the other world really does exist and that it is the true home of humans. I have also said, time and again, that the few decades we spend on earth are merely a fleeting dream, nothing more than a temporary journey.
Human beings have eternal, imperishable life. As souls, we have lived through thousands, tens of thousands of years, or even longer.
During this period, we are allowed to undergo soul training, over and over again, residing in the physical body given to us by our parents, which serves as a vehicle to carry our soul, and experiencing our descendants' flourishing.
There are probably people who ask, “Why do we have to go through such a complicated system?” or who wonder, “Surely it would be better for us simply to continue our lives in the Spirit World. Why do we have to be born into this world in a physical body and experience the journey down the river of life, if we are eventually only going to die and return to the other world?”
As somebody who has actually experienced the truth, I will describe the secret of reincarnation in an easy-to-understand way by stating, “Reincarnation is actually the ultimate system for achieving happiness that Buddha created.”
During the decades that we inhabit a physical body on earth, we have an individual name and live our life to the best of our ability, thinking, “I am a unique being who has the name, so-and-so.” But viewed from the perspective of our memories of a long, long span of reincarnations, we will realize that our name represents no more than a role we take for a brief period in a particular theater of life. You will come to understand the fact that people take part in plays on different stages, in different eras, playing the roles of actors who have different names as they develop their performance skills.
Although you may be living as Japanese at the moment, you could have been Chinese in a previous era. Or you might have been British, American or French. In the past, you may have lived in India or Egypt.
Please imagine this possibility in your mind. Surely you will feel what a wonderful experience it may be, what a wonderful world it is.
You are born into various civilizations where different cultures flourish. You grow up, work, love, marry, raise children, age and eventually die.
Although aging and death are very sad, by passing through them you will be given another new opportunity.
There is a different world from this world of earthly criteria and competitions
Because this world is now so competitive, it is apt to produce more and more people every year who are clinically depressed or are at risk of such a condition. In such a world, religion serves an antidotal role in some ways. Religion teaches to believe in a different world from this world of earthly criteria and competitions. If you believe that this world is everything, you may feel that you're inside a living hell or an inescapable pit. But if you believe this earthly world isn't everything, then this world's victories and defeats will seem no more important than the victories and defeats of a wrestling match. You will recognize a variety of things outside the wrestling ring.
Religion often creates these things outside the wrestling ring. Religion teaches that outside the wrestling ring, there is another, different world where people each have a very different form of happiness. There are also different ways to measure importance than the ways it's measured inside the wrestling ring. There are even different passions to devote yourself to.
The feeling of passion for your work is extremely important for this reason.
To put it another way, it means to find the purpose that you live for. Your work continues over the course of your whole lifetime. Going through college takes three or four years of your life, perhaps six years at the most. But the time you spend in your work lasts for decades. With the number of career changes is rising, people work in different jobs over the course of their lives nowadays. But to change jobs as many as tens of times in your life, you would have to be a very easily bored person. Normally, a person spends his or her whole life working at one job or, at most, two or three kinds of jobs. In this sense, your work is your means of making a living over a very long period of your life. So, you will be very unhappy if your work is not your divine calling, the destiny you were born to live, or the life plan that you set up before you were born into this world. If this were your situation, being born into this life wouldn't be so worthwhile. Nevertheless, there are people among us who are working in jobs that aren't in their original life plan.
When you look quietly inside yourself, if you feel a sense of passion and calling for your work and a feeling welling up saying that you've been born to do this work, then this work is, indeed, the work that's suited to you. You're very likely to succeed if this is true for you. On the other hand, if your current job is one that you're itching to leave, you won't become very successful in it even if you force yourself to keep going. Also, some people who are working in jobs they aren't suited to already know what kind of job is perfect for them. If this is the case with you, it's clear that you're not in the job you belong in, and you should consider a career change.
Learning and working will get more interesting the more you do it
Some people are unmotivated. In short, they think that they are unmotivated because their work is boring, or their studies are boring, or they are unmotivated because they don't get praise. However, the conditions are similar for other people as well.
From the beginning, no interesting and exciting job comes along, nor do all the exciting studies.
It is like dried squid that gradually develops a taste as it is chewed longer and longer.
Studying becomes more interesting the longer you study, and work also become more interesting the longer you work.
From "To Those Who Are Unmotivated to Do Anything" by Ryuho Okawa
Aim to be someone others can count on
Therefore, it is important to be determined to take responsibility for yourself in your older years while, at the same time, aim to be someone that others can rely on.
To achieve this, you need to find something to live for or to keep seeking something that is worth doing. It could be a hobby, an interest, or something else.
I believe taking part in religious activities is the most important thing. As long as you are engaged in religious activities, you can easily sustain personal relationships even into your later years. You can also create new networks of people and further broaden your friendship.
It is wonderful to have friends you can talk with. It would be best to have friends with whom you can talk about the Truth and passionately spread it together to other people, more than friends whom you can chat with about nothing in particular. In this way, you can feel that you are actually contributing to improve the society.
Please aim to be someone who can contribute to the world, rather than someone who just relies on others. If possible, I want you to aim to become a senior citizen with a library of life experiences; someone whom others see as a treasure house of wisdom and experience, a person who has seen and done a great deal over a span of many years and a person who can provide useful advice in various areas. Aim to become this kind of person that others can rely on. If you can become a library of human experience or a library of wisdom, then you will always be of use in this world.
So, do not complain about what is lacking, but strive to keep training your mind and body, since doing so will work to protect yourself. It is essential to make efforts on a constant basis, while aiming to become someone who is useful to others.