God Just Wants to Have Fun
This is a talk I gave at Unity Lincoln (Nebraska) on September 17, 2023.
Two weeks ago, the singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett passed away. On my Facebook feed, I read a tribute from his longtime friend James Taylor. James called Jimmy “A model of how to enjoy the great gift of being alive.”
That statement reminds me of Alan Watts. Watts was a 20th-century English writer, speaker, and personality who helped bring Eastern philosophy into the American mainstream. And he said one of my favorite things ever. I quote:
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
What I appreciate about Watts’s quote is that it takes the pressure off. We are not here to meet other people’s expectations of us, and we are not here to please some deity in the sky. We don’t need to leave a mark that will be remembered generations from now. I don’t have to make the world a better place. And even if I tried, “a better place” according to whom? Wars have been fought, and are still being fought, where each side genuinely believed they were making the world a better place.
Nobody has to do anything. Life is NOT a series of homework assignments. Just be alive.
That said, what everyone wants is happiness.
Many years ago I read a definition of happiness by the self-help and business writer Robert Ringer. I’m not saying I agree with everything I’ve read from him. But I appreciate how he dispensed with all the philosophical jargon and wrote that what he means by happiness is “feeling good.”
And there it is: a very self-evident truth. I don’t have to explain what it means to feel good. And when we do feel good, we just want to feel better.
“I feel good about my life, except for this lingering pain when I stubbed my toe.” So you want to feel better.
“I feel good about my life, except for my strained relationship with my co-worker.” That means you want to feel better.