What is the purpose of life? Many will agree it is to find happiness. But where do we find happiness? Many of us think it comes from physical possessions, our intelligence, our place in society, or even from our physical makeup. But we all know that these things do not bring upon everlasting joy. We could have all the possessions and power and yet be miserable, or struck by misfortunes in life. There is a quote in one of our religious books that tell us that we should not adorn our bodies which are temporal; instead we should put our efforts into adorning our hearts/souls which exist for eternity. What does this mean?
It does not mean that we should not pursue our desires to excel in our professions or interests. It is through these efforts, that we encounter opportunities to improve our minds and souls. These opportunities that we encounter are manifested by are own souls. It is our own soul that brings upon co-workers that irritate you, a spouse that angers you, a misdirected middle finger on our streets and highways, or an illness that doctors cannot cure. These are all messengers of our souls that help us purify our own minds. If we ponder and do not act on our existing evil thoughts when these obstacles occur, then our evil thoughts gradually are eliminated.
What is the soul? We all know that our human bodies die and decay, but our souls exist forever. We could debate all day if our souls go to an afterlife for eternity, or return back to earth to be reincarnated. It is our souls that carry our essence, or who we are. The soul carries our disposition of thoughts, like greed, arrogance, miserliness, covetousness, and self-love from one lifetime to another. It also carries our fate, which were created by acting upon these same evil thoughts. The soul collects our merits and demerits, and eventually releases them back to us as joy or sorrow in the afterlife, or in our next life if we believe in reincarnation. You can say that the soul is like Santa Claus; it knows when we are good or bad; and metes out our appropriate rewards.
It is these evil thoughts that we must remove from our minds to purify our souls. The purified soul will bring upon only joy. It is this purified mind that will make our minds spirited. This condition of joy becomes possible only if we understand the function of the soul. If we acknowledge that everything that happens is a manifestation of our soul, then we are able to improve our own minds, instead of placing blame on others. It is this mind that leads to a purified soul, and eventually to a life of only joy. It is this life of joy that God wants to share with the world. The following illustration summarizes the function of our souls.