A Conversation with Joseph Law on Living Greatness
Living Greatness: A Practical Guide to Living an Enlightened Life (New Holland) is a remarkable book written by Australian entrepreneur and spiritual philosopher Joseph Law.
Law shares with readers principles of happiness that he and other well-known collaborators have come to recognize during their life’s journey. These principles include holistic perspectives on family, career, spirituality, and life purpose.
As an individual, Law has extensively covered philosophical schools of thought and spiritual perspectives to help him answer his own questions of life. Law founded the social organization Living Greatness to serve as a central resource for people wishing to empower themselves with education and inspiration on happiness and living an extraordinary life.
The following is a conversation with Law on the Living Greatness organization, his book, and life in general.
The Founding of Living Greatness
Erin Legg: You are the founder and CEO of the Living Greatness organization. Can you please give a brief description of this social movement, including identifying its goals?
Joseph Law: Living Greatness is a social organization dedicated to implementing strategies for creating an extraordinary quality of life for individuals and organizations throughout the world. Through our books and events, we bring you practical strategies as well as the most cutting-edge ideas and tools for attaining authentic success and happiness in your life. The vision of Living Greatness is to inspire and empower at least a million people over the next five years.
We provide a unique platform for everyday people to access the same ideas and resources that top leaders and thinkers use to create extraordinary quality in every area of their lives. We do this by collaborating with some of the world’s leading minds, from best-selling authors, philosophers, quantum physicists, entrepreneurs, psychologists, philanthropists and visionaries, as well as meditation teachers and global peace ambassadors. Living Greatness is a new type of social organization that combines the best of charity and commerce.
Erin: What lead to the creation, or what was the driving force behind, Living Greatness?
Joseph: For over a decade, I was looking for answers to many of life’s questions, the same questions that all of humanity struggles to understand: What is the purpose of my life? How do I create more meaning and happiness in my life and in the lives of others?
To find the answers I needed, I read many books, immersing myself in ancient writings to gain the wisdom and knowledge contained within. Through this process I found peace, meaning, and purpose in my life.
When I was in my twenties, I became the divisional general manager of a financial company that has turned over a billion dollars in sales. Even though I had achieved success in the eyes of the world and had attained what I thought I wanted in life, I wasn’t happy, and the meaningful life I was searching for still eluded me.
A soul-searching trip in India in 2007 inspired me to write the book, Living Greatness. I knew that I wanted to condense what I had learned over the last 10 years by interviewing some of the world’s leading minds and experts on finding peace, happiness, and true success. I chose the contributors carefully, knowing that I wanted only those who had once struggled, but had found happiness and purpose in their lives. I also wanted them to be well-known to the world but approachable enough to speak to readers on a personal level.
Finding Purposeful Living
Joseph: Living Greatness is a book about happiness, success, and purposeful living. I have had the privilege of interviewing some of the most inspiring people in the world. Living Greatness is comprised of a broad council of experts. Among them are a bestselling author, psychiatrist, philosopher, happiness expert, quantum physicist, billionaire business coach, high achievement expert, professional life coach, strategist, meditation teacher, global peace ambassador, and a leading international thinker. From this one book, readers can learn from the insights and hard earned experience of these experts.
Here is a list of some of the most well-known contributors:
- Bill Bartmann—a billionaire who was at one time wealthier than Rupert Murdoch. He lost his business empire, and then found meaning in life again.
- Dr Edward de Bono—the world’s foremost thinker, and the most sought-after speaker by major corporations around the world, on how to think and be more effective in today’s world.
- Jack Canfield—a once struggling high school teacher who went on to write the world-renowned book Chicken Soup for the Soul, which has inspired millions of people worldwide.
- Marci Schmoff—one of the world’s leading authorities on the topic of happiness, condensing decades of research into simple, practical lessons useful for today’s world.
- Mingyur Rinpoche—a world renowned meditation master whose brain was tested by science to produce extraordinary calmness under the most extreme circumstances. He will show you how to meditate effortlessly even if it seems you have no spare time in your life for doing so.
Living Greatness conveys the key attribute to living a successful life: having a holistic, balanced approach to life as evidenced by the choices you make on a daily basis. Some of the topics discussed in the book are:
- discovering the purpose of life;
- finding and increasing personal happiness;
- developing an effective mind through meditation;
- striking a balance between work and leisure;
- goal setting and time management;
- improving communication skills;
- overcoming life’s challenges and action steps; and
- tools and strategies for implementing your goals.
Aligning Inner and Outer Purpose
Erin: What does it mean to be extraordinary? Is this something that can be achieved by anyone?
Joseph: Mother Teresa said, “We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.”
Yes, it is wonderful to serve people while making a difference in the world, but what is most important is that true greatness is centered on staying true to one’s values while selflessly serving the lives of others. Anyone can achieve such greatness; it is not a special privilege for only a few chosen ones. For example, a single mother raising four kids while working three jobs to sustain the family is demonstrating a form of greatness.
I would also say that if one is able to align their inner purpose with their outer purpose while making a meaningful difference in the lives of others, it is true greatness. Eckhart Tolle talks about inner and outer purpose. The outer purpose is where you can actively engage in helping the world by supporting a cause. As inspiring as this is, our real sense of peace and fulfillment comes from our inner purpose, by simply connecting to our being—and our awareness of it—in each moment.
Living Greatness is about living a life with happiness and meaning. This does not necessarily mean that we will live like other great men and women in history, nor does it mean that we will make a huge impact on society. Rather, it means living an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. It doesn’t matter whether you are the CEO of the largest corporation or a struggling single mother raising a family on your own. We are all the same. Our society tends to define success in terms of fame, money, or status. I think true success is inner happiness, living with purpose while making a difference and a contribution to the lives of other people.
Spiritual Awareness Means Understanding Your Essence
Erin: In what ways can a person’s overall quality of life be enhanced through greater spiritual awareness?
Joseph: On a fundamental level, it is important to have a purpose or a sense of direction for your life. One of the greatest spiritual teachers, Ramana Maharishi, said that our quest for truth consisted of asking ourselves, “Who am I?” Self inquiry is important contemplation is important because it helps us get to the core of who we are, and moves us beyond our beliefs, habits and conditionings.
I believe each one of us is a spiritual being having a human experience, not a human being having occasional spiritual experiences. I think we are all interconnected to each other like the waves in the ocean, and like those fleeting waves, we change and take on different forms without losing the essence of who we are. Suppose this life we are living now, as much as we are serious about it, is only a glimpse of time in the infinite eternity of the universe. Considering this at a macro level, the earth is only a speck of dust in the vastness of the universe.
Going back to a practical example, what is the purpose of a driver, janitor, a CEO or the president of a country? The purpose is pretty clear isn’t it? It is to serve and be responsible for his or her role at hand. Then what is the purpose of living? What is our purpose in life? Is it merely to get an education, marry, buy a home, raise a family, retire, and then die?
No matter what your beliefs are, having a bigger perspective of life will give you a sense of meaning and direction. Research shows that happiness, and the sustainability of it, is directly related to our sense of purpose in life. Having a purpose will give you the inspiration you need to get up every morning with enthusiasm, looking forward to a great day ahead—to feel that you have made a contribution, and that you have made people and the world a better place simply because you exist. The happier you are, or the more in sync with the universe and the nature from which you originate, the greater the flow of your life will be, thus by expanding your capacity to love more, you have more to offer life. By enriching others, the same energy will flow back to you adding to the totality of life and its goodness.
Greater spiritual awareness means understanding and experience the essence of who you are, why you are here and where you are going. It means going deep within so you can understand how your thoughts and emotions are controlling your life through your perception and familial/societal conditionings since childhood. It is like peeling an onion: layer upon layer you must get to the core of who you are, shattering the illusions on every level. It means being aware, and being a witness to life so that you live in the world but are not of it. Through gradual awareness one simply loses the attachment to the mind, and what’s left is pure awareness. This is also what some teachers refer to as living fully and engaging in the present moment as it is.
Go With The Flow of Life
Erin: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Why?
Joseph: I cannot think of one advice, but I adjust my energy in accordance with the situation at hand based on the personal journey of the one I’m helping or interacting with, and what he or she needs to know at that time. Barbara de Angelis has said that messages come through her, not from her. I tend to go by this idea and in this context, I cannot claim any credit for any little value that I may share with people, as I’m merely an instrument and servant to all.
It is now 2011, and I’m 31 years old. In this moment, if you ask me what’s the most important thing in life, I will tell you that ultimately nothing matters, and there is nothing you bring to this earth; thus, there is nothing you need to take away. Stay true to higher values in whatever you do while deepening your state of awareness and consciousness and let life guide you from within, and see how your life unfolds. Live your life in accordance with the spontaneous flow of nature. Observe nature with fresh eyes. The tree doesn’t try to grow; it simply grows. Learn to be, and still yourself by absorbing in silence a few times every day.
Having said that, this answer holds true until my state of consciousness changes, which might be in the next moment. It is not something that I have full control over, but is a gradual process in the way it unfolds. My advice would simply be, Let life flow. Nobody can step in the same river twice. Flow with the river of life.
Joseph Law on Planting a Seed
Erin: You have not only accomplished many things throughout your life, but you have a wonderful spiritual awareness about yourself and about many facets of life in general. For you, Joseph Law the individual, what do you hope to achieve/feel/receive next?
Joseph: In a way I’m planning for what is to come, and the right intention and action is needed for things to be manifested in a physical reality. On the other hand, I relinquish my desire for any fixed outcome. I leave it to the universe, as I understand what I can and cannot control. What I can control is my intention, backed by persistent action carried out through my best effort. Other than that, I have little or no control of the outcome and what it can lead to based on the synchronicity of the universe. It is better to focus on whatever you’re doing in any particular moment based on your best energy and attention.
An example of this can be seen in growing a tree. You can plant a seed and water it, and provide it with the best growing conditions and optimal sunlight and water. However, you need to understand that you don’t cause it to grow. You are not the doer; you are only the facilitator. This is true for whatever we want to manifest in life. Those things that are karmically possibly for other people may not be for you, and vice versa. There are infinite possibilities in the future based on the choices we make today, moment by moment. When you change your thinking, you change you future. Thus, my major focus is the present moment, and that is why it is called the present.
Practically, my vision is to start a spiritual movement that will empower the lives of millions around the world through books, conferences, workshops, a television program and an online community. It will be universally accessible to all people despite their race, income and background. I’m still witnessing how this will unfold and how the universe is guiding me in each moment.
As much as I’m working on the delivery of the message, my major focus is the transcendence of my ego to allow more love, light and wisdom. Because the greater capacity of self, the greater I can serve humanity in utmost purity and love. After all, I view myself as a servant for all. I’m also learning to bring the qualities of desirelessness and selflessness into all that I do in my everyday reality, even with seemingly mundane things.
I would like to summarize with a Zen proverb that I love for its simplicity: “Before enlightenment, chop wood; carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood; carry water.” It is the inner consciousness that ultimately matters.
Thank you to Joseph Law for an enlightening conversation. Readers can contact Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Living Greatness book will also be available on Amazon in May of 2011.