I think we, well, this tribe, anyway, have outgrown the notion that we're here to suffer, to be tested, in order to be rewarded in some hazy future afterlife. I've no doubt something beyond this world exists because, well, why not believe? But I don't think this world dictates our fate there--it would be far too cruel, akin to animal testing on a grand scale. No. If that were the case then beauty just couldn't exist on this plane. It would have no reason to, no inspiration for its ongoing bloom and survival.
No, I think the point is contentment, a deep strum of quiet joy. I'm resisting the word 'happiness,' simply because, at this point, what the heck does that mean? It's too plastic and unsustainable for what I'm talking about. Happiness may be the frosting, but contentment is the sustenance.
The trick is just to accept it--well, it's not a trick; there is nothing hidden here, except that which we hide from ourselves--to put aside our weird Western cynicism, our puritan fear of idleness and joy, and make ourselves see it. Sit down and look around, and accept at first impulse that all of it is for the joy of the creatures in hearing, seeing, feeling distance. We are the only ones who seem to find this acceptance so difficult. We are the only ones who seem to suffer. We are the only ones who engage in cruelty.
These things are, no doubt, related.