Find Happiness 23: Wealth Is Important, but Should It Be Your Main Focus?

Sure, wealth is necessary to live. What is the point of going through life without worldly comforts and living in consequent pain, misery or deprivation? All these make life unhappy. Would you rather spend your life unhappily or happily? I bet I know your answer.

But should the pursuit of wealth be your be-all and end-all? Is that all there is to life?  (Reminder: I am not saying that the pursuit of wealth, aka “material things”, is unimportant and that you should live in a monastery) …

Now pause for a moment and take a deep breath…

I hate to bring this up, but one of these days you will be dying (so will I, if that is any consolation). I hope you have rehearsed that event… I mean you should have imagined what your experience of dying will be like.

dead-body

Well, have you? If not, do it now (remember, it’s only a rehearsal… there is nothing to fear).

If you had spent your entire life chasing wealth, would you, in your final moments, feel it was a life well spent?? Probably not.

You would say to  yourself, “I am dying…I am going away from all those possessions, as well as my family and friend… what is going to happen to me now?”… why didn’t I think about this moment during my lifetime, why did I spend all my time thinking about acquiring possessions… oh my God, where am I going, what is going to happen to me …. (eternal silence follows)

If during your lifetime you had:

•    made yourself materially comfortable (nice house, transportation, clothes, food, healthcare)
•    enjoyed harmless pleasures of the senses
•    cared for your loved ones: been kind and encouraging to your partners, children, parents and all others whom you had significant interaction with
•    done a lot of good to other living beings (including other animals)
•    come to terms with the meaning of life and of death
•    spent the majority of your life without stress, anxiety and worry,

would you, in your final moments, feel comfortable?? You most probably would.

Clearly the second scenario is preferable, and you cannot wait until your last days to make it happen. You have to start making it happen NOW.

Begin by spending ten minutes a day reading what various happiness and inner peace coaches say, and study more of whosever teaching you find most compatible. Move to another teacher if you do not see results in a few months. Rinse and repeat until you find a path that delivers the outcome you want.

Remember: Happiness is your birthright and is built into you; persevere in your search for it and you will definitely find it, as thousands of others have!

To your success in that,


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Permanent Happiness Cannot Depend on Something Non-Permanent

fish-pondLet us say you want to be dependent on a particular pond for a year-round supply of fish. Suppose the pond completely dries up in summer. Would that pond be a reliable source of food for the whole year?  NO WAY!!!

It would be better to depend on a large supermarket for your supply of fish. A supermarket gets hold of fish from any of several sources — — — if one source dries up, it gets the fish from a different source. The net result is that you can depend on the supermarket for a year-round supply of fish (I know this is not a perfect example, I’m only too aware that supermarkets do close. Just get my drift for now.)

Extending this analogy, if you want anything to be permanent, its existence cannot depend on something impermanent. Permanent happiness is no exception.

So what should your permanent happiness depend on?

  • If you try to make it depend on pleasant thoughts, you run into trouble. You can’t be thinking those pleasant thoughts all the time … for instance, if someone screams insults at you for 48 minutes nonstop , can you imagine yourself thinking pleasant thoughts while it’s going on? Your permanent happiness, therefore, cannot depend on your thought process.
  • Can your permanent happiness depend on a person? In that case, what happens when that person falls out with you, or dies?
  • Can your permanent happiness depend on an object (like a car)? What happens if the object is stolen, sold, obsoleted or broken in two?
  • Can it depend on being at a particular place? What happens when you have to leave the place?
  • OK, how about it depending on your job? What happens when you retire or lose your job?
  • What about depending on a mental image? Let’s say whenever you visualize a particular religious figure or a certain kind of light, you feel happy. But can you be in that state all the time? How’ll you go about your day-to-day tasks?

Basically what you want to know is: the identity of an unchanging, permanent thing that you can hitch your happiness to.

When I say "permanent" I mean something that doesn’t disappear at any time.

There are very few things that fit that bill. Let me save you the trouble of searching: the answer to that question lies in your own mind, or,  more precisely,  in the background of your own mind.

BASIC-YOU This is what I mean by "the background": behind all your thoughts and emotions is a quiet observer which is your basic state of existence. It is the witness to all the thoughts that go on in your head as well as all the sights, sounds, smells and touches that hit you. It is your "sense of being"; when you emerged from your mother’s womb, it’s pretty much all that there was in your head. It never changes and has been there all your life, witnessing all external events (games with your childhood playmates, hours in classrooms, life with companions, weddings, holidays, et al) and internal events (thoughts, emotions and memories). That is what you have to make your happiness depend on. As a matter of fact that is itself happy and peaceful all the time.

It is the basic you, and if you want to locate that state of mind in your own head, follow the instructions in this earlier post.

Now get to itevery unhappy second is a wasted second!!

 

Take care,


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