The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, goes a famous saying.
Indeed, there is a trend of competition, comparison and contention instead of satisfaction and contentment with what we have. The buzz sentence in the corporate world these days is “Satisfaction ceases progress”. Unfortunately, this quest of growth is the only reason for increasing instances of heart attacks among youth and the need of stress-reducing tablets among people of all ages and in all walks of life.
I often visit a spiritual institute in India and am impressed by the words written in bold in their lunch room – “Only one serving is provided. No refills.” You cannot ask for anything once you start eating your food. Your first serving can be as big or small as you prefer. It is assumed that being a human – the most superior species on earth – you should know the exact quantity you require. The same should be applicable to all other consumables. But I have noticed many people in that same lunchroom, who overfill their plates and then throw the leftovers in the garbage. This is a subtle form of greediness.
A similar mentality arises in every other aspect of life. We do not know how much currency we need, we do not know how many assets we need and interestingly, we do not even know the purpose of that need sometimes! Most of the time we set our goals and our needs by looking at what others are looking for.
It is a bitter reality that we have to die sooner or later. We can estimate our maximum age but do not know when we will die. When an ancient scholar was once asked what the most surprising thing on earth was, he replied that every day we see or hear people dying but we never truly realize the fact that the same will happen with us. This certainly is an amazing fact.
Today, all the struggle, fights and terrorism in the world is only because we seem to have forgotten this fact and we spend all of our time in accumulating and amassing the things which we have to leave – in fact, which we will be forced to leave – one day.
The permanent owner of these things is God only. He lets us use his assets to lead a good, reasonable and relaxed life. Do we ever claim our ownership over the book that we get issued from the library? Well, there is no point then, in wasting our entire energy and making massive efforts to snatch the resources which were not meant for us or which have been issued to others.
Contentment is the key to a healthy life, free of stress and self-created misery. It has been addressed as the ultimate wealth by some saints. Our own hard work and efforts should be enough to keep us satisfied with what we achieve. This life is too short to be squandered in useless thoughts over things that we don’t have and don’t even need. The difference between a need and a want should always be remembered!
Eeshaa vasyam idam sarvam yat kinchit jagatyaam jagat
Tain tyaktain bhunjitha ma gridhah kasyasvid dhanam!
- Yajurved (40.1)