Money may not be the answer to all problems but it does make life a bit easier. Knowing that you don’t have to choose between feeding your kids or yourself, you aren’t one paycheque from being homeless and your car won’t be repossessed, has to make you feel a little happy. But beyond that, there are completely miserable and bitter wealthy people. Many truly believe (even if it’s subconscious) that the diamond ring will make them happy, that luxury goods will make them happy, the big house will make them happy. It doesn’t.
The problem is that people don’t seem to realize that no amount of money or “things” will ever bring any kind of real “life satisfaction”. It will bring some comfort, luxury and ease of living (maybe), but nothing more. Not even if money is simply considered a form of security, because they are tons of financially secure miserable people.
While arrogance or lack thereof is all about character and not how much you have in your pocket, money and/or the stuff, anything from a 2-carat diamond ring to placate the wife at home to the women at the strip club that you buy with that money, does exacerbate the problem. He who has the gold, makes the rules. Sometimes the money maker is not arrogant, the people (family members, friends) around the money maker, using his/her money are arrogant.
Then people crave something more, something priceless that money can’t buy. Like love. But unfortunately, once they find love, they forget why they sought love in the first place; because money and everything it could buy, bought them no happiness. So they look for money to complement the love, which is reasonable to the point it fulfils one’s basic needs, not numbs one to reality and brings one back into the situation where one was willing to swap money for love.
Do not seek to be loved at any price, because love has no price.
— Paulo Coelho
The biggest destroyer of oneself are one’s beliefs, if such beliefs lead to other than one’s happiness. We emotionally cling on to and defend our beliefs as defined by our observations, deductions and experience, even contorting logic to support and reinforce them, so they become irrefutable facts. Our reality then becomes how we see and interpret the world through this window.
“Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
— Alan Alda
If you lack or want to change something in your life, ask yourself what that is – what would be the perfect scenario for you, whether the cooperation of others is needed and if so are they willing to cooperate and what are the terms on which you want to lead your life. Most importantly reflect on whether it would lead to your ultimate happiness.
Make choices in your mind; your life will then begin to align itself with your goals. You would have made your mind work for you by carving a path for yourself, rather than you being an instrument of your mind.
A sense of trust allows us to connect with people and share intimacy of thought, which is key to happiness.
Most people are so closed that it bothers me; such as when I talk to a little girl and she does not answer, feeling awkward or hesitant likely due to the conditioning of her parents and friends about not talking to strangers or worse, being afraid of pedophiles. Such closed people may never be harmed by another person in their lifetimes, but they are certainly harming themselves on an ongoing basis, like dying a slow, painful death in anticipation of one’s death, rather than living one’s life to the fullest for however long one has to live. However people don’t realize this and spend their lives in pursuit of one special relationship with a significant other, to the exclusion of people at large, and then wonder why they feel lonely and disconnected in the absence of that one person.
People who are uninhibited spread joy to others who are similarly open to connecting with people. Beyond an open mind, radiate a warmth; initiate or respond with a smile, wave, handshake, hug or conversation; all work wonders to make us happy as a collective.
Hope is like a drug; one takes it and forgets one’s sorrows. Like any other drug, when the intoxication wears, one feels miserable. Hope is more dangerous and addictive than any other drug, because it is legal, encouraged, free and readily available, and when the illusion is shattered, one sinks into a greater depression.
We hope everything will be better tomorrow, and it keeps us going today. How is that unlike taking a drug to take the edge off today?
When one accepts one’s circumstances, one becomes content and happy with one’s today, with the additional benefit of living one’s today to the fullest rather than living for the next day that may never come.
Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is Life itself, it is an insane way to live.
— Eckhart Tolle
It is not about resigning oneself to the belief that everything has a purpose, that everything happens for the best or that whatever happens is a blessing in disguise. It is about not enquiring as to why, and going with, “That is how it is”, regardless of reason, and that has an additional benefit of conserving one’s energy by not having to think about it in an attempt to justify one’s circumstances to oneself.
Acceptance is the permanent and universal cure to our temporary and changing circumstances.
We constantly seek security, whether it be money in the bank, owning as opposed to renting or job security. There is safety and comfort in permanence, or at least what we perceive as permanent. There are four factors to consider in our quest for the security of what we consider permanence:
- It indicates that we have no faith in the Divine or Universal Energy in providing for us as it has all along since we were conceived until we decided to take matters into our own hands.
- I feel the pursuit of permanence has an enslaving effect, and temporariness is liberating.
- Life itself is temporary, so it seems illogical to seek permanence in a temporary world.
- In the equation of life, there are many variables, and the only constant is change.
Is destiny pre-written or is the course of our lives in our own hands by virtue of our power of choice?
I believe destiny is the default setting, and choice is our ability to customize.
Life is like a game of cards; the hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.
— Jawaharlal Nehru
It does not matter what one believes though. That would be akin to being concerned about the lock and neglecting the key. The key being acceptance of the situation, regardless of it being pre-destined or brought about by the exercise of our own choices.
What we believe, is of no consequence, if we do not use such belief to achieve the effect it is designed to deliver – that of acceptance of our situation.
Belief is a tool for achieving effects; it is not an end in itself.
— Peter Carroll
Anything and everything you hear from supportive family and friends, read in books or online, or understand through analytical thinking is moot, as those are no more than means to justify to your mind why things are the way they are. They are not solutions.
The bottom line, after you have changed what you can’t accept, is to ultimately make peace with your situation by accepting the culminating product of your choices.
Change what you can’t accept and accept what you can’t change.
When life is out of control, hopelessness sets in and one wonders how will life go on, remember the answer, “One day at a time”.
As long as one is motivated, the key to accomplishing any task that is overwhelming due to its magnitude, appears unattainable or beyond one’s ability, is, ‘one step at a time’.
If I were to plan to startup a hotel, I should only think of first taking up a job at one or doing a hotel management course. Or a smaller baby step, like researching where I want to study. Not think about hiring staff for my hotel, worry about potential competition or how to achieve occupancy. That would overwhelm me and would be counter-productive.
If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.
— His Holiness The Dalai Lama XIV
Worrying is worthless. When you stop focusing on what has already happened and what may never happen, then you’ll be in the present moment. Then you’ll begin to experience joy in life.
— Brian Weiss
Here’s a story – A couple were worrying about their upcoming journey that required them to cross a rickety makeshift bridge. From well before the journey and through the trip, they kept worrying if the bridge would give way when they would attempt to cross it. When they got to the bridge, they saw that the makeshift bridge had been replaced by a sturdy, permanent one. Thus their worrying was needless and they ruined their days and nights prior to and the entire journey over it. Hence they say,
Cross the bridge when you get to it.
When you’re feeling threatened by things that haven’t happened yet, remember these words:
Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From the evil which never arrived.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
The concept of having one “special someone” in one’s life is a recipe for devastation that would result from when such person is no longer in one’s life. Instead we need to expand that circle to include everyone, even connecting with strangers. Draw larger circles so the world is one’s family. The more emotional intimacy we share with others, the happier will we be.