I believe we are spiritual beings that actually accept a life here on earth to learn the physical and learn what it is to exist with others in this physical realm. There are many philosophies about living and finding balance in a material world. The one that resonates most with me is ‘the way’ or Tao of the 2,000 year old Buddhist religion. With Tao we are taught to look within. It is a religion without one God to worship which leaves room for worshipping balance in the universe and within.
The reason this stands out for me against other religions is it appears other religions create conflict within by telling us it’s bad to feel greed and be materialistic, whereas it’s human to feel these things. That is why every religion on earth references it and tries to control it. Anyone from any religion can still consider the philosophy of the Buddhist religion without becoming Buddhist. I am not a Buddhist; I am simply a human being revelling in the philosophy of life unrestricted.
Salah and I both live in Canada and it is a privileged existence. When I’m looking for perspective I think of my friends the Martinez family in Paraguay who less than ten years ago didn’t even have running water or electricity in their house. When these simple conveniences became available to them, they were filled to the brim with delight. When was the last time you filled to the brim with delight?
Material goods are only temporary things to meet our needs here on earth. We tend to put too much emphasis on stuff and we plan out our next list of things we feel we need to acquire to feel complete, but without the inner balance, the ability to be without, the ability to just be, we may be chasing an elusive dream.
Most people want to be financially successful while not allowing it to impact their basic principles. It helps to actually write down what our materialistic desires are, recognise them, and then really ask ourselves what the perceived value is. If you asked anyone affected by the tsunami in Japan last month what is most important, it is their loved ones and life itself. It’s not about stuff, it’s about relationships, love and compassion, which leads to fulfilment.
I have a personal example. I have been working really hard for the last several years to earn enough money to support my parents who are aging and of frail health. Although I was happy to be able to generate the resources to help, I still felt I wasn’t doing enough for them. I had to make a decision in order to feel balanced about it. I’ve now actually moved in with them to support them physically, with love and compassion, not just resources. For the first time since I’ve been dealing with their crisis, I feel like I’m doing the right thing for them.
So Salah, I say to you this fine day, take time to analyze yourself when you have material desires and make sure you’re not trying to fill a gap in your life that could better be filled by being the most loving and compassionate person you can be. Give before you get, always. If your goal is that, I do believe you’ll have significantly less side trips to the material because you’ll no longer have a gap to fill. This is not easy when we’re trying to present a certain image to the world, one of a certain worth, but I’ll take it back to the Japanese to close.
It didn’t matter to the Japanese who was richer or poorer on that day when that tsunami struck. They were all equals, they were all survivors with a common goal and everyone became balanced in their desire to be of help, their thoughts of the material as far away as they can be. That is ‘the way’. That is Tao.
Breathe, look within, and start quantifying your soulful experiences on a happiness scale of 1-10. I can assure you, you get more satisfaction from giving of your personal self, than you ever will trying to maintain an image of material worth.
I am wishing you all an insightful and balanced week. If this were your last week on earth, how would you want to spend it? Who would you want to see and what would you want to say? Do it.