Ostentation, extravagance and needless consumption were never a part of spiritual life. Rather, austerity, simple living and high thinking are the qualities real spiritual seekers are encouraged to aspire for.
However, living in a world where endless promos, offers and a slew of products clamour for eyeballs and footfalls every second of our lives, it is no surprise that we are lured into consuming beyond what is necessary just to keep up with the Joneses, even if it burns a hole in one’s pockets. It is the same with success. With stories of high profilers splashed around, we begin to think our work lacks meaning unless we do what they are doing.
While wanting to evolve in certain respects in life is laudable, hankering after illusory pleasures is fraught with risks. Nothing is permanent and lasting. What is everlasting is within us, not without, and is what gives us unalloyed joy. The scriptures teach this to us.
A vital step in this process is the CULTIVATION OF CONTENTMENT. Once we are content with what we have, we will stop chasing a never-ending list of wants and we will be at peace with ourselves. Contentment is the key to gratitude. Gratitude teaches us to value, appreciate and be happy with what we are blessed with and accept that it all comes from a higher power and, therefore, is just what we need.
Contentment also enables us to develop equanimity and an even temperament ——– neither losing our head when we get a sudden windfall nor plunging into the depths of despair when we suffer a temporary loss. Not being granted something often forces us to re-chart life’s course. There have been people who have converted opportunities denied into engines for growth and change. While there will always be a section that is better off than us, there are others who make do with so little in life —– fewer clothes, fewer toys, fewer status symbols and, at times, living a life of extreme deprivation and yet are far happier. This only shows that acquisition of material objects and the pursuit and attainment of transitory pleasures is not a pre-condition for happiness.
Contentment is not complacency. It is being content with who one is, because each of us is “unique”. Contentment impacts your body language, your emotions and your feelings too. When you are filled with a feeling of satisfaction you emit a different energy. The peace that radiates from within you lends a glow of its own.