Ego-driven desires tend not to provide lasting fulfillment, and associated therewith, all forms are transient and impermanent. The key thing is how we feel – if we have “gained the world but lost our soul,” then fulfillment is missing. But, returning to the subject of materialism, if you really want that new house or new car, or whatever it may be, go ahead and learn from how you feel. It may indeed be a source of pleasure and gratitude for many years to come – and also be of benefit to those close to you. If this is the case, then you have chosen wisely and avoided the trap of “I’ll be happy when …”
Of course, if you are well-off financially, you won’t have any difficulty in purchasing things. If, on the other hand, you feel that you have to struggle to get what you want, then there is a “cost-benefit” factor to consider. Is the perceived pain (cost) in getting your gain (benefit), going to be worth the price in terms of time, energy, sacrifice and so on?
We can bear in mind that civilization has always progressed and moved onward and upwards – western civilization was in the midst of the industrial revolution only 200 years go, and just see how things have progressed since then. Our lives are full of conveniences, even if many of these are taken for granted. It seems that no sooner that our conditions improve, we take them for granted as the new norm and we may ask “what’s next?!”
If we are truly connected with our Source as “forever-Being,” (which will tend to keep us purposeful), we will feel joy, and as such, our needs are already met. Forever-Being – our sense of expanded present moment awareness with the ego set-aside – is complete and joyful, and the main point about fulfilling desires or destiny is to move towards joy! If we live in the (feeling of) joy as forever-Being, responding to life situations wisely and creating fulfilling life experiences, what else do we need?
Does this mean that our connection to forever-Being, in expanded present moment awareness, implies that we don’t have any need for material comforts? Thinking on this a few years ago, as I was writing these words in Thailand, in a classy air-conditioned French restaurant, I realized that my material gains from prior working had been a major source of fulfillment and gratitude. Challenges come up now and again, which I’m normally able to deal with quite rapidly, and so rarely if ever impinge on my wellbeing.
I live very simply in a 5 star apartment near the sea, in glorious weather and a healthy environment. Since my apartment is paid for already, my ongoing accommodation expenses are minimal. While my apartment is quiet and overlooking a national park of religious significance, I have many conveniences within a few minutes walking distance, including reasonably priced 24 hour convenience stores. As I review my life so far, I can feel satisfied that I enjoyed an excellent education, published some articles and books, had a varied and interesting career, traveled to over 40 countries, and enjoyed so many experiences.
If I hadn’t worked and occasionally struggled, I would not have enjoyed the comfort provided by certain material-benefits, and be able to sit in this relaxed situation to write and publish. My life has not been perfect, with some trying relationship issues to manage, yet I have no regrets and appreciate the growth arising from all experiences. We may have to struggle on occasion, yet we can affirm that “this too will pass.” Nothing is permanent, however distressing the stuation may seem to be at the time.
So, my personal experience, admittedly ego-driven to a point, suggests that yes, we could all do with arranging our lives in a comfortable and relatively stress-free way that promotes wellbeing. (Wellbeing is also connected to our diet, sleep regime, exercise, relationships, habits, environment and connection to forever-Being or Source). Part of this wellbeing can, and does arise, from material-benefits and conveniences so long as healthy choices are made. And, living from ego, glimpses of gratitude that arise from certain material benefits can contribute to feeling good. We will not call this joy, because joy is considered to be a feeling without external cause that arises from forever-Being, our connection with all-that-is.
Material-benefits, if not synonymous with our wellbeing, are highly related. Would we want to forge a destiny that denied material benefits? That is not to say that there are not some highly developed spiritual people for whom the externals, including material-benefits, truly have no relevance; and, for whom martyrdom for a great and noble cause is an acceptable, perhaps even an enjoyable option. Never-the-less, while recognizing that some material-benefits can support our well-being in an ego-driven world, we are advocating operating from forever-Being , where inner peace and expanded awareness are primary . Are you inspired by people that overcome adversity to achieve great things? Or, touched by the poor person who gives away what little he or she has? Is this feeling from the spirit within?
So, what are we advocating here – to be rich or to be poor? If we were cavemen, money would not be necessary, but, here in the 21st Century, money is essential for the basic necessities of life. And while we may not be fans of blatant consumerism and unnecessary consumption, we should want to enjoy at least some of the fruits of advancement. Things like a nice living environment, proximity to conveniences and easy transport which may mean having a nice car. [Of course, some cities are notable by the absence of certain conveniences, heavy traffic, social issues, and pollution, etc. and hopefully we can choose a conducive environment to live].
In order to operate from the state of forever-Being, we advocate
1. Living in, and sensing, the present moment, now
2. Accepting, with total humility, that you are forever-Being, from one Source, connected to Source, living from Source, continuing beyond this human life, yet always, forever, always remaining part of Source
3. Living in light, ease and grace, out of the “JAR” – an acronym for Judgment/ comparison, Attachments/ grasping, and Resistance to what is – adopt the attitude “I don’t mind what happens” or similar, while ready to make changes if things are not to your liking. Or, you can try to go a stage further to just “love what-is,” knowing that you are part of the “Oneness” – all that is.
4. Limiting visits to past and future, to helpful scenarios. Still in the now – you can, for example, retrieve a good memory to be grateful for, review past experience in order to guide a decision about the future, act on inspirations or deliberately outline the year ahead and so on.
5. Operating from powerful maxims such as: (i) I don’t mind what happens; (ii) I have no problems (in the) Now; (iii) I’m Still Here (Essence) and (iv) I run my own mind (self-mastery)
In order to be fulfilled we need to be living in accordance with our values, and be in the flow of life which includes making a contribution in ways that feel natural and right to us. This contribution is highly relevant to our destiny or any calling that we feel. And, “gratitude” is an essential practice which provides a cue to focus attention on, and appreciate the abundance already in our lives.
This concludes the 5 Part series.
Reference and source of further information: Peak Performance!! Merging Spirituality & Success Principles available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble