A story on happiness and possessions

A lot of us equate happiness with the value or the number of possessions we own. Many philosophers and wise men from time immemorial have stated that this is wrong. Yet we continue to pursue costly possessions hoping that it will bring happiness.

In my own experience I have found that when you can afford whatever you want in life, it brings only misery not happiness. When I was a child I wanted to have small things and I couldn’t afford many of them. Nowadays I can afford a lot of stuff that interests me. As a consequence my interests have moved to more costly items that I cannot afford! I was more happy when I had less money than now!

Now don’t confuse this with poverty. As I said in an earlier post, poverty is a sin and is a curse. But having less expensive possessions only brings more happiness (at least for me). In fact it is better to have minimum number of quality possessions that are most useful in your life.  As Gautam Buddha said – "desire and attachment is the cause of all suffering". This doesn’t mean that we should have no desires in life. What it means is that desires should not control your life!

Here is an interesting story I found in a self help book. Many variations of this story can be found on the Internet.

An American tourist, on holiday in Greece, looks down from the jetty onto the beach below. A local man has just caught a couple of good sized fish and is cooking them over an open fire, whilst he lies down, shading himself against the Mediterranean sun.

The American strikes up a conversation.

"If you caught four fish a day instead of two and sold the other two fish, eventually you would make enough money to buy a little boat."

"What would I do with a little boat?" asked the Greek.

"Why then you could get further away from the shore to where there are more fish. You could probably catch at least eight fish a day."

"What am I going to do with eight fish a day? I can only eat two!"

"You sell the other fish . Eventually, with a bit of work, you could buy a whole fleet of little boats and employ people to go out in them and catch little fish for you."

"Why would I want to do that?"

"Just think of all the free time it could buy you."

"So what am I going to do with all this free time?"

"That’s up to you. What do you like doing?"

"Actually, I like lying around on the beach eating fish."

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May 8, 2011 | Posted in Opinion No Comments » | By Jayson Joseph

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