Always wanting the newer or the perceived better….
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. I see people who are constantly “wanting”...I need the new “ipod” or “I need to upgrade my iphone” or “I need those new $200 sneakers, mine have a scuff mark on them”. When asked why these things are needed, the answer is because they are “newer” or “better”…So let me get this right.. a week ago what you had was the best thing in the world, but now that you saw a commercial or a friend or co-worker got something new, all of a sudden what you have now isn’t any good anymore?
Do you really “need” a Louis Vuitton bag? Can you somehow justify to yourself spending $2,500 on something that holds a wallet, a brush and your keys? A $50 bag from Walmart couldn’t do the same thing just as well?
You have the latest and greatest “iphone”…congratulations, your parents must be so proud!. So why do you also “need” the latest ipod, the newest computer, a new laptop, the newest video game system…wouldn’t just one of these things suffice? What do these items say about you…that you are cool, that you are wealthy, that you are super smart and sophisticated?..Or are these things really just ornaments that you carry around all day to say that you are greedy, a follower who is just buying what you are told by the media is “must have, can’t live without”?..Do you think that having the newest, most up to date of everything makes your life easier and more enjoyable? …Seriously?
I REALLY dislike the picture below…you see it everywhere you go now. Whole families, all in the same room, all on their separate devices…oblivious to each other and the world around them. Makes me miss the “good old days” when people would just gather in the living room after dinner and watch TV together…at least then there was SOME human interaction (even if it was just during commercials) but at least everyone was watching the same thing and could laugh or discuss it together. Now it’s just face down, staring at a phone, or an ipod or a laptop or whatever…….
I am going to get a little philosophical….I have been reading a pretty informative book called “Buddhism for Dummies”.. (this is not an advertisement, I am in no way trying to sell this book!)…I am not an overly religious person, but I really like some of the teachings called the “Dharma”….words that make a lot of sense. I am going to share some of what I have read so you can form your own opinion……
“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea”
Socrates, one of the fathers of Western philosophy and an overall pretty righteous dude, claimed that the unexamined life isn’t worth living. Most people who practice Buddhism would certainly agree with this. Because of the importance they place on logical reasoning and rational examination, many Buddhist traditions and schools have a strong basis in philosophy. Despite all its philosophical sophistication, however, Buddhism remains at heart an extremely practical religion. Buddha has often been called the Great Physician for good reason: He always avoided abstract speculation and made identifying the cause of human suffering and providing ways to eliminate it his chief concern. Likewise, the teachings (known as the Dharma) he shared are known as powerful medicine to cure the deeper dissatisfaction that afflicts us all.
Buddha’s first and best-known teaching, the Four Noble Truths (suffering; cause of suffering; cessation of suffering; the path that leads to the cessation of suffering), outlines the cause of suffering and the means for eliminating it. All subsequent teachings merely expand and elaborate upon these fundamental truths.
It may seem like I am rambling here, but it will all tie together in the end…
At the core of all genuine “dharma” teachings is the understanding that suffering and dissatisfaction originate in the way your mind responds and reacts to life’s circumstances — not in the raw facts of life. (kind of like “you play the hand you were dealt”) In particular, Buddhism teaches that your mind causes you suffering by attaching to permanence and constructing a separate self where in fact neither exists.
Buddha said happiness is actually quite simple: The secret is to want what you have and not want what you don’t have. Simple though it may be, it’s definitely not easy. Have you ever tried to tame your anger or your jealousy, control your fear, or remain calm and undisturbed in the middle of life’s inevitable ups and downs? If you have, you’ve no doubt discovered how difficult even the simplest self-control or self-awareness can be. To benefit from the medicine Buddha prescribed, you have to take it — which means, you have to put it into practice for yourself.
Ok…so if you are still with me here, you probably realize that the above couple of paragraphs make a lot of sense. Reading deeper into this, he also suggested that you only surround yourself with positive thinking people…negativity is a disease that weighs you down and makes you unhappy. Glass half full not half empty, what can we do to fix the problem or what did we learn so we don’t make the same mistake again instead of pointing the finger and placing blame.
We for the most part, control our own happiness. Sure unforeseen things happen that can throw a huge wrench into even the happiest, most positive thinking persons life. Sudden death, a major health problem, an unexpected financial crisis…these can all cause us major unhappiness. Grudges and resentment are things we all need to let go of.. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”.
According to reports from the website http://www.family.lifegoesstrong.com, a study conducted jointly by Humboldt University in Berlin and Cornell University in Ithaca ,New York researchers asked six hundred Facebook users how they felt while navigating through Facebook status updates.
More than a third reported feeling depressed and jealous.They don’t want what they have, they want what they don’t have.
The study attributes that Facebook can cause an “onset of depression” when users look at their friends’ pictures or statuses, making them jealous and feel that others have better jobs, more attractive and attentive spouses, nicer cars or houses, go to exciting places, and overall lead more exciting lives….. They don’t want what they have, they want what they don’t have.
But the study also showed that most people only brag and post the good things on Facebook, while hiding the ugly and sad parts of their lives.
Bottom line is….we control our own happiness. Surrounding yourself with upbeat positive people, good friends and loving family members (and dogs, like my buddy “Rocky” to your right!) is what really should make us happy. Letting go of anger, practicing forgiveness, helping those who need help and not placing material things on a shelf above everything else…this is kind of a summation of what the book I have been reading is stressing to make us happier as people. We all have the basic needs…food,shelter, clothes on our backs..love helps A LOT also. Just remember to WANT WHAT YOU HAVE, NOT WANT WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE. As usual, thanks for stopping by…don’t be a stranger!
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand