July 17
Possessions, outward success,
publicity, luxury--to me these have
always been contemptible.  I assume
that a simple and unassuming manner
of life is best for everyone, best
for both the body and the mind.

Albert Einstein


Today's Meditation:

"Contemptible" is a very strong word, of course, but it does make sense here.  Albert Einstein could have had all the fame and fortune that he could have desired, but he chose instead to lead a more simple life.  He was in the limelight very often, but that wasn't important to him.  To him, life was important, but the things that society told him should be important to him weren't.  The more fame one has, the more stress one has and the more expectations one has to live up to.  Therefore, we can lessen our stress by keeping our desires for outcomes simple:  a nice place to live, decent clothes to wear, good friendships, ways to serve.  These simple things can add up to a very positive life.

But unfortunately, these days leading a simple life means that we have to reject many of the expectations of our peers and colleagues and our culture.  Leading a life in a simple and unassuming manner means not doing many of the things that others may expect from us, which leads to the stress of feeling that we're disappointing people.

Should we be searching for a way of living that is best for us in both body and mind?  Should we be seeking to be successful by becoming happy rather than by becoming wealthy or powerful?  Should we gauge our success in life by the number of people we've helped, or by the amount of things that we've gotten from other people, through any means possible?

There's nothing inherently wrong with success or material gain.  But when they rob us of our simple tastes and our ability to be satisfied simply, they can keep us at an uncomfortable distance from our happiness and contentment.  Personally, I'm with Albert, and I hope always to find satisfaction from the simple things in life instead of trying to gain things like material success that may or may not make me a happier human being.

Questions to consider:

What do you consider to be a "simple and unassuming manner of life"?

In what ways might you reinforce your own ability to find satisfaction in the simple things of life?

Why do you think Albert Einstein might have found such things as possessions and luxury to be contemptible?

For further thought:

Most people see success as being rich and famous or powerful and influential.  Others see it as being at the top of their profession and standing out from the rest.     The wise see success in a more personal way; they see it as achieving the goals they have set for themselves, and then feeling pride and satisfaction in their accomplishments.  True success is felt in the heart, not measured by money and power.
   So be true to yourself and achieve those goals you set.  For success is reaching those goals and feeling proud of what you have accomplished.

Tim Tweedie

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