March 27

The person is the
richest whose pleasures
are the cheapest.

Henry David Thoreau


Today's Meditation:

The less you need to enjoy yourself and find true pleasure in life, the closer the enjoyment and pleasure are.  I can have a million dollars in the bank, but have few pleasures.  I can have a modest income and little money in the bank, and find great pleasure in the little things that cost little or nothing, and then I've found a wonderful side of life that few people stumble upon in their journeys through this life of ours. 

Do you want to be rich?  Then want fewer things.  When you let go of your wants and supposed "needs" and start to see just how satisfying the things that already are available to you are, you start to see the wealth that you already have, the riches that already are at your command.  Yes, I would love to be able to travel to a foreign country every year, but there are also some amazing places close to home that I don't know yet.  Expensive restaurants may have great food and a special atmosphere, but so do a lot of restaurants that don't drain your bank account nearly as much.

I think that part of the reason I agree with Henry is my age.  I'm older now than I used to be, and experience is teaching me that the things that other people try to cause us to want so that they can profit off of us, really don't do anything at all to make me happier, or to make me enjoy life any more.  The more I've chased things that I wanted, the less happy I was in the chase.  Now that I've realized just how much beauty and wonder surround me every day, just walking out our front door and seeing the trees and flowers and hearing the birds gives me a great deal of enjoyment.  They truly are riches. 

A nice walk in the woods will lift some people's spirits more than would a stroll on the Champs-Elysées.  A good pot of beef stew will satisfy some people more than a five-course gourmet meal would.  When I made the decision to be a school teacher, I doomed myself to a life without a lot of money, but that didn't mean that I wouldn't have a life full of riches.  Having realized that the money wouldn't be there, I learned the importance of seeing just how wealthy I already was with the things I already had.

Questions to consider:

From where do we get the tendency to equate wealth with money?  Is this an accurate perception? 

What kinds of wonderful pleasures are there around you right now that don't cost anything at all, from talking to a good friend to seeing a beautiful sunrise or sunset?

How many people with lots of money really aren't very rich at all?  Why?

For further thought:

Who is rich? They who rejoice in their portion.

The Talmud


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