February 23

Today's quotation:

The old thought that one cannot be rich except at the expense of his or her neighbor, must pass away.  True prosperity adds to the richness of the whole world, such as that of the person who makes two trees grow where only one grew before.  The parasitical belief in prosperity as coming by the sacrifices of others has no place in the mind that thinks true.  My benefit is your benefit, your success is my success, should be the basis of all our wealth.

Anne Rix Miltz

Today's Meditation:

Prosperity that causes others to be poor is no prosperity at all.  Instead, it's a rather sad way of trying to be successful, a way to look after ourselves while ignoring the needs and desires of our fellow human beings.  It's a very lonely way to live, and a very destructive one.  If we try to build our prosperity on the poverty of other human beings, then we've lost much of our own humanity because we see ourselves not as a part of humanity, but separate from humanity, willing to make others suffer as we pick their pockets of their own wealth.

Any gain that I make I want to be as a result of a contribution to others, not as a result of taking from others.  My use of goods that I have in life should be made to benefit others in addition to me.  If I'm to be truly prosperous, I have to share my prosperity--which is something that we don't see nearly enough of in the world currently, where it seems that everyone is out for what they can get for themselves.

It's also important that we keep in mind that we can be incredibly prosperous just by keeping our wants and needs simpler.  If I can afford to eat out every so often, then I'm prosperous, unless I feel that I should eat out every night and can't afford to do so.  Then I'm suffering from poverty.  If I feel that I need a $150 pair of pants but can't afford them, then I have a problem.  If I'm fine with a nice pair of pants that costs $20-30 and I can afford them, then I'm living a prosperous life.

We have a lot of things--gadgets and tools and electronics and toys and vehicles and houses.  But when we see and hear how many people are simply unhappy, we have to come to the conclusion that we're not really that prosperous.  Let's look for prosperity in the ways that will help others and simplify our lives.

Questions to consider:

How do you define "prosperity"?  Are you prosperous?

Why do so many of us see prosperity only as something excessive?

What are some steps you might take to become more prosperous?
For further thought:

We've got the most prosperous culture in human history and we've also got the biggest spiritual hole in human history.  People are saying, "I can't fill the hole with money.  I can't fill it with alcohol, or drugs, or sex, so what do I need to fill it with?"

Mark Victor Hansen

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