Avoiding the Acquisition Race by Taking Charge of Life and Finding the Courage to Change our Level of Contentment
AS A SOCIETY WE HAVE BEEN DECEIVED! Playing upon our vanities, the marketing folks have convinced us all that bigger, newer, faster, and safer is always better. They have successfully sold us, amid our ever-growing egos, on the belief that satisfaction and contentment are directly tied to acquisition, impact, achievement, and control. This just isn’t true. History shows that it never has been true and the current world condition indicates that it won’t be true in the future either. Discontent is the byproduct of this type of reasoning. Thinking this way ensures that we never feel that we have enough: enough money, enough toys, enough possessions, enough security, enough attention, and enough significance. As such, we all compete for limited resources in an attempt to feel safe and appreciated. The reality is that there is sufficient for all. The reality is that contentment and satisfaction are not found in things. The reality is that contentment is a state of mind attained only through discipline and determination. Happiness is not secured through ease, but through self-mastery.
Let’s step back for just a moment. Relax, breath deeply and clear our heads. Get our heart rates stable and slowed. Now ask ourselves, “What is it that I truly desire?” Not, what I’ve been programmed to believe I need, but what I sense in my very soul that is important. I believe that if we can get out of the acquisition race and take time to think clearly, most of us will arrive at the same place, the same conclusion, and the same desire. What we truly wish for is personal peace and serenity. We all want calmness and contentment, the kind our grandparents projected. Unfortunately, as we assess the obstacles between where we are and this magical state, it is readily seen that the very life engaged in is in direct opposition to such contentment. We pursue the illusion that acquisition is peace, but in reality it results in lives of constant fear and chaos. Ironically, peace can be defined as the absence of fear and chaos.
So what now? Einstein stated that the definition of insanity is to expect different results from the same behavior. The first step towards change is to revise our life’s purpose, and then to accept that this adjustment will require courage to alter our behavior. We must determine to pursue peace as our ultimate goal, knowing that in so doing, self-control and delayed gratification are necessary. Awareness that the vanity of unregulated pride is self destructive and that healthy humility controls pride through acceptance of self and others, is critical. We must develop the courage in advance to pursue this quest at all costs. For the greater reward to come, we must commit to resist the fears and pulls of the moment. We must commit to take a stand: commit to order, commit to obey, commit to work ,commit to be honest, and commit to give thanks for all. Of course it won’t be easy. Anything of value takes sacrifice. Only old rivers and crooked men get away with following the course of least resistance.
In the passion play of life, we must learn to resist our natural-born instinct for self-gratification. We must avoid the acquisition race and take charge of our own lives. We must dig deep to find the courage to change. We must adjust our understanding of true contentment. To truly experience peace, we must look outside personal perspective, and seek for a higher purpose beyond self.
Originally posted on September 16, 2011 on www.childofvirtue.blogspot.com