BY SOFO ARCHON
In the materialistic world that we live, we worship objects and derive pleasure solely from them. We want to possess more and more of them, thinking that only this way we can live in joy.
Our thirst for more material things is never quenched, and the more of them we acquire, the more thirsty we become. The reason why our thirst is never satisfied is that substitutes cannot fulfill our needs.
How can a big bank balance substitute inner peace?
How can a shiny car substitute loving attention?
How can possessions substitute our lost connection with people?
What we are searching for cannot be found in material objects, but in how we relate with our inner world, the people close to us and our wider environment.
Materialism is a prison that almost all people inhabit, but only a few manage to escape from it, because most don’t even recognize that the prison is there and that they are confined by it. Unaware of their slavery, how can they seek freedom?
If you sense that the prison of materialism exists and surrounds you, the following realizations might help you to escape from it and regain the freedom you’ve lost a long time ago:
You have enough
If you are reading this article, it means that you have internet connection, a computer or another electronic device, and a house to live in, which in turn means that you have enough to satisfy your basic needs and wants.
In the world, however, hundreds of millions of people don’t even have enough food to eat, clean water to drink, and a roof to live under. But we, being brought up in a materialistic culture, always want to possess more and more stuff, not realizing what other people are lacking. Instead of searching to find ways to help them live like every human being deserves to live, we only think about our personal gratification, which comes through the acquirement of material things that don’t actually make our life better in any way.
By looking at your condition from a wider perspective, you will come to see that you have much more than you think, and begin to realize what should concern us all.
What you own, owns you
Objects are good when we use them, but not good when we are being used by them.
The more things you possess, the more you will want to protect your possessions, and the more attached to them you are, the more insecure you will feel, which can make you obsessed with acquiring more of them without end, out of fear that you might lose what you already have.
Using material things that are serving you to improve the quality of your life is perfectly fine, but if you let them take over your life, they can turn into harsh dictators that will never allow you to find peace and happiness.
Joy is derived from sharing, not hoarding
To love and be happy means to give what you have and share your experiences with others.
Studies have found again and again that helping others contributes to our happiness and overall well-being, and that healthy relationships with other people play the most important role in determining how happy we are.
We tend to believe that when we hoard things we are better off, but in reality this is only making us greedy and alienates us from community, which is a sure-fire way to dissatisfaction.
Everything you have will one day be taken away from you
Physical death is approaching, moment to moment, and everything that belongs to you–even you body–will sooner or later be taken away from you, whether you like it or not. Therefore, the more attached you are to material objects, the more difficult it will be let go of what you possess, and one day you will find yourself losing everything you thought is yours right in front of your bare eyes, which will cause immense anguish in your psyche.
In reality, nothing belongs to us–we are just visitors here, and the more we let go of the idea that some things are our own, the more free and at peace with ourselves and the world we’ll be.
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