Happiness is found not in collecting and consuming, but in connecting and contributing
Today’s corporate-controlled consumerist culture makes us believe that our success and happiness are defined by how much we collect and how much we consume: how many fancy trinkets, gadgets and lifestyle products we have.
Yet collecting and consuming doesn’t really touch our heart, leave alone fulfill it. They titillate our mind and senses, and that titillation feels better than the humdrumness of our life’s daily routines. But is gaining such titillation the purpose of our life? Will that count when we are about to die and are wondering what we did with our life? Is having drunk a large number of bottles of fine wine a legacy worth leaving?
Gita wisdom explains that our life is meant for something much better, much bigger: it is meant for connecting and contributing. We are souls who are on a multi-life journey of spiritual evolution. We are parts of the all-attractive supreme, Krishna. When we connect with him, we experience a profound non-material enrichment that immunizes us against the many impure pleasures that delude and distract us. Being thus stabilized, we can connect better with others and have fulfilling relationships with them. And being purified by our connection with the all-pure divine, we can better use our God-given talents to make constructive contributions in the world. When our endeavors make a positive difference in even one person’s life, that provides a satisfaction that supersedes the titillation from the greatest collecting and consuming.
Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (05.21) states that when we become detached from worldly pleasures and focus on connecting with our spiritual side, we relish inexhaustible joy. And being thus connected and purified, we contribute to the welfare of everyone (05.25).
When we learn to focus on connecting and contributing, instead of obsessing over collecting and consuming, we all can create a better life for ourselves.
Think it over:
- Why doesn’t collecting and consuming satisfy us?
- How does connecting satisfy us?
- How does contributing satisfy us?
05.21 Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.
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