Buddhists believe that the root of all suffering comes from desire or attachment. Our society shoves consumerism down our throats daily, which most people don’t realize causes us to acquire an unconscious belief that “we don’t have enough” “we need more to be complete, happy, satisfied or content”. It is this wrong thinking that causes so many a great deal of pain. If you’re reading this you’re probably in the top percentage of the world for food, shelter, opportunity and abundance and even though this is true research has shown us that for the most part poor countries are happier than wealthy ones as evidenced in this article by Henry Makow where he goes so for to state that Materialism = Misery.
This fundamental error in thinking will always leave you feeling unfulfilled. To desire to grow as a person and achieve your goals is only a natural evolution and in itself is natural. The desire to help others is not true desire as my refugee monk Chanda explained to me in Nepal, however you must do this in a state of non-attachment to your goal and a state of pure gratitude for everything you have now. I have witnessed these concepts first hand in countries like Nepal and Cambodia where the people are happy, helpful, incredible people who have very little to offer and will give you everything they can in a heartbeat. They work but do not sacrifice all of their time for work as we do and they truly appreciate every blessing that they have.
Dobri Dobrev is nearly 100 years old and is a beautiful example of selflessness and compassion. A veteran of world war two, which cost him most of his hearing Dobri walks 25 km by foot in his homemade shoes and clothing to ask or as some see it beg for donations, not for himself but to donate to his local Churches, orphanages and monasteries in his hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria. Dobri sustains himself on his government pension of only $80 euros per month and for decades has given 100% of his donations to these organizations truly embodying selflessness and non-attachment. It is estimated that over the years Dobri has raised in the neighbourhood of $40,000 euros.
It is certainly unnecessary to go to the lengths of Dobri and relinquish all possession such as a Sadhu in India does and devote your life to service of others and the spiritual path. However it is absolutely mandatory you consider the implications of a story like this for your own life. To sit and ponder about your own thoughts, deeds and actions. Question how much suffering and unfulfillment you are causing yourself by not being grateful for what you have and desiring more. As you begin to really think about the question I just presented you allow yourself to go one step further in the direction of enlightenment and selflessness by gaining a new understanding for the lessons all ascended masters were trying to teach. In a life of selflessness and service to others you will gain more clarity, happiness, fulfillment, and spiritual growth.
As most people meander aimlessly in a confused stupor in their lives about what their purpose is, how can I be happier and more fulfilled they’re ignorant to simple truths. Stop being so damn selfish and greedy, be truly grateful for everything that you have, your health, friends, food, opportunities, clothing, family, car, bus, everything. The next step is to surrender to desire and attachment, allow everything you have to be enough and desire to grow as a person towards your goals but don’t let their success be your reason for happiness, be happy now! The final step and this is the most important is to show love and compassion to everyone you meet and all living things because the reality is that they are a reflection of you, they are you. Buddha, Christ, Krishna and all realized teachers knew this and although it sounds a bit outlandish it’s true, everything you see is merely a mirror of yourself. Everything that you project will come back to you and it is your duty as a human being on this planet to be of service to others. This doesn’t have to mean doing anything grand it can be a smile, a compliment, a helping hand when needed to show true compassion and love to all that you meet will fill your heart with more happiness than any material object ever could. Through your deeds so you become, everything you do, say, or even think matters and it has real power. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others, be happy and grateful now, do your best not to get swept up into the illusion that wants to guide you away from the truth about yourself and all things.
“Do not be misled by what you see around you, or be influenced by what you see. You live in a world which is a playground of illusion, full of false paths, false values and false ideals. But you are not part of that world.”