Rich or Poor
Hello and welcome to this glorious Friday, August 6, 2021. Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again.
If you were to base my wealth on United States standards, I would fall well below the poverty line. Nevertheless, I’ve never felt so rich.
There was a time in my life when I would have been associated with an upper middle-class standard of living. Interestingly, it was during these times of higher income—the good life—when I felt the most impoverished. Though there were many other circumstances happening at that time in my life and while I can confidently say that I never really had a healthy relationship with money, through my mindfulness practice, I’m starting to see how wealth has less to do with our level of income and has more to do with our attitude.
During the time when I was bent on acquiring income and building an impressive portfolio, seldom did I feel contented and satisfied. Just as soon as I’d reach a benchmark, whatever that looked like, I felt a sudden sense of joy and accomplishment. This was immediately followed, however, with an overwhelming emptiness; a need for something more. I felt a sense of poverty. What I had was never enough. When do we have enough? Where is the limit here?
If I look around at some of the wealthiest people in the world, it suggests that there is never enough. Only more. It appears that there is an obsessive need, not just a want, but a need to accumulate. How can we ever experience a feeling of wealth, peace, and/or contentment, if we’re constantly being driven towards more?
I have come to believe that gratitude is the best measure of wealth.
I have had the honor of meeting, either in person or through literature, what I would define as truly wealthy people. Many of these people would be considered well-off and others have had little to nothing. What they all embody is gratitude. Regardless of how much or how little they have, it is enough. There is no fear that they won’t be cared for. They live through faith. What they have, they want. If financially in a position to do so, they may continue to buy things. This is not because they are driven to do so, it is because it brings them joy and is meaningful. Regardless, they can live peacefully without it.
At the extreme, people like Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi, the Buddha, and Gandhi have demonstrated that a beggar’s life is wealthiest of all. Having nothing to call their own, no security, trusting that the generosity of others will provide for them, seems to be the truest form of wealth.
Wealth can be defined as having abundance (I suggest an abundance of gratitude). If we feel as though we need more, we can never experience the felt sensations of abundance. Dissatisfaction and discontentedness are feelings associated with poverty. Gratitude, to me, is wealth. Having enough is wealth. Regardless of how much we have in our bank account or how much we own, being satisfied with what we have, I believe, is wealth.
I have no intention of making a generalization on how much money everyone should make and the lifestyle in which they should live. I am not suggesting that we should all live the beggar’s life. This is a personal path for each of us to explore considering our own level of comfort and trust. Nevertheless, I will suggest that if we don’t have enough now, it’s unlikely that anything we acquire that is outside of us will provide that feeling of wealth that we all so desperately seek.
However, once we decide that we are satisfied with our lot, that we are grateful for all that we have (and all that we don’t have), our wealth seems to be immeasurable.
May you all be wealthy.
You are Loved by me, Unconditionally!
Contribute to the Turning Leaf Foundation
If you would like to help bring Mindfulness to the less fortunate and to help pay for current services, your generosity is deeply appreciated.