Where does true happiness lie?
All around the world we all have different perceptions on our lives and how we live it. We may only be determined to find we have enough water to last for the week that will make us happy, we may want to purchase a private yacht, we could be living in a war zone desperate to escape and when we do we are ecstatic, we may enjoy dancing round our fire in the middle of the forest semi naked, we may strive to be the next famous celebrity, we may be saving lives in a hospital or maybe we could be in the middle of a doctorate at Cambridge. Different things give us happiness.
Let’s look at the way in what makes one happy and another unhappy. One day somebody in the world is collecting dirty water to drink after walking 12 miles to the nearest river and are feeling happy they have it. Another person is upset because they can’t book their hair appointment immediately. Do you see how ridiculous the latter sounds in comparison to the former. One is fighting to stay alive and the other is throwing a hissy fit because she can’t get her hair appointment!
Many of us, in the western world are obsessed with so many luxuries we have made us think it’s a necessity for us to be happy and satisfied with our lives. From expensive gym memberships when a run in the local park would suffice or yet another large shopping trip to max out the credit card. This quick fix of joy feeling is only fleeting until you need to do it all again.
In another part of the world, a group of people are working tirelessly outside on their land while the sun is roasting to ensure they have food for the winter, the clothes they wear are old and dirty, the same shoes have been worn year in year out. They have no idea what an i-pad is, their definition of a car is wheels with an engine that works and as for the make and the model, forget discussing that with them. They are smiling though, they are breathing in fresh air, they have little but also have so much, just by looking at their faces.
Are we all lured by our western society to be so obsessed with thinking happiness lies in things. We are hardwired since birth that this is what we need to survive. We are so conditioned to think money is the solution to all our emotional, mental and physical needs. The funny thing is, we all were so much happier when things were less governed by the need to have luxuries instead of necessities. Depression is not known in some parts of the world because they are not governed by money. Money is like a drug and there are very few, who won’t succumb to it’s hold. Those that do are seen as hippies, but they carry a sense of freedom in them as they no longer follow societies pressures they put upon us.
In other poorer countries, I remember seeing so much contentment and satisfaction coming from a local just pickling her fruit for the winter and sharing a jar. Encountering the generosity with what little a family had to welcome us to their home. These lovely gestures are not grand but they mean more than any material thing on earth. When you see a child with very little, with the widest smile on their face offering you a shell they found on the beach,in a land that is facing poverty everyday, you see pure and innocent love and a happiness no money could buy.
We are as human beings, not a cog wheel or a monkey being trained to do what the others do. If you ever walk in London in the mid morning rush, you see a stream of faces full of the worries of the world. Money does that. The faces usually depict a thousand thoughts running through their fraught minds. I call it the grey city, because everyone seems so utterly miserable (apart from the buskers!)
I hope as I am sure plenty of you do too, that one day we can break free from the consumer cages we are all in.
The way we can try to help this happen is to also teach our new generations not to get so bogged down with consumerism. Give them an education and let them be knowledgeable beyond the bounds of academia. Some things just don’t get covered in mainstream schooling and its those very things that could change the way we are as a human race.
Poverty should not exist. There is absolutely no reason why our country and others can’t eradicate poverty and homelessness. Its not because they can’t, its because they won’t and we are the only ones with the power to change that!