By Ali Hassan, a.k.a Waterloo Warrior
The world as we see today is a very sad place indeed: the Middle East burns with the blood of a few misguided fundamentalists who consume up lives of innocent people as they envisage performing a noble deed ordered by a divine power; Japan is struck by a series of jolts that leave the whole country on a verge of economic collapse…
Europe itself engulfed in chaos as heavy snowstorms make it impossible for any air travel to take place; Civilians take up arms to break free from Gadhafi’s regime in Libya; poverty and famine leaves hundreds dead in the deserts of Africa and further still, an economic crisis prevails in North America that leaves thousands of people unemployed without any source of incomes.
But none of it is our concern, for we sit in the luxury of our homes where we keep turning the thermostat up of the air conditioner so that we can chat comfortably in this forty degrees Celsius weather. A delicious meal awaits us at lunch hour and we satisfy our hunger without having to go out of the cool air conditioned room, except that a power cut leaves us cursing as the cool atmosphere diminishes slowly, leaving us sweating. We still have a roof on top of our head; food in the larder; clean water in our taps; clothes in our wardrobes and yet our tongues vehemently abuse the government for taking away from us the elixir of life. Granted, electricity is a basic need and its shortfall will always be a huge issue, the point on which to focus is that man has been born to be ungrateful. We shall always complain about what is missing in our lives, what more we want out of life and what more we can gain in life. No one considers the amenities that have been provided to them, they are taken for granted as man naturally screams for what eludes him.
Money is said to be the root of all evil but what derives the need for money? It is the dissatisfaction with what a person currently has. There always is a struggle to achieve something. People move rapidly as if in a hurry to get somewhere and when they do finally get to their destination, their destination changes to keep them going once more. There is always a pursuit of happiness that deprives man of bliss itself. The urge to achieve something must not be suppressed indeed, yet one should never forget what he already has achieved, what he has gained in life and that he has something that he treasures in all conditions. If man gets content with what he has, he will find happiness in all conditions. Even in the worst of situations, a person who sees a glimpse of hope can find something to be cheery about.
Socrates said “He is rich who is content with the least; for contentment is the wealth of nature”, an example that contentment does indeed lead to happiness. One who is content with whatever he has will lead a happier life than many people who fall victim to the vices of greed and envy. Gandhi simplifies how contentment leads to happiness in a simple phrase, “Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.”
Human desires are endless and so are human troubles. But if we choose to be content with what we have regardless of how little, we can find happiness in every state. A person who is jobless in North America can still be content that he has at a source of shelter and food as considered to the wandering famine struck people of Africa who strive everyday looking for a source of clean water. If man pauses to consider, he can find so many examples of people who are in far worse circumstances however we choose to look at people who have far more things than us and are never content with what we have, rejecting God’s every boon to us. Happiness is what life is all about, what drives us in doing everything that we do and it is not so difficult to attain it if we try to be content with what we have for contentment does indeed lead to happiness.