When trying to interpret these quotes/lessons, I try to remember that the ideals behind them are ancient when compared to our modern times, and therefore, the interpretation may be slightly different now than it was 2,500, or even 1,000 years ago, just as one must give wide berth to interpretation of the Bible to each who is reading and applying it to their lives.
I try to see each quote for what it may have meant to the Buddha and learn to incorporate it into my life for what it could mean for me today.
Most people believe that to live joyfully, one must accumulate what their heart desires: more money, a bigger house, a more luxurious car, a perfect California closet, beautifully organized and packed with the latest trends in clothing, shoes and bags...the man or woman of your dreams, the perfect body, etc.
It's somewhat unbelievable to most of us that we could ever live joyfully without the major comforts, or at least a few of our desires. What I feel the Buddha is saying here is, that to live joyfully, you must live without desire. Not necessarily without, just without the egotistical need to fulfill yourself with 'stuff'.
Believe me, I definitely understand the need for security and financial freedom, and the desire for the feeling of calm that it gives. I would be lying if I said I didn't believe that this was important. It's very difficult to concentrate on being happy if you constantly worry about how to pay the bills, and I think we all know the relief that can come from having 'enough' money to take care of everything we need to take care of and live comfortably without worrying how our next bill will be paid.
However, when we switch our minds from always being afraid or always being in a position of 'need', to trying to have the mindset that, no matter what, we are ok and will have enough, because there is enough out there for everyone, you can watch as the 'enough' starts to fill your life.
So, how do we start to accomplish this, a lifestyle of living without the desire for more or the constant feeling of need because we feel we don't have 'enough'?
For starters, having too high of expectations or always desiring more and more, when it may never happen, does not bring joy. Find joy in what you already have. Sounds real hard, but, trust me, it can be done. You have to at least accept what you have and your life for what it is, right now. If you find you are not satisfied, only you can change it. You have to decide which sacrifices you must make in order to feel at peace with your situation and live with joy.
Next, make sure if you do decide to attain more for your life (this can mean anything from money and posessions to titles and relationships), attain without ego or attachment. Ego in the way that we allow these attainments to define us causing us to have a false sense of self such as superiority over others or pride in ourselves and attatchment in the way we allow our self-worth or identity to be defined by our accomplishments causing us to be crushed under the weight of our losses.
The best way to avoid it, though, is to just not muddle your mind with constant desire. Live in the 'Now'. Live with joy in the everyday and good things will find their way to you. Like attracts like. If you live feeling the constant need for more or the fear of 'not enough', your life will most likely never have enough. But if you live from a place of confidence in the fact that there is plenty for everyone, plenty you shall have.
Have a great week, and thanks for stopping by!