Chopping Wood and Carrying Water
Before the industrial revolution came along, humanity was involved with living. Half the world's population produced all the food that would supply the other half. Rural residents produced their own food and in doing so they maintained their connection with the earth.
When I was growing up, we always had a garden. Everyone had fruits trees of some kind growing in their yards. Listening to the radio or watching television was something you did after supper when all the chores were done-it was kind of a reward for work well done.
When we went to bed at night, we slept well. Our minds were at peace knowing when we go up everything would be as it was. People were content and happy to do a good days work. The middle class families demonstrated the good life.
The very poor and rich were struggling to maintain what they had. They were always under stress to improve their lot-always wanting more-always worrying about keeping what they had. All classes look at each other with fear and envy. The rich envied the middle class for their freedom-the middle class envied the rich for what they had. They both envied the poor for their perceived lack of responsibility and freedom. The poor wanted to be recognized and treated fairly-they wanted a part of what the other two groups had. Yet it was the middle class who separated the rich and poor. And it was the middle class who was the most prolific in symbolizing how man should live.
The rich always eager to collect more introduced a virus into society called consumerism. Consumerism was the next great plague that would kill off the middle class. As the middle class turned their heads away from what they had and focused on what they could have, they found themselves wanting more. They turned away from the simple pleasures which were expressions of their happiness and become addicted to the new wave of materialism that would consume them and destroy their way of life.
The rich introduced new products and services they said would free up middle class. All this extra time would be spent leisurely with friends and family. However there would be a hefty price for all these goods and services. This required the middle class to move from their fields and gardens to find good paying jobs in the cities to pay for the new consumerism. The quality leisure time traditionally spent with family, friends, and community was now spent working harder to pay for the goods and services. We are isolated and cocooned ourselves. We live in front of the TV because we are too tired to interact with others. The virus has a strong hold and the middle class has shrunk to almost non-existence.
The middle class was duped into believing it was not happy and happiness could be found in consumerism.
Humanity now finds itself searching for what it already had-happiness. It has tricked itself into believing things will bring it happiness. "I will be happy when I get my new car." "I will be happy when I purchase my new 72" plasma TV." "I will be happy once I move into my new home." But people are finding out happiness doesn't always come with the new product or is very short lived. We have convinced ourselves into believing only "things" bring happiness.
All of us have experienced being excited about acquiring something new, only to find it didn't live up to our expectations, was defective, or not as advertised. Were we happy?
The illusion of acquiring more happiness outside of ourselves has not worked and it is observable-something went wrong! How were we tricked?
We experienced happiness when we were not too busy looking for it. By nature, happiness is what we are naturally and what we do expresses our happiness. Happiness is a choice we make first and then we express it. In your mind you must be happy and then you seek to do things which reflect your happiness-you do happy things. We have it all backwards, and it is why we are suffering now. We are experiencing consumerism induced happiness-it is synthetic and unnatural, and it is designed to drain you and take all your energy and resources.
The new religion of consumerism has not enlightened us. In fact it has taken us away from enlightenment. It has taken us down a path of searching for what we already are by nature, and it is the reason we cannot find it. You cannot find what you already are. To experience happiness you must be happy first and then express it physically in what you do.
Enlightenment does not bring you happiness. Searching will not bring you there.
There is a Buddhist expression; "Before enlightenment comes chopping wood and carrying water, after enlightenment comes chopping wood and carrying water." It is all there is, and somewhere in between you experience happiness. Happiness will always lead to the simpler life. It does not mean we have to give up the things we desire. It simply means we should not take on more than what we are able to manage while maintaining our ability to experience happiness.
Related Tags: awareness, enlightenment, buddhism, happiness, chopping wood, carrying water, purpose of life, rich, poor, middle class
Roy E. Klienwachter is a resident of British Columbia, Canada. A published author, a student of NLP, ordained minister, New Age Light Worker, Teacher and Phenomenologist. Roy's books and articles are thought provoking, and designed to empower your imagination, and take you to places you would never have thought about.
Claim your copy of Roy's new book at: http://www.klienwachter.com/BookInfo/Struggle/Salespage.htm
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