“Contentment Is A Natural Wealth, Luxury Is An Artificial Poverty”
And then he burst into tears, took some tissues out his pack and wiped his face off. We were sitting alone in the desolate Bahawalpur bus terminal at 2:00 am in the morning. I am no saint or therapist but he was pouring his heart out and for all I know because he was exhausted. He carried on and said, “I am only son of my parents and I achieved everything in life. There were no pressures, no extraordinary expectations yet I strived to excel in my academic and professional life….. I even married early because I didn’t want to waste my time in chasing girls or something……. Now I have everything in the world but the habit of acquiring the luxuries of life is kicking over my traces.” He paused for some time and resumed his talk meanwhile the bus he was waiting for was announced (I think he was there to receive someone). Before going he said, “I want to go back to my father’s agriculture lands and live a peaceful life but there’s a war happening between my mind and heart….. What I have gained my whole life except unrest and worries….. After doing so much I still think I haven’t done anything….. Everything I have is of no use if it can’t make me happy…. And I have concluded that nothing can make me happy”, and went away.
While I am writing this I am able to remember the whole night and depression as if it happened yesterday. The question, here, is simple; what do we run after our whole life?
As a kid is pleased by fancy colored toys and juvenile sounds of cartoons we spend all of our lives chasing such pleasures. Irony of the matter is that we aren’t exactly sure if some sports car or a studio apartment is going to get us the pleasure. Yes, surely there is a tingling of pride and sense of accomplishment but a sports car itself is a toy anyway. A trail of never decaying thoughts keeps running in background of lives; “I should have a luxury car”, “My house is not big enough”, “I want higher status and more respect in life, more than my friends anyway”, “People should fear me and be intimidated of my wealth and power” and that’s how a never ending ghost-chasing continues. A petty thinking pattern starts making mirage of fear from future and state of unhappiness on what you already have. In my view every instant of our lives is encapsulated in tragedy of future. Time is running by and we all are in pursuit of happiness but forget a simple truth; things cannot make us happy. It is contentment and positive attitude towards life that can bless us with happiness. Happiness is state of mind that can’t be mannered or achieved by buying things or merely boasting on them rather it erupts from the core of heart. Try to be happy, for once, in your life on what you already have and others don’t and you surly will smell the scent of happiness and joy.
Let’s conclude the subject with something I read recently; an excerpt from Khalid Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner”.
“…..That same night, I wrote my first short story. It took me thirty minutes. It was a dark little tale about a man who found a magic cup and learned that if he wept into the cup, his tears turned into pearls. But even though he had always been poor, he was a happy man and rarely shed a tear. So he found ways to make himself sad so that his tears could make him rich. As the pearls piled up, so did his greed grew. The story ended with the man sitting on a mountain of pearls, knife in hand, weeping helplessly into the cup with his beloved wife’s slain body in his arms.”