My earlier ambitions of wanting to become a vice president with Bell Canada and becoming a millionaire by the time I turned thirty melted away in the three year backpacking life of freedom and few possessions I describe in my book, In Search of Simplicity.
A man’s wealth is determined not by what he possesses, but by what does not possess him. Another way of putting it is, ‘A person’s true wealth is determined not by what she has, but by what she can happily live without.’
I’d like to share with you an affirmation I made for myself a few years ago. It was inspired by Peace Pilgrim, who was a penniless wanderer for 28 years and who walked across America six times. She said, ‘I refuse to live with more than enough when there are others in this world with less than enough.’ Remember what the Buddha said? ‘The root of all suffering is desire.’ Or the words that deeply influenced me in Chapter 34 of my book, ‘All desire comes from a sense of lack.’
Here is the affirmation:
I release the need for greed when there are others in this world who don’t have enough. I know when to stop eating, I know when to stop buying. I know when to stop wanting. I know when to stop.
Repeat that every morning, preferably while looking in the mirror. I guarantee it will change you and your actions.
Amira (our eldest) leaves the house next week. Asha will follow her in a few years. Lucia’s and my ambition is to have a little house and a little garden. If we have more than enough, it’s more that we have to look after. Peace Pilgrim told a story of the lady on her own who was working so hard to support her bigger-than-necessary apartment. When Peace Pilgrim suggested she could do with less she said something like, “But you see, I couldn’t do that. I have furniture for a three bedroom house.” She was overworking to support her furniture!
In a world where a few privileged individuals are prepared to pay up to $80 for a bottle of water and others don’t have enough to drink, we need to dramatically alter the balance of wealth. I heard in an interview recently that a consortium, including a well known movie star, was buying up underground water rights around the world. Will the starving underclass in the Third World now turn into the thirsting underclass, so a few rich people can get richer?
I have less ‘stuff’ than I once had; but my smile gets bigger every day.
You never know the value of water until the well is dry.
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I just found out about this film: “Flow: For Love of Water”. http://www.flowthefilm.com/ It details the world water supply and what is happening to it. All this while GE is quietly buying up water rights all over the world.