Living the Good Life
Those who define the "good life" by materialistic standards emphasize HAVING. Those who define it by spiritual standards emphasize BEING. In other words, materialism says that the more one has the happier one is, while the spiritual side says that the more one is the more happier and fulfilled one becomes.
Each person has the desire to verify his or her own reality. How do people prove to themselves that they exist? The "good life" is a goal, a proof of existence, and a proof of worth as an individual. "Personal worth" usually represents some permanent individual quality with which a person identifies. Some people prove to themselves that they are of value, that their life is good, if they receive much. Other people prove that their life is good if they give much.
Using the materialistic standard of the good life, many people feel they are worth the value of their possessions. Their self-esteem and reality consist of the value of their car, their house, their properties, their bank account and other symbols of wealth. Many even consider their relationships as material assets. They identify themselves as equal to their possessions and their life style. For most of those who seek this type of "good life," their life is a continuous process of trying to satisfy their desires. Such a life, however, is never satisfied and results in frustration, dissatisfaction, debt, and fear.
The standard of the spirtual "good life" is to give. One can only give what one has. What one has, however, is more than just their possessions. People can give through their talents, skills and desire to serve. Their love, compassion, leadership, encouragement, ideas, and energy become their gifts to society and their wealth.
In the process of giving and serving others, one touches the permanent core values of his or her being and discovers the wealth of the spirit. This wealth obeys the spiritual laws of economy and increases through giving. Spiritual success and fulfillment is a result of making a difference in the lives of others. Self worth ultimately comes down to the personal knowledge that one has expressed who he or she truely is through the activities of one's life. Since people are not simply matter but also mind, emotions and spirit, the "good life" can be reached through the balanced pursuit and expression of all those qualities which make humans unique.
"good life" as defined by spiritual principles is a life which
leads to progressive discovery and development of oneself and others.
This fulfillment comes within the context and the challenges of living
a life with a meaningful purpose. In so doing, one is not always experiencing
a life of ease and pleasure but is learning about his or her inner strength
and inner wealth even from the trials of life. One thus learns how to
wisely use material wealth while not becoming its slave, and to be a
free and fulfilled person who knows oneself and his or her purpose in
2003 Richard Sidy