a life well-lived

Our culture has made acquisition and consumption the new black. Every where you look, advertising tells us a new car, the upgraded iPhone, a vacation house, and more more more money will certainly bring us happiness. And yet, it’s never enough. Once we have the latest iPhone, a new handheld device comes along that has us thinking, ‘if only I had that one, with more bells and whistles, surely life would be better.’

While we strive with insatiable appetites to acquire more more more, the fact that we are stressed, depressed, anxious, have digestive issues, back pain, can’t sleep well, and little time to do what we love – well … suck it up! We’re human. We’re aging. That’s life so get over it.

With our incessant desire for more stuff, we conversely allow ourselves to accept such mediocrity when it comes to our own heart’s genuine desires.

Many of the meditative traditions teach the exact opposite of our modern culture. Have enough ‘stuff’ to be adequate – and then, with insatiable desire, create inner happiness and peacefulness. Working towards one’s own inner happiness is not to be confused with self-centeredness. It actually creates an environment and culture which desires to elevate others. But first we must begin with ourselves, for how can we lift and celebrate others’ joys without understanding the value of it in our own hearts?

It is essential to our own well-being, and those around us, to attend to our heart’s desires regularly. Please consider these questions.

What would bring you a true sense of happiness?

What would you love to receive from the world around you to realize this well-being?

In order to have such happiness, what personal characteristics would you like to release? Which qualities would aid your pursuit of happiness? How would you love to grow?

To view your life with the greatest sense of satisfaction, what would you love to offer to the world in such a way that when you come to the end of your life and look back you do so with contentment knowing this life was well-lived, and you’re bringing it to a happy close?

(excerpted from Dr. Alan Wallace’s loving kindness meditation)

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