Sunday, 28 January 2007

Being content with what you’ve got is key to happiness

BY THAJ ALUVA
28 January 2007
PROPHET Muhammad, peace be upon him, once said: "Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods, but from a content mind." On another occasion, he said: "Look to those inferior to yourselves, so that you may not hold God’s benefits in contempt."
An ordinary man is always of the nature that he cannot be satisfied with what is available to him at the moment. He always craves for more and more. The Prophet describes this state of mind of the common man thus: "If the son of Adam has a valley full of gold, he will crave for a second one. If he has two, he will crave for a third one. Nothing will satisfy him, except the earth."
One of the main sources of displeasure and absence of peace of mind in our times is our insatiable desire for more and more worldly resources. Each one of us goes through such a phase in one way or the other as we struggle to attain a state of total mental satisfaction by accumulating everything valuable in life.
The life, it is commonly believed, is a race for this mental state and a major share of our time and efforts is being spent in the pursuit of worldly pleasures. Even this state varies from person to person as many believe being rich is everything, while some others are under the impression that being famous will make them happy. There is yet another group of people who consider being in a powerful position will win them a totally satisfied mind.
However, is being rich and famous means everything in life? Does power and money win mental satisfaction? When we ponder over these issues deeply, and analyse real-life examples from our day-to-day life, it will become clear to us that happiness and peace of mind are something any of these cannot buy. So, what is that some thing, which if we practise every day, or rather every moment, that leads our hearts and minds to a state of total satisfaction?
The Prophet’s invaluable advice is thus for every one. Be happy with what you have at the moment. Learn to cherish what you enjoy at the moment rather than running after things which you do not have and cannot have in the nearest future, even if you try your best. Does this mean that you stop trying to improve your present state of affairs? No. The first step to attain complete mental pleasure is to learn to enjoy what is with you at the moment.
For instance, if we are in good health, we should look at the people around us who may be immensely rich, but are suffering from grave and life-threatening diseases and thank God. If we have a small house, let’s look at the people who do not have a place of their own to rest after a hard day’s work. We have a nice, loving family. But there are hundreds of people around us who crave for love and care from someone. We are employed. There are millions of unemployed people around the world. Thus, if we start looking at ourselves first and God’s blessings to us, soon we will appreciate each and every little thing that is given to us. That’s what Allah says in Holy Quran:
"If you would count up the favours of Allah, never would you be able to number them... (Chapter 16, Verse 18)"
So, if we learn to cherish what we have at the moment, we will obviously learn to thank God for whatever He has given to us in life. This will make us eligible for more benevolence from His side. Allah says in the Holy Quran:
"If ye are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you" (Chapter 14, Verse 7)
This is the best way to make ourselves and those around us happy and satisfied.