A recent trip made me reflect on the life we live and what we are searching for or trying to achieve with our lives.
As a person, I see my life as a journey of change and constant learning. I see the term rich quite equivalent to being able to choose, having freedom and be happy. As a westerner, choice and freedom often come connected with a financial situation that actually admits being able to pay for those choices. In the best of worlds, we work with things we love that makes your world and others a little bit better whilst also giving you the financial opportunity to pay for the choices you make. Yes, pay for, since most of the choices we make in the free and democratic world come connected with a cost.
But what happens if you do not have freedom, not the opportunity to choose or the financial situation to do whatever you want, are you less happy then!
If you read the picture I paint of what I consider ‘a rich life’ I would consider a life without the ability to chose or the financial situation to make changes a not so very rich life. Naturally, this is if you read what I write as the devil reads the bible, but in essence, it is actually correct.
So, after spending time in a village where they have freedom, but not the fortune to chose and not the fortune to be able to pay for their extravaganza (as if that was a goal), what happens?
I remember reading Dalai Lamas book “Happiness” and in the foreword, the author wrote that there is no connection between money and happiness, just an initial joyful feeling when you realize you can do all the things you previously dreamed of, after that the happiness clings off.
With that in mind, it is not hard to realize that my friends are far happier than most of us reading this post. Why? What I realized with the way they lived was that they are happy “in the now”. They are happy for what they have. Most of them live with their entire family, grandmothers, grandchildren and most of the time a few aunts and cousins as well. They all help each other and always without any claim for something in exchange, they work their asses off, but they do it with a smile.
They live in simple houses, their kitchens and toilets are all outside, they sleep on the floor and the food is all grown nearby as is the chickens and the fish eaten. The mother of our friend only eats things from her own farm, this to save all the money earned from the rice fields to buy more land to grow more rice.
Did I miss something whilst there……naturally I did, I missed a comfortable bed, I missed some food etc. Did I miss something really substantial? Honestly not a thing. My family was there with me and how they lived their lives made me so relaxed and comfortable that I enjoyed every single second there, we already want to go back and spend more time with these wonderful friends of ours and be more enlightened by their way of life, learn, learn and live in the now. Happiness comes from actions nothing else. Actions can be many things, but actions that enlighten us and actions that bring happiness will never be a bad thing, purely a good thing, then how we actually put these actions into the world we currently live in is entirely up to each and every one of us. Our friends sincerely made me realize that my actions are too small and too materialistic driven, they need to be driven by the right triggers in life.
This is probably the most fluffy post I have ever written and I can imagine that many of you who read this, just shake your heads and wondering what I am babbling about. Not to worry, I am still the same guy, just that I see life in a bit different and happier way and that I am very certain that the last couple of days have changed how I look at all the actions made in the world, nothing that probably will be feasible in my daily activities, but in my heart and brain it will always be present.
I am forever grateful to our friends that invited us and showed us such hospitality and also enlightened us about some really important things in life.