I remember reading a newspaper article about a person who lost all he had and for the first time in his life became really happy and free. At that time I thought this could not be true because I wrongly assumed that material things bring happiness. I now know that material things do not influence how much happiness you feel, no matter how many nice things you have.
In the past I used to go shopping all the time. I used to spend more than I earned but no matter how much new stuff I bought, after a short-lived happiness, I felt as miserable as always, or even more miserable. I couldn’t understand why I felt this way. After all, I had all this new and exciting stuff. Material things are supposed to make people happy, right?
Not quite so. The habit of buying material possessions to lift your mood is just an addiction, and as any other addiction, it has a negative impact on you.
You can easily tell at which level of awareness the person is by asking him/her what brings them happiness. Or better still, simply ask which one they value more: things or experiences. People who are on a low awareness level will undoubtedly choose material possessions because they still think that things make them feel happy.
Most people search for happiness all their lives without finding any, because all their effort is directed to the outside of themselves, to the world of illusions. If you look inside for the answers instead, you will understand that happiness can be found not in things, but in experiences.
When you think about something positive in the past, your thoughts will undoubtedly be about pleasant experiences instead of material possessions. People love to remember the moments they spent with loved ones, the travels abroad, warm friendships and exciting events. Rarely do you find a person reminiscing their fashionable clothes or a flat screen TV.
Every experience changes us in some ways, makes us refine our likes and dislikes, urges us to grow. When you experience something, it stays with you forever, no matter how long ago it happened. Only experiences make people unique and interesting.
It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking that buying new stuff all the time is natural. You see 99% of people doing that, how harmful can it be? Unfortunately it’s very harmful because it causes us to be miserable. Yes, things, if bought without the real need for them, cause more misery than happiness. It’s an unnatural way to produce happiness which backfires making us feel exactly the opposite to what we hoped.
People who spend money to travel are on a higher awareness level than those who spend all their salary on furniture, clothes and newest gadgets. People who create small passive income sources over the time whilst avoiding unnecessary purchases are happier than those who slave all their lives in jobs they hate in order to afford a house that pleases their ego.
All the depressions, nervous breakdowns and other emotional dysfunctions are caused by this very misunderstanding of what brings us happiness. People who search for happiness in things will always be greatly disappointed because it’s impossible to find happiness in anything physical. Happiness can only be found by getting in touch with your true essence and within your experiences.
Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not against material possessions. They are great if they are used for their purpose. For example, chocolate is there to end your hunger and not to make you forget your failures. New clothes are for your body and not for your ego. Every single thing has it’s purpose, but that purpose is never about changing your mood in some way.
Things are not meant to be clung to either. If you get attached to anything physical in this universe, you are in trouble. You will be miserable as long as you cling to anything outside of yourself.
If you suffer from misery caused by material things, it’s time to make some adjustments in your life. Go on a material possessions “fast” by avoiding shopping for 30 days or so, except for food, of course. If you live with someone, ask them to buy food for you – that would be ideal. Also, get rid of stuff you don’t use and try to find peace and happiness within yourself by going into silence or meditating.
After a month of such change you will be a different person – guaranteed. You will become more emotionally stable, small incidents will no longer upset you and you will radiate happiness independently of what happens to you. So go ahead, try it – you will like the taste of a simplified life. Remember, the more detached from material things you are, the happier you become.