Make Contentment Your Criterion of Prosperity
December 15, 2010
Swami Kriyananda writes in his book, Living Wisely, Living Well:
Make contentment your criterion of prosperity. Wealth is primarily the consciousness of abundance. And poverty is the consciousness of lack.
You can be rich though dressed in a loincloth and living under a tree, and poor though residing in a proud mansion, served by bustling servants, surrounded by rich furnishings, and possessing a bank account that contains many millions.
A criterion of true wealth is also indifference to the opinions of others. Only by the yardstick of inner happiness can you tell how rich you truly are. If you are burdened with an excess of luxury, and held a prisoner to the expectations of others, you will pass life in a state of true misery.
I remember when I owned a cabinet shop back in the 1970’s. Often when it came time for payroll on Fridays, I did not have enough money to pay everyone, so I did not get paid. I learned this concept deeply from my father. True service to your customers and employees means the owner comes last in many situations.
As the years went by, I became keenly aware that my employees had growing families and that if I paid them the way most cabinetmakers were paid, it was going to be tough for them to support those families.
So we created a software program — one of the first of its kind — to design kitchens and produce a parts list. Soon we were running the software and cabinet companies side by side, and when the software company took off, we sold the cabinet shop. I was able to keep my employees (my friends!) and pay them a very comfortable wage.
Some of the people who worked for me during those years thought mainly of themselves. I could never pay them enough, no bonus was ever enough, no amount I put into our profit-sharing plan was enough. Over the years, I have observed many people who have a consciousness of lack. They are never content.
In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says to Arjuna that the “doubter is the most miserable of mortals.” Someone with a consciousness of lack “doubts” that he will be taken care of. His fearful heart refuses to believe that God is there to take care of our every need. How can we get out of this consciousness? By doing the exact opposite of thinking about ourselves through the faith-affirming act of giving. When you feel eaten up with worry, find some way to give your life more fully to God in that moment.
When your worry is about money, tithe. Give even a dollar, but do it regularly. Never feel guilty if you are not giving 10 percent. In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says to Arjuna:
Whoever offers to me with devotion a leaf, flower, fruit, water, that devotion offered from a pure soul I accept. Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer, whatever you give, whatever austerity you practice, Kaunteya, do it as an offering to me.
Thus you will be released from good and evil fruits, from the bonds of action; the soul united in the yoga of renunciation, liberated, you shall come to me.
May the light of Christ’s consciousness bless you during this holy season.
“Thank You, God”