PARAMAHAMSA SRI NITHYANANDA on Possess nothing, enjoy everything DO YOU respect a beggar? Do you disrespect a rich man? In today’s world, people are evaluated only on the basis of their possessions and status. A person’s worth in society is decided on the basis of how much he or she owns. Apart from his physical wealth, his power and influence become important. Success in life is related to ownership of assets and the extent of influence. In reality, nothing can be more damaging to a person’s real success in the world than possessions and status. The desire to possess rises from comparison and jealousy. If your neighbour buys a new refrigerator your house gets warmer. From early childhood we are conditioned to desire what others have. When we are not able to possess something, we are unhappy and consider it a failure. We become happy when we do acquire what we want. This happiness, however, lasts for a brief period. It lasts till we find one more thing to covet. Happiness seems to be in the acquisition, in the chase rather than through enjoyment of what we have. Ramana Maharishi says: Till you get something you want, it looks as big as a mountain. Once you get it, the same thing becomes the size of a mustard seed! Greed drives us. Greed and envy are the root cause of all our sorrow. Gautama Buddha said that all suffering is caused by human desire. But Buddha was not referring to genuine need-based desires when he said this; he was referring to the unending stream of wants that we develop based on comparison. Joy is the natural state of a human being. Joy happens when there is no comparison. Joy happens when there is no attachment to an acquisition. It gives rise to sorrow when the desire for possessions imprisons us within the boundaries of time and space. When we recall a happy time, we keep trying to possess that time again. A desire rooted in the past becomes the driver of our present state of mind. Stop wanting to acquire more and more. Enjoy what you have. I keep saying this: enjoy what you have; there is no need to renounce what you already possess. Renounce only what you do not have. You do not have to move into a forest as a monk or sanyasi to find happiness. You can find it in the middle of your worldly comforts. All you have to do is to renounce your fantasies. That is the gateway to Bliss!