Verse 3 "Contentment"
Over praising the extremely gifted leads to discontentment
Over valuing material things invites stealing and lies.
When you crave, you want what you don't have, and contentment is lost.
The Teacher will desire without wanting and acts without excess.
By not doing, all will be done.
If we look around at others and others’ situations and lifestyles, we see that some are better off, and others not so. When we look at the world this way, we see a divided world of the haves and have-nots. Once again, an example of duality as discussed in verse two. Because of filters imposed upon us during our growing years, it’s easy to see others having more, as being above us, with more intelligence, talent, or control over their lives. Others with less are seen as being below, with less in the areas of intelligence, talent, and control. Not all may think this way I know, but it can be seen through the interaction of people in the corporate world, workplaces and especially in the music or entertainment world. (Also in families, interactions between friends, and religious organisations)
Now here is where we can fall into the trap of duality – of ‘less and more’. We look up to some individuals like celebrities, musicians, leaders of society, and even religious leaders, with a level of respect and praise for their position, putting them above others. Some try, and want, to be like these people to experience the world in which they live. Some even aspiring to imitate, please, or to follow them. There's no problem following someone of a moral standing (eg: Jesus or Mohammad), but when we start following others that have more than ourselves and aspire to be like them and have what they have, this is where it can get dangerous.
I’ve been in a few of the network marketing business systems, where we were taught to ‘dream-build’ and look up to those with more – to discover and hopefully achieve the same status and material wealth. We were taught to crave and desire what others had that we did not. We were then set on a path of business building to pursue these goals and dreams. Some succeed at this while many don’t. The problem here I believe is the focus. If we are totally focused on the craving and wanting, then our contentment and peace is lost, and it shows, especially when encouraging others to join our business. I believe this verse is asking us to desire but not crave – The Teacher will desire without wanting – allowing our life to unfold in a natural and contented way.
This once again is a tall ask in a Yan world of speed, achievement, and advancement. We are continuously pushed through advertising images and needs imposed upon us. To always be looking towards a life of gaining and improvement. How often do we peruse luxury items in magazines and junk mail, wanting and craving more than we already have? This doesn't mean that everyone should live in a cave and use stone tools to work and toil… not in the slightest, but we need to monitor our thoughts, actions, and reactions towards possessions and people. If we want and crave, we are living in a state of ‘less’, and if we think we are less, does this help us to be happy and live contentedly? I think not. In fact, it’s very much the opposite, however most of us are doing this every day.
With the continual exposure to advertisements and social media, it’s impossible to escape from this never-ending stream of cravings and 'have-to-have items' and lifestyle, as well as all the social media posts from well-meaning people about how wonderful everything is going in their lives. Awesome photos and dialog about where they are and what they are doing. As the old saying goes, ‘Don't judge a book by it cover’. One more thing for us to crave and wish for in our own life. Once again, I'm not saying to shut down Facebook and Instagram, but we need to be aware of the effects, and how this feeds into the filters that have been programmed into our thinking from a young age. We need to remove and detach from these and see things as they truly are.
The main message in this verse is not to crave. Certainly, set goals and move forward to attain the life you want to live. We must be careful however, not to cross the line from desiring to craving a possession or life choice, or worse still, crossing a moral line from right to wrong.
Our goal here is to reach a point of happiness and contentment. If we want and crave, happiness is lost. When we aspire towards our goals with an approach of caring non-attachment, we will move forward in harmony and contentment. Once we can move forward in this way, we are letting go of EGO centered thinking and allowing life to create itself, rather than forcing, pushing, and shoving our way towards a certain outcome. It’s the old 'Let go and Let God' principle.
There needs to be an inner guidance towards what we allow into our life. Too often we see something that looks ‘Wow!’ and wonderful, and makes us go, 'I want That!' But watch the language you use in your thinking. 'I want that!' can lead to craving, while 'I like that' admiring and aspiring, can create an attitude of allowance and creation.
The last line of this verse can be confusing. It’s not telling you to do absolutely nothing, sit on the couch, drink beers and watch Netflix and everything you want will magically appear. Let me reword it for you: By not Craving, all will be Allowed as it should be!
Happiness in this verse directs us to a quiet inner place where we take a deep breath and just sit and be. Listening to our inner voice of what is needed in our life. Really listen to that inner calling to our next step as we journey from day to day. Be careful not to be drawn into cravings and desires that are imposed on us through our world of '10,000 things', as Lao Tzu puts it. We live in an amazing world … look around and really appreciate all that we have here. It is truly astonishing.
Thank You for Verse 3.
1: Thank You for a world of amazing beauty.
2: Thank You for the endless creation that nature provides for us.
3: Thank you for allowing into our lives what we need to move forward and grow.
(C) Copyright 2022 Written by Mark Wattis. All Rights Reserved. No duplication without permission.