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Abundance Without Attachment : Arthur C. Brooks

14 Dec

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/opinion/sunday/arthur-c-brooks-abundance-without-attachment.html?smid=li-share&_r=1

I read this wonderful The New York Times opinion piece “Abundance Without Attachment ” by Arthur C. Brooks. I realised regardless of whether we are good or nice people, we need to experiment with some ideas to enrich our lives. I always try to experiment with learnings and ideas. To prusue  abundance without attachment is a great idea. I have been  studying ” The Gita “. And it says ” He whose self is not attached to the external  objects. He obtains the happiness that is within his own self.”

Arthur C. Brooks writes “On one hand, we naturally seek and rejoice in prosperity. On the other hand, success in this endeavor is often marred by a materialism we find repellent and alienating.

On a recent trip to India, I found an opportunity to help sort out this contradiction. I sought guidance from a penniless Hindu swami named Gnanmunidas at the Swaminarayan Akshardham Hindu temple in New Delhi. We had never met before, but he came highly recommended by friends. If Yelp reviewed monks, he would have had five stars.

To my astonishment, Gnanmunidas greeted me with an avuncular, “How ya doin’?” He referred to me as “dude.” And what was that accent — Texas? Sure enough, he had grown up in Houston, the son of Indian petroleum engineers, and had graduated from the University of Texas. Later, he got an M.B.A., and quickly made a lot of money.

But then Gnanmunidas had his awakening. At 26, he asked himself, “Is this all there is?” His grappling with that question led him to India, where he renounced everything and entered a Hindu seminary. Six years later, he emerged a monk. From that moment on, the sum total of his worldly possessions has been two robes, prayer beads and a wooden bowl. He is prohibited from even touching money — a discipline that would obviously be impossible for those of us enmeshed in ordinary economic life.

As an economist, I was more than a little afraid to hear what this capitalist-turned-renunciant had to teach me. But I posed a query nonetheless: “Swami, is economic prosperity a good or bad thing?” I held my breath and waited for his answer.

“It’s good,” he replied. “It has saved millions of people in my country from starvation.”

This was not what I expected. “But you own almost nothing,” I pressed. “I was sure you’d say that money is corrupting.” He laughed at my naïveté. “There is nothing wrong with money, dude. The problem in life is attachment to money.” The formula for a good life, he explained, is simple: abundance without attachment. “

I concur. The writer gives a three fold path to pursue material prosperity and well being without tentacles of attachment:

  • collect experiences, not things
  • steer clear of excessive usefulness
  • get to the center of the wheel

I believe these are nice pointers. Travel, workshops, college courses,nature trips, second honey moon are so much better and also sometimes life changing. The writer argues for not getting bogged down by an extremely practical and utilitarian approach. He says ” Excessive focus on your finances obscures what you are supposed to enjoy with them.” This is true. Love, shared experiences, fresh air, nature are all non material. And finally the writer says ” Fixed at the center was the focal point of faith, the lodestar for transcending health, wealth, power, pleasure and fame — for moving beyond mortal abundance. The least practical thing in life was thus the most important and enduring.” To centre oneself in faith and energy.

Please do follow the link and read this compelling piece and may be you will find an idea worth experimenting. Good night my friends!

Hope you have a lovely day!  ” Attach, you struggle. Detach, you gain.” Thank you!

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