Money, beauty, fame – is this enough?
Why do we need a Creator? We have our lives, wealth, health and happiness. In fact, we can’t even see the Creator – He is not visible to us the way our parents, teachers or managers are. So what do we need to turn to the Creator for?
Let’s pause for a moment. Where are we in life? Do we think that we are self sustaining? Do we think we are eternal? Do we think that we can remain the way we are, immune to disease, ageing and change?
Right now, we may be young and good looking. Right now, we may be strong and healthy. Maybe our studies or jobs are going well. We are in happy relationships, whether with family, friends and loved ones. Right now everything is going well in our lives, and we feel top of the world.
But if we think that this is a permanent condition, then it is time for a reality check!
How many rich people have lost their lifetime savings overnight? How many stock markets have crashed, currencies have deteriorated, successful companies, and even countries have failed? How many of the rich and famous, billionaires and even royalty, despite their fame, success, bloodline and intelligence, succumb to terminal, painful and incurable diseases?
We think happiness in life comes with the combination of money, fame and beauty.
If richness buys security and happiness, how come so many rich people are disillusioned, miserable and depressed? How many rich people need counseling and medication for stress and anger, and cannot even enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep? How many successful businessmen can enjoy even ten minutes of peace a day without having to worry about a missed phone call or email which will potentially cost them millions?
How many people need drugs just to calm down and think straight in order to cope with their everyday environment? How many rich people and even people in rich nations have unhappy marriages, lead troubled lives, suffer depression and die humiliating deaths? What is the use of all the money when it does not lead to a peaceful state of mind?
Evaluate how celebrities and other famous and beautiful people can lose their beauty. Child actors are no longer cute when they grow up, adults are no longer beautiful once they grow old. A beautiful person will be in the limelight, but just for a while, before age takes over or a more beautiful person comes along and the attention shifts to the new person. Being beautiful and famous does not guarantee a happy life or a lasting marriage. How many beautiful people lead unhappy lives, suffer from failed relationships and turn towards substance abuse for gratification? How many of their lives, in spite of their fame, money, beauty and stardom, feel such despair that they end it all with suicide?
How many beautiful people still feel lonely, unloved and empty, no matter how stunning their physical features? How many good looking people still have partners who cheat on them?
The appeal of beauty is short lived, and after a short while, people lose interest. If beauty is the key to happiness, why are celebrity magazines brimming with reports of failed relationships, drug abuse, infidelity, and even suicide, amongst the most beautiful people on earth?
Like beauty, fame is temporary. It is wonderful to be in the spotlight for your academic qualifications or successful job achievements, but how does this fame help you cope with the demands of your daily life, and your daily needs for happiness? If fame is the key to happiness, why have famous athletes, businessmen, socialites and even popular people within your community committed suicide?
It means that their fame was not enough to remedy the misery that their souls were bearing. And even so, you can be famous today, and tomorrow, you are yesterday’s news. People may congratulate your achievements today, and six months from now, they won’t even remember your name. Once the applause has died, so do their interests. Look at the ex prime ministers and presidents in the world, the leaders, the achievers, the inventors – how many of them were surrounded by love, dignity and filled with contentment to the end of their lives?
Nothing lasts forever
The nature of reality of the law of the Almighty One, the One nobody can escape, is that whether you like it or not, everything changes and nothing is constant.
The ownership of anything is just for a brief period of time. Everything in life is a moment, or a succession of moments. The existence our families, husbands and wives, children, wealth, success, beauty, fame, and even happiness and unhappiness: are all temporary and will come to an end. We do not even know how long this period will last.
When things are going well, we assume that it will last forever. But if we are alert to reality, we will realize the number of sudden deaths, road accidents and diseases around us. Do we have friends or friends of friends whose lives suddenly fell apart because of a cancer diagnosis or a stroke? How many people we know have been made redundant, or their thriving businesses failed without warning? How many people have lost the people they love – through a change of heart, divorce, death and even unexpected disputes, fights and betrayals? How many of these events are within our control?
We think we possess everything but in reality we own nothing. Not even our own lives.
At some point in time, we will wake up and realize when we lose one of the above or even all of the above, in reality, they never gave us the happiness that we were looking for in the first place. They were just substitutes or buffers for true internal happiness.
All material joy is very limited. We savour a delicious meal, but after a couple of mouthfuls, we will get full and cannot continue eating. All the things that give us pleasure in life have to come to an end – travelling, sleeping, a social gathering, a fit of laughter, or even intercourse, lead us to pleasure but only for a limited duration.
Wake up to the reality. Ownership of anything in the material sense is temporary and only gives us a hollow kind of happiness. The things we aspire for, which we think will lead us to happiness: better grades, better jobs, richer spouses, higher social statuses, are all empty and short lived benchmarks and will not lead us to happiness, tranquility, security and peace.
We do not own the future. We do not even own the knowledge of the future.
So let’s get real, stop going through life like a dreamer.
There is no permanence in anything. Do you know if you’ll be still alive tomorrow, or even tonight? You find out everyday people die, young and old, healthy and ill. Whether through prolonged illness or sudden death. Whether they are rich or poor. Once it is your time to go, there is nothing you can do to delay it, no amount of money, friends, doctors or medical equipment.
Life is unpredictable. You don’t know what will happen to you on your journey home today. You don’t know what will happen when you leave your home tomorrow. You don’t know what will happen to you the next time you cross the road, or fall asleep, or even what news you are going to receive the next time your phone rings – small everyday events which can change your life forever.