One’s own experience is, of course, the most dependable of experiences. It will generate cautiousness, fortify faith, stimulate spiritual effort, and bring God nearer. The saints have advised us time and again, but do we feel the same pressing need for God which they felt? As we go about our daily business of life, do we think of God as an essential requirement? If we reflect on our own life, we find that we have grown to the present age, have had education, obtained employment or set up business, married and got children, acquired a house, property, furniture, and other amenities of pleasure and recreation, and so on; and yet there is something that we think we lack, something that we desire. Is this desire ever going to end?
One person takes up service, another becomes a doctor, or an advocate, or a shopkeeper; this, admittedly, is not because otherwise the employer could not have got anyone to serve him, or because a patient would have to go without a doctor, or because the client would be without an advocate, or a customer would be without some particular article. In other words, whatever one does is not done for the sake of the deed but with the ultimate motive of obtaining for one’s own self some kind of happiness or gain. We find, however, that the expected fruition, namely, happiness or contentment, is never attained, despite lifelong strenuous toil. Life comes to an end, leaving a sense of something yet not done, a sense of incompleteness of achievement. Does a man ever feel that he has obtained all he wanted and no longer needs anything more, that he is perfectly contented with what he has? There is at least the gnawing anxiety that it should never diminish, never perish.
Remember that everything in this world is incomplete, imperfect, impermanent; and therefore, no matter what we earn and however much, satisfaction can never result from it. How can a collection of things all intrinsically imperfect yield the satisfaction of perfection? If a mental hospital has two hundred patients as inmates, how far would it be justified to say that an addition of a hundred more lunatics would make up one sane person?
It is impossible to predict how much would suffice for a man to secure contentment. On the other hand, if we learn to be contented with what we have, we will always have enough.
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