Take Only What is Needed in Life
by Marcus Antebi
Article at a Glance:
You should take only what's needed in this life to survive and be content and happy. You don't need an excessive amount of philosophy, because it too much of it can encumber you. And philosophy without compassionate action is of virtually no value.
No philosophy master ever found happiness in solving every puzzle and riddle that they created in their own mind—many philosophers have suffered mental breakdowns. And is the case with the body, so it is with the mind: if you drive either your mind or your body past its limits, you'll burn out physically, mentally, or both.
There really is a clear and easily understandable philosophical path that will help you in your quest to mental and physical health and wellness. The first thing to keep in mind is that your philosophies pertaining to all entities in your life (such as character, love, and the nature of consciousness) should be kept simple.
The seed of your living body starts with a spark of consciousness. The source of this consciousness is not of the material world that we dwell in, and we as humans don't have the capacity to understand it. Masters of philosophy would tell you that trying to understand the root source of consciousness Is virtually impossible. It's enough to know that from a pre-birth state we are thrust into the world of our senses. And a couple of moments after birth, miraculous energetic fields—fields of consciousness—switch on.
This initial experience at birth is intense. When a baby first awakens to sensations of sound and feeling, the baby gets uncomfortable and cries out. Hopefully it sees a relaxed face filled with joy smiling from ear to ear, crying tears of joy and speaking in a gentle love-filled voice. The child will then merge with the mother in a blissful union.
We are fortunate if we come into this world under such circumstances. If we experience abundant love, gentle touch, and soft loving eyes, our minds will stay relaxed and open. We'll learn that the world around us is filled with love and that the world provides for us.
We may develop or adhere to mini-philosophes and instructions on how to live better, but they may fail. Such philosophes often teach elaborate methods of denial of the seemingly unlimited negative experiences that caused us varying degrees of trauma. Unfortunately, they don't often teach much about how to release negative feelings that we could potentially carry with us until death.
A well-adapted person who lives a good life will release some of the negativity they've experienced, even without engaging in specific actions designed to do so. But it's far better to get in touch with negative feelings and process and release them by means of intentional actions that will entail discipline, willingness, and a certain amount of time.
The most important thing in your life should not be becoming “the smartest person in the room.” The most important accomplishment in life is having a compassionate mind that seeks to not cause harm to other humans, to other living creatures, or to the natural world.
Understanding precisely what your needs are is crucial to contentment. The primary needs of the body are pure air, clean water, and wholesome, pure, plant- based foods. A plant-based diet is one that consists of calories taken in from fruits, vegetables, nuts, sprouts, seeds, roots, and herbs: It's become quite clear through a great many experiments and studies and the personal experiences of a tremendous number of people that the human body thrives better on a plant-based diet.
We all know that dietary components are linked to good health. Practices associated with eating enable good health as well. It's healthy to sit patiently and eat with gratitude. When one eats, they should stay focused and in the present moment—when doing so, they'll improve their ability to feel full and nourished. They'll ensure that they're not gorging themselves just to keep from feeling emotional pain.
As it's necessary to strive for order and balance in dietary practices, so should one have balance in all mental and physical activities associated with daily living. We should have plenty of exercise, movement, play, and rest. When we do, we’ll become adaptable to new forms of movement and our bodies will experience less pain and potentially less disease. We should strive for balance between work, meditation, self-improvement practices, family life, community obligations, and service to the outside world.
One thing that deserves special consideration regarding balance is use of your wealth. All should use their wealth wisely, not only to provide for their loved ones but to serve humanity, serve fellow creatures, and serve the planet itself.
Balance in daily living entails balance of our emotions and feelings. Negative feelings are part of everyone's life, but it's important to temper them. And it’s equally important to understand why they exist. No matter how enlightened you are, you will have negativity within yourself at times.
But negative emotions are not bad in and of themselves. When you feel a negative emotion, you should not react inappropriately. Rather you should allow yourself to feel it and help it to pass. Negative emotions are only a problem when they are repressed or when they are left unchecked. Negative emotions become detrimental when we respond to them with negative reactions.
One must always keep in mind that created material things will one day be destroyed. And everything in the material world has an equal and opposite force, an equal and opposite potential, an equal and opposite reaction, and an equal and opposite state of existence. This applies to so many things—in fact, it applies to everything. For insight to exist, there must be an outside. For far to exist, there must be a near. Tall has short. Wet has dry. Jealousy has generosity. Sadness has joy. Darkness has light.
As there are rules regarding entities in the material world in general, there are rules regarding consciousness and the body. The crucial thing to realize is that although everything is connected and all things are one, you can still separate things. The mind can be divided from the body. The body can be divided into limbs and separate organs.
When a person first begins engaging in deep meditation practices, it can be helpful to picture the body and mind as two separate entities. One can look at the body as a temple and consciousness as one of the believers who comes to worship in the temple. Our consciousness can be regarded as being a housekeeper, but it is the house as well.
You may get to a point in which you decide to live a very moral life, pursue higher consciousness, and liberate yourself from unneeded pain and suffering. At that point it's necessary to distinguish between attachments that are necessary for your survival and things that are superfluous.
In the process of striving for things that we don't need, we get distracted and worried. We then move away from the present moment and drift away from reality. We diminish the quality of the experience of being alive. When we don’t properly seek enlightenment, we can metaphorically see doing so as adding undesirable weight to our existence. Our own mistakes and Inappropriate ways of thinking will deter us in this way.
As humans, we have a gift that other creatures don't—the ability to control our thoughts rather than being servants to programmed instincts. We do have drives and processes that can be compared to instincts, and they are programmed into our physical bodies. But we have the ability to override the drives and processes and not heed their instructions. This is known as the gift of free will.
The gift of free will can be a curse if it's not understood and tempered properly. Our free will can lead us into distraction, damage, murder, chaos, and suffering. But it can also lead us into powerful positivity. We can choose to turn away from destructive patterns, and we can lead others close to us away from suffering and towards enlightenment. We can also liberate creatures from suffering that humans caused them.
When we create the right conditions for growth, we will experience consciousness expansion. But the key word is “condition.” To experience enlightenment, we must live moral lives, take care of our mental and physical health, and seek to not harm others (neither other humans nor other living creatures).
Enlightenment is attainable. When we rid ourselves of encumbering negative attachments, we move closer to a state of joy about our very existence. We experience gratitude, present moment focus, and blissful coexistence with others. We experience life as it was meant to be lived.