Earlier this week I heard a beautiful quote from Bob Marley.
In an interview, with reference to his fame, he was once asked:
Are you a rich man, do you have a lot of possessions?
I don't have that kind of richness, my richness is life.
So simple yet so profound and meaningful. It has been in my head all week.
It's amazing: one can read hundreds of philosophy books and articles on mindful living and then stumble across one quote that makes sense of it all in one eloquent swoop of a few words.
The quote doesn't just make an emphatic statement, it is deeply meaningful and makes so much of what we believe we exist for on a day-to-day basis appear frivolous and pointless.
The very fact you have a place on this earth is a gift of incredible wealth, and one that transcends monetary value.
One needs nothing more than life, quite simply because without life we cease to exist. Life is it, in itself.
No amount of money can ever make you feel lasting happiness. As wealth increases so do delusions of importance and grandeur, and further desire that fuels discontent.
Life provides all the richness we need to thrive.
Yet we spend our lives in a fabricated parallel existence, attempting to accumulate as much material wealth as we can; much of which is produced to the detriment of the natural world that supports our existence.
Nature gives us the food and water we need to thrive, the materials we need to build shelter and an armory of senses to enjoy its beauty in so many ways.
Nature also gives us the qualities needed to enjoy all other living things: love, kindness, respect, honesty.
But instead we busy ourselves trying to change things for the better, to improve on an already perfectly designed system, which in many ways has become unbalanced with human interference.
Almost everything we collectively do on a daily basis as human beings is a quest for more, for bigger, better, faster.
We are on a blind quest to beat nature, as if we are in some way separate or more important than “life itself”.
As if one day we'll be able to control the world with massive amounts of money that will help us manipulate time and space to our benefit.
Why is one breath of fresh morning air so much more rewarding than the purchase of any material object?
Because no material object can be enjoyed without that breathe of fresh air. You don't need the former, but you need the latter.
Because your richness is life, and without it nothing in your possession has any reality.
We are all part of this interdependent life, but no more important than any other living organism. It's important to remember that.
We are only here doing what we do each day for as long as Mother Nature permits us to remain. We must appreciate that, and do our best to make the experience as positive as possible for every other person and animal too.
Enjoy your successes, enjoy your hard earned money, but don't separate yourself from the true essence of your being. Don't be fooled into thinking you are defined by such things.
Go outside, raise your hands to the sky, take a deep breath and hug the world.
Run around for a while, then sit and observe the flowers, trees and birds.
Marvel at the creation of yourself, your fellow humans and all other sentient beings.
Make music, paint, write, act, laugh, cry, love.
Your wealth is being alive.
Your richness is life.