We often hear friends or family lamenting and wishing they had more of something or another so they could end their current suffering. If they had more wealth, health or wisdom, they’d be able to acquire something, overcome a problem or enjoy more of their lives. 

All these aspects were debated in the second instalment of 7C Life’s debate and dialogue series at our Centre on 14 June 2019. A total of six panellists put forward their points on why they thought that wealth, health or wisdom is most important to them.

From the first team, Shanker and Roshan said that wealth can help you lead a stress- and worry-free life. This is because you don’t need to worry about what you are spending on and how much. You just do so without limitations. Money can also be viewed as positive energy. The amount of wealth one has corresponds to the energy that one emits according to the law of attraction.

The second team, comprising of Eric and Sharran, countered these points and said that what is wealth if you do not have health? Wealth is meaningless without physical and mental health. Without an able body and clarity of thought, how does one put in the right and necessary effort into work? So, health is superior to wealth in this instance.

The third team, Shreen and Darshini, disagreed with both previous teams. Instead, they felt that with wisdom, one has the knowledge to manage the various aspects of life. With wisdom, one has the ability and knowledge to generate wealth for the best outcome. This, leads to happiness as well. The most compelling argument for wisdom however, is that it grants realisation that one dictates one’s own terms of what wealth is. For example, a wise person would realise that he is not bound by other people’s definition of wealth. Also, decisions are made from a neutral standpoint. Whatever happens in life is for the best and it becomes easier to snap out of negative mindsets.

IT’S ALL IN THE PERSPECTIVE

Now, with all these reasons presented, what could possibly be the right answer? Indeed, is there a right answer? It all depends on our perspective, says HH SwamiGuru. All three – wealth, health and wisdom – are important. However, we think they’re important because our foundation is that we do not have enough wealth, health or wisdom.  For example, we think health is important because we’re afraid of dying.

Upon reflection, health, wealth and wisdom are actually preservation, sustenance and evolution respectively. Preservation is about taking care of the physical body. This means eating what is needed for the preservation of the body. But because of fear, we are driven to gather, collect and keep more than we already have. We eat more because we think we won’t get enough later on. Fear of the future drives us to save for a possible future of lack.

Similarly, today’s generation is often working to sustain a future generation. Our fear, once again, causes us to accumulate wealth for our children and their children. By doing this, we have breached our sustenance levels and ignored our preservation. In other words, we have neglected our health in our race to make a better future for our children.

The thing is, health and wealth are temporary measures. We cannot take all our riches with us when we die. Also, we are born as equals with intellect, and when we put what we have learnt into practice, it becomes wisdom. It is this wisdom that we should pass down to our future generations.

There is one more point to add to this debate about our preservation, sustenance and evolution – balance. We must have all three in equal amounts to be in a state of equilibrium. When any one of them is not in balance, we start to experience what we know as stress and suffering.

Here’s the trick: we each have our own level of equilibrium; mine can be different from yours. What this means is that how you perceive being wealthy may be completely different from how I perceive being wealthy. You may think that being 100 kg is healthy and I may think that weighing anything above 55kg is patently unhealthy.

This means having the realisation to accept that you are healthy, despite not being slim or buff like a model on a magazine cover. It’s about getting it right with yourself, and not what society perceives to be right for you. It is about learning how to say, “Enough.”

“I have enough food.”

“I have enough money.”

Making such statements leads to one very important fact: when you know that you have enough food and money, you are happy and content with life. You have accepted that what you are and where you are now is what makes you happy.

Finally, the wise know that the beauty of mankind is that it’ll survive no matter what is thrown at it. As such, impart your wisdom to the younger generation, not your fears and your sufferings. In short, happiness is a product of living enough and living right.

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Catherine Yong is the Head of Publications at 7C Life RealiZation Centre (http://www.7clife.org) an organisation that is aimed at teaching people to achieve clarity of mind and live successful lives by practising mindfulness.