Go to your closet and count the pairs of shoes lined up in there—or the red sweaters or white shirts or ties. Or maybe you can't even open the closet because it's bursting with stuff. It isn't easy to abstain from greed in this materialistic world. With television, radio, and billboards continually telling us what we want and what we must have, it's hard not to believe some of it. But are you familiar with the feeling of buying something you've always wanted, then feeling strangely dissatisfied, as if the fun was in the wanting, not in the actual possessing? That is greed's payoff—emptiness.
Nongreed means living simply, possessing only what is necessary, and recognizing that possessions are merely tools to use in life. Accumulations, whether material things or unnecessary thoughts, tie you down to this world. Simplify your life as you simplify your thoughts.
Greed can also surface in less obvious ways. Talking too much, interrupting others, and dominating conversations while barely showing a flicker of interest in the participation of others are all ways greed creeps into our lives through language. Think before you speak, and consider how your words will sound and what effect they will have. Practice listening and being truly present in a conversation, absorbing everything other people are saying.
Thoughts can also be a source of greed. How come the Smiths have a swimming pool and a fancy two-level deck, while you have to sit on the back stoop under the sprinkler? Why did your best friend get diamonds for her birthday when you only got a
Know Your Sanskrit
Yamas (pronounced YAH-mahs) are five abstinences or forms of discipline that purify the body and mind: ahimsa (ah-HIM-sah) means "nonviolence," satya (SAHT-ya) means "truthfulness," asteya (ah-STAY-yah) means "nonstealing," brahmacharya (BRAH-mah-CHAR-yah) means "chastity or nonlust," and aparigraha (ah-PAH-ree-GRAH-hah) means "nongreed."
toaster? Envy and jealousy clutter the mind and can become obsessions. How much better it is to turn those feelings around and feel truly happy for the person who has something you don't have! In fact, once you start to be happy for someone else simply because of their joy, you may become so fulfilled by your happiness that you lose your desire for whatever they have. How much simpler your life becomes when you can be happy due to something beyond your own needs!
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