Life has to be progressive to be worthwhile, and there are many ways in which we do make progress. Progress is often thought of as something which shows itself outwardly and can be seen and admired by others. This might include our educational qualifications, our job title, our property, our holidays in faraway places. To the ordinary way of thinking, these are all signs of progress, indications of success in life.
But this is just one way of measuring progress. Once we consider the matter, we can say that such progress is superficial unless it is accompanied by a corresponding growth of inner peace, expansion of consciousness, deepening of wisdom, and, with it, one’s feeling of unity with all.
The outer progress has to be viewed critically because, even in worldly matters, our happiness depends more on our state of mind than on our possessions or achievements. We may say: ‘Well, if you have financial security and decent health, you are bound to be in a better state of mind.’ But this is not always the case, for the human mind, somewhat perversely, has a boundless appetite for wanting more than it has, and for becoming bored and restless with the here and now. So we need to identify what the mind really wants in order to quench its thirst for satisfaction, and what it thinks it will gain when such satisfaction is achieved.
When are we truly rich? From the standpoint of the non-dual teachings, it is when our thoughts show a degree of contentment, when there is nothing weighing on our conscience, and when we find a lasting joy in our own being. This suggests there has been a development of inner resources, and such a development can only fructify if it is related to the deepest principle in our nature.
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