This I Believe

Ricky - Encinitas, California
Entered on November 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that happiness, peace, and contentment are not dependent on external factors. I believe that as a society we waste too much energy trying to acquire wealth, power and physical possessions that in the end will not make us happy.

In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with having material wealth, but it shouldn’t be sought after as the determinate factor of our happiness.

Unfortunately for me, I learned that lesson only but a few years ago. As a young American, I have been indoctrinated by television programs, teachers, and family with the belief that I must fulfill a long list of physical requirements to create an ideal life for myself that would give me happiness and satisfaction. For years I had spent my life working to buy the latest gadgets and trying to date the best looking girls. As if it they were a status symbol that I would be respected for. I chose my major solely because there was money in that particular field, and never considering the fact that I might not enjoy it.

It wasn’t until I became friends with a homeless student named Tony that I began to change my outlook on life and my preconceptions regarding happiness. Tony was a community college student who lived in his van, worked part time, went to school full time, and didn’t bother acquiring much physical possessions at all. All that he had was in the back of his van. The first time I hung out with Tony outside of class he took me to the a park that over looked the ocean and explained to me how he tried to come to this place various times through out the week to meditate and read his spiritual books. He told me his philosophy of “getting more by having less” and the way he tried to live in a positive state of mind while being grateful for what he currently has. I had heard of his philosophy before but had never seen it applied by a real person. I envied his lifestyle because he was able to identify and create his happiness from within while I was looking to create mine without. Tony and I got together many times that year to talk and meditate. His spiritual ideals and life philosophy became part of my own, and I began to poses a flow of happiness and peace that was brought forth not by my physical possessions and attachments, but by my own inner realization of what I knew I was living for.

Because I have now lived a my life with Tony’s mentality for a few years, my belief that my peace and happiness is solely dependent on my inner conviction of gratitude and contentment has become my bedrock philosophy that I plan to structure my life upon.