Tao Te Ching – 44

Chapter 44Which is more important, your honour or your life?
Which is more valuable, your possessions or your person?
Which is more destructive, success or failure?
Excessive love for things exacts a great cost.
If your happiness depends on accumulating wealth, you will never truly be happy.
What you gain is more trouble than what you lose.
Be content with what you have;
realise that nothing is lacking.
If you know when to stop, the whole world belongs to you.

This chapter offers advice helping to set personal priorities in how to live a happy life.
Personal priorities determine the course of ones’ life. Priorities which are driven by transient pleasures and desires lead away from contentment, though they promise just the opposite.

This is also found in the 2nd Truth of Buddha which reads: `The desire to live for the enjoyment of self entangles us in a net of sorrow, pleasures are the bait and the result is pain’.

“To be content with what we possess is the greatest and most secure of riches.” – Cicero (Roman philosopher and statesman)

Changing our perspective can bring about an (often) immediate change in our experience of life. Lao Tzu offers that the more we have, the more challenges we will experience. Consider the numerous reports of lottery winners who with great joy find themselves with more money than they know what to do with, only to find that their new happiness and wealth short lived.commandment_10

The only real treasure is life itself. Nothing else can possibly compare to it, much less surpass it. The great secret is simply that happiness and fulfilment (a lifetime pursuit for most people) can never be found outside of oneself. But we easily forget that, when pursuing one or other superficial happiness.

Simply, the more inwardly secure we feel, the less attached we are.

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