Thursday, April 10, 2008

"Seven Things That Can Wreck Your Life"

Sex ... Money ... Power ... Fame ... Good Looks ... Ambition ... Success

If any of these Seven become tangled up in the Seven Deadly Sins (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride), look out! Otherwise, they are simply to be enjoyed, but not to bet the farm on - it's only when we begin to grasp blindly at these things that we head down a precarious and deluded path. Grasping blindly means that we see these as some kind of truth, an unchanging truth where can find our eternal security and happiness. This is of course impossible; these seven things are transient, and they will disappear in a short period of time.

An ignorance of their extremely temporary status, combined with a refusal to acknowledge or even be aware of spiritual things beyond these temporal things, sets us up for tremendous suffering. When we expect things to be good, and they turn out not to be, this is a basic ignorance of how things really are.

If these seven things were ultimate truths, why must we continuously relive them?

Sex can be a bother. It's not as if you can have sex once and say, "There, that's it! I'm satisfied!" No, you will have to revisit sex maybe as many as 18,000 times in a lifetime, or more!

And money can be such a worry. We worry about getting it, then holding on to it, how to spend it wisely, and how to get even more because we never feel that we have enough. Few rich people have a peaceful mind (until they give it all away).

Power is an enemy creator; someone will always be jealous of your power and want to take it from you. Few respect power; they respect leadership, power intimidates them.

Fame is a real inconvenience. Once we become famous and our lives become public property, seclusion is no longer an option. The short-lived high of attention quickly becomes a long-term liability.

Good looks, unfortunately, fade just as sand slips through an hourglass. Even with face-lifts and other cosmetic improvements, our speech and mannerisms change and give us away, as we worry constantly about getting old.

Ambition isolates us. When we become overly ambitious it's a bet that we become self-centered as well, and self-centeredness is the opposite of compassion.

Finally, worldly success is always destined for failure in the end. Success means that we have temporarily attained our intended purpose, but since everything in the world constantly changes, our success is always short-lived.

These seven things - Sex, Money, Power, Fame, Good Looks, Ambition, and Success never work out as well as we imagine they might. On the other hand, poverty, powerlessness, infamy, common looks, non-ambition, worldly non success, and the absence of sex; these are more or less the realities of a monk or nun's life, and perplexingly, lead to happiness.

Taking a stand between these extremes is what works for most people: Sex, but responsible sex; money, but only as much as you really need; control, but not overbearing control; distinction, but always an underplayed distinction; natural appearance, not false representations; goals and aims, but within the restrictions of non-greed and honesty; and finally, success, but not restricted to only the world - success must include a sincere reaching out toward our Ultimate Reality.

Then the seven things that can wreck your life may change into the seven things that can save your life: Virtue, generosity, loving kindness, serenity, truthfulness, determination, and wisdom.

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