Luxuries vs Necessities: A key to your suffering

Thoraeu stated, ‘confined to the most significant and vital experiences [and] compelled to deal with the material which yields the most sugar… It is life near the bone where it is sweetest.’ His point is that once our basic needs are met, ‘Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul,’ which is but an inflection of the old adage that, ‘The best things in life are free.’

Do you really know what a necessity is verses a luxury? How much of the “stuff” that we have around us, that we surround our lives with, just give the need for more and lead to our suffering? Why is it that as Americans we are stuck in this never having enough and needing to consume more and more paradigm?

Can you imagine what life would be like without your washing machine? If you had to hand-wash your clothing? How about simply living with the few necessities it takes to survive. Most people would say that it is poverty or shy away from ever wanting to have a life like that, or maybe even look down on a person that does not own much. This is the double edged sword. The more we have the more we want and this causes identification and suffering. The more we have creates the need for more much of the time out of responsibility to those things we have and causes suffering. For an example one of my friend who extremely affluent complained to me once that maybe 1/4 of his income goes into taking care of his land and his house and his cars and his…………………  The more we have the more we are distracted by. The distractions are gross in most lives and get subtler and subtler to the less of amount of “stuff” that one owns.

In my travels across the world some of the most happiest and content people I ever met were people in the far reaches of the land, in villages. They didn’t own much at all. Their lives were simple. They didn’t need either. For centuries and centuries lives have been simple. Yes, you could say that we have more today and the wealth is spread across a wider amount of beings but I would ask you to look much deeper into this thought.

It is truly about distractions and the suffering caused by actually having. Take an Iphone for an example. Need i say more, but I will. Not to long ago there was only a land line. Not to long before that there were not pay-phones (even those are pretty much gone now) on every corner. Not long before that, it was a luxury to have a phone in your house. And we call what we have as a necessity. I didn’t have a cell phone until very recently so being on the outside and now stepping in gives a great vantage point as we are much of the time blind to our lives. Much of the time we are too busy to notice.

There is another side to this as well…. that is how those technological advances that have seemed to make things easier have actually created more of our suffering. What was once a job or chore that took time and made us sow the seeds that produces the fruit is also what created value. If for a month you were to just do away with your washing machine and grab a bar of soap, your dirty clothes, and a bucket, you may get a deeper sense of meaning and value to your life. Try it out. This brings us to the question of what is really of value, what is true, and what is needed. In a bigger picture you can also see that with the lack of needing to do your own washing has given the space for more distractions and the need to fill the time with something else. What is it filled with?

Now to tie this in with Ayurveda and Yoga.

In such advancements and technological achievements, luxuries have been created, they have turned into necessities and ignorance grows. Lets take for example the creation of electricity. Now that there is light at any time, what has that done for our health? Has anyone thought of that? What time did one get up in the AM before there was the light bulb? What time did they go to sleep? What time was breakfast, lunch, or dinner? What effect has there been on our health due to this? Any knowledge of this has been pretty much lost as well. What change have we created beyond the earth with the amount of light pollution that we have created? Refrigeration is a good one as well. Now we can keep food for longer…. But why would we want to eat old food? Are we are to busy to get fresh food or eat healthy? What effect has this had on the human race?

Generally in this day and age two of the healthiest changes that someone can make in their lives is to get up before the sun rises and eat healthy fresh foods. (To learn why you can read past posts like …  )   Also for most people that I have dealt with this has been the hardest thing to change. It is very interesting to me that two of the most simple and healthiest things are to be the hardest for someone to bring into their life.

All in all, we have been brought away from nature and the nature of things and how they work and further into dis-ease and suffering. How to change, if you want? Start to look through different eyes at the world. What is really necessary in your life. Simplify, and I guarantee you will find more contentment and happiness.

This is also why a yogic lifestyle is not one adorn with the materialism of our modern world. It is a renunciate path. An inward path. You can now clearly see the easy play on the mind…….. having, craving, desiring, that those luxuries bring on.  This is why a buddhist monk has nothing but the few items besides his robe and the beggars bowl.

Just as an aside to this, when last were you grateful for everything you have? How many things can you come up with that are beyond those gross obvious things to be grateful for but more of the subtle ones? and maybe the best question is how about being grateful for just being alive?………..


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