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Morning meditation - The best things in life are not things

What is it that makes us happy? What is it that gives us peace?

The advertisers and marketers would have us believe that buying their products and services would make us happy. Of course, we have learned that this is a lie. Those products and services may make us happy for a brief period of time, but when the honeymoon wears off, we need to buy more. As mothers have said for centuries, "There's always something." and indeed, in the mind of the ego there is a need for always something more. Desires, as Buddha pointed out, leads to suffering. Jesus said it is easier for a camel to pass throught the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into heaven.

And what makes us truly happy and peaceful? Sharing. Connecting with others. Sharing a song, a joke, a meaningful conversation, work together, are some of the most satisfying experiences in life. When these things are done in love, compassion, empathy, a feeling of resonating connectedness, there is no greater joy.

In the spiritual life, we realize that we are here to extend God's love for us to others. Jesus says, "No greater love has any person than to lay down his/her life for his/her friends." I think Jesus does not mean bodily death, but ego death. We set our egos aside for our friends and act out of love not self justification. Setting our egos aside is not martyrdom or self sacrifice, but done gladly because it brings well being, gladness, and happiness to all concerned. As the Beatles sang, "Love, love, love, love is all there is." It is in loving, extending God's love to all the world, that brings joy, not buying the latest fashion, car, computer, lipstick, perfume. As the bumper sticker says, "The best things in life are not things."

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