Many years back, I was staying in a forest rest house at Kanpur. In this forest, there was a long track where some people used to come for their morning walk. The track was narrow, zigzag and ran into a few kilometres. For me, it is a great joy to be in the lap of Nature and enjoy its ambience while walking. During my stay, a friend of mine joined me for the morning walk and we both walked on that narrow path. As it was difficult to walk together, I would walk behind him and occasionally wonder at the bounty of Nature. Suddenly, my attention went to the narrowness of the path. It was hardly one foot wide but one was able to walk on it comfortably without any insecurity of falling off. Then I thought that while there was no problem in walking on a one foot wide path, the same would become difficult if one had to walk on a one foot wide wall.
This difficulty would further increase with the increase in the height of the wall and it would, perhaps, become impossible for a common man to walk over even a two feet wide wall, if its height is raised to ten feet or more. The fact is, that one needs the same width even to walk on a wall but the sense of insecurity increases because of the height which makes it difficult to walk. However, a trained and disciplined person can walk even on a rope tied at a great height. This observation gave me a very valuable lesson for life. As long as we are not very important and remain on the ground, our needs are few and we enjoy life within our limited means. As we grow materially, and reach the so-called height, it becomes difficult to live within the same means while our basic needs remain the same. Not only this, our joys turn into fears, as and when we start possessing more. Our energies are then deployed in acquiring more and the process goes on. In this way, while one’s income level increases, his or her happiness decreases.
The answer lies in appreciating the fact that when we rise in life, we need more discipline and restraint for remaining happy. No one can deny that our basic needs of food, shelter and clothing remain the same, but we tend to acquire more only due to our sense of insecurity or ego. A wise person is one who can correctly assess his needs and spend his energy optimally. His acquisitions beyond his needs then serve a larger purpose and cater to the society. This further adds to his happiness and fulfilment in life. Someone has rightly said that the only way for a rich man to be happy is to live like a poor man.