“The good life is a result of something. You cannot live well if you have not thought well, if you have not felt well. The good life is a result of thought. The good depends firstly on love. The Good depends also on thought, and then as a result come the good life. …
“Love others like you love yourself. The most idealistic is to live God. … If you are content with riches, but discontent when they are taken away from you, you have not understood love. Be content in both cases and give thanks. Riches and titles can be given and taken away from you, but believe in love that bears in itself all good things, and these good things will be given to you at the time when you are ready.” ~Biensa Douno
The Good Life
When we speak of “the good life,” the image we each form of what that means may differ greatly. One may envision himself living in a great mansion with servants to do everything for him. Another may see himself on a deserted beach enjoying nature without a care. Another may see it as doing good for others through volunteer work. All of these visions, and many others, have one thing in common. We envision the good life as doing that which makes us happy. And that is as it should be. We are individuals and we have different skills and desires. We should not all want to be president since that is clearly impossible. But it is possible for all of us to do things that make us happy—within reason, of course.
Result of Thought
The idea that the good life is the result of thought has two meanings. First, if we are happy and content with the life we have, than it is for us, the good life. So in that way, because we think it is the good life, it is. Second, if we do want to change our life for the better, we do that mostly with thought also. No great inventor has ever invented something without first visualizing it in his head. A scientist doesn’t come up with a new theory without first thinking about it. Even artists must think about what they are doing or planning to do. This idea works for spiritual growth as well as for things on the material level. I doubt that anyone has truly had a spiritual awakening without some thought about it first. And continued spiritual growth requires continued thought and the belief that we can succeed.
Then there is the other side of the coin. If we say we want something, but deep down don’t think we deserve to get it, we will never get it. If we say we want to accomplish something, but don’t believe we can, then we won’t. We have to believe in ourselves and our ability to succeed if it is ever going to happen. That is why the Zen Master teaches that we must empty the cup before we can fill it with something new. We must get rid of false and limiting thoughts and beliefs if we want to succeed at anything.
Content Through Love
We might think it is easy for the wealthy person to be content and happy. After all, he has everything, or can buy it if he doesn’t. But in fact many wealthy people suffer constantly from fear. Fear that they will be robbed. They might fear that they will be murdered for their money. Fear that family members will be kidnapped and held for ransom.
Real wealth comes not from piles of money but from piles of love. When we love God, when we love ourselves, and others, we are happy and content. If we don’t have a lot of money, we are fine with that, as long as we have enough to meet basic needs. When we do have a lot of money, we are still happy and content and will not fear that others are out to rob us or kill us. If we have love, we cannot be greedy, so we do not fear the loss of wealth.
J. K. Rowling became a billionaire due to the success of the Harry potter books and movies. But she fell off the billionaires list because she donated millions to charity. She will never fear losing her money or fame because she has love.
Douno says that good things come to those who love, and that is true. That doesn’t mean they become super wealthy, but it does mean they rarely want. They always have enough, and when they truly need something more, it comes to them somehow. That is the Good Life.