As you surely recall, we have had the privilege of visiting our grandmother in her modest dwelling place, and a time will come when you will be a guest at an estate of the well endowed, financially at least. You will marvel at the great expanses of the rooms and adornments at the walls, and your heart will turn towards these things in desire.
Looking back I realize that, try as I might, I could only occupy the same amount of space as I do now writing this, at any given time. Be it an executive suite, or the warm, seemingly cramped room grandma would let us sleep in, I can only occupy the same amount of real estate I would in the coffin my body will eventually be buried in (or the crematorium chamber, doesn’t matter, I won’t be around to debate this).
In the most modest of vehicles, I could only occupy one seat at at time, and my current situation would not be diminished by the time the ride came to an end. Conversely, in the most luxurious of cars, my ass could never demand for more square footage in seat space, and I would find neither my status, my real value as a human being, nor the state of my innermost heart elevated any higher at the end of the trip than when I first set foot in it. The essential need of transportation would be fulfilled either way, and only the peripheral and oftentimes baseless desires of prestige and comfort beyond function would find completion by the latter situation.
In all my days I have never seen more than one set of clothing adorned on the human person at any given time. And if there ever was, only the outermost layer would be significantly visible. It’s apparent then, that the function sought after is the covering of the naked body, which any modest clothing will do. But we go beyond this and want different looking ones for every day of the week or month, of different colors, then with adornments on them, then comes the labels of recognition: and yet we are anxious, distraught with the burden of choice we have created for ourselves. What pair of our twelve shoes to wear with which of our seven sweaters?
What then is the true measure of our being? Of our existence? Of our day to day lives? Do we overstep the bounds of what it means to live? Why do we live on excesses, striving to have more, bigger, faster, shinier, the latest…beyond the measure of what we truly need?
I battle within myself, when at an entertainment, not to feel compelled to buying a glass of fermented grapes of a higher monetary value, when the essence of the being at this establishment is the interaction with the human in front of me. Why that need, when the action does not elevate the value of what is truly important at that very moment?
David, you will do well to keep this in mind; to continually check the true measure of your living, and that you live proportionately to that. To always be grateful, not think too highly of yourself, and dare not deny the hand that pure serendipity has played in allowing you to afford the liberties you now enjoy.
In this state of appreciation, blended with the correct perception of what is truly of value, you will learn that it is possible for even an emperor to live a good life.