One has only one life and one will value one's life based on the quantity and quality of happiness within one's life. A person can be happy dying painfully for the ones that he loves while one can be unhappy in a mansion as a wealthy miser. Happiness has little to do with physical pain or monetary wealth. Money is like breathing--beyond a certain point you are wasting your breath. Have you ever noticed how people obsessed with money are not the people you want as co-workers or neighbors?
As some say, money won't buy health or wealth. Happiness is how you live and how you want. As says one poster, the rich man is not the man with the most but is the man who wants the least. The latter is the basic teaching and foundation of Buddhism.
Have you ever questioned yourself when you happiest most? Have you had unhappy moments just as you cashed your paycheck with money in hand but debts far greater? How did you get in debt beyond your means? Because you allowed your wants to enslave you to "I owe. I owe. It's off to work I go."
So what is happiness and how does a garden help want to find happiness. Most obviously, a garden saves you some food dollars. Monetarily more importantly, it curbs your expensive, wasteful and wanton (wants) "shop till you drop" with profitable, creative and needful "grow till you glow." Mentally more important, it gives you time to reflect on what has gone wrong and gone good in your relations with others and with yourself. Only about 10 percent, or less, of the time gardening is spent thinking about the task at hand. The rest is for free thinking about life. Gardening is work only if you want to be somewhere else.
In having "timeout" while gardening, one can ponder one's relation with the rest of the world. Most people cannot or will not take the time to question who and what they are. They are rewarded with on-going unhappiness of unsolved problems.
There are many reasons why the Socratic maxims ring truer today than 2500 years ago:
You cannot know yourself without questioning yourself and your values: The road to hell and unhappiness is paved with the good intentions of bad values.
Sometimes an honest answer to an honest questions destroys a beautiful lie with an ugly truth. However, like ugly ducklings, ugly lies can become beautiful swans that will soar above and beyond beautiful lies.
Gardening gives one time to reflect and question. A mother who works in a garden will be a better mother than the one who works in a job. Of course, some will say that some mothers have to work. Well, which came first? Their unquestioned wants or their forced work?
The most important job in the world is the homemaker. One cannot have a home and a job as one cannot have a cake and eat it too. Whether male or female, a full-time homemaker has the time to question how to be a better parent than simply shouting, "Do it because I am your mother and I say so." As any manager will tell you, getting the subordinate to think it was the subordinates idea is the best way to get a problem solved. Any one thinks parenting is automatic should not be a parent. Likewise with teaching. If one does not love teaching enough to live and breathe teaching then one does not understand teaching. Teaching and parenting are self-similar.
One can show a self-similarity among many terms used to describe human beings, to wit,
Most generally, happiness comes with freedom from problems whether immediate physical pain or chronic mental anxiety. Usually, one can physically remove oneself from a painful situation (unless one has ailments from past indulging wants, e.g., obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases.) Usually, one can mentally remove oneself from one's mental anxieties by igknowing them. However, igknowance is bliss only until the igknowed problems blitz your life. No matter how fast one runs, one cannot outrun one's problems. Quite to the contrary, one worsens problems by igknowing them.
Thus, one can make the case that happiness in one's only life comes from freedom from problems. The case for this relation of happiness and freedom was formally written into the preamble to the US Declaration of Independence. The principles espoused in great legal documents are false hopes if one allows or tolerates semantic slippage of logical rights into legal wrongs.
For the issue at hand, that is, happiness is freedom from problems, a right is defined as an action the reverses or prevents a wrong. A wrong is something that wastes the time of a human being. Wasting time is the essence of all problems--you cannot name a problem that cannot be quantified and qualified in time which, simultaneously, means you can quantify its rightness/wrongness, freedom/slavery, and happiness/sadness.
Legal rights are not necessarily logical rights. Quite often, legal rights are logical wrongs, e.g., legal slavery. One can often smell an evil wrong when one hears the perpetrator justify the action by saying, "And, it's legal." One can retort, "But what if everyone did it?" To which the perp will repond, more than likely, "Why are you insulting me? Why do you want to argue?" The refuge of igknowant or dishonest evil-doers is to not only change the subject but to adopt a moral position that impugns the actions of righteous. The slaveowners blamed the abolitionists for the US Civil War and the Wall Streeters blamed communists for the US 1930's Depression.
Financial shenanigans have repeatedly plunged humanity into social, economic, and political chaos throughout the history of humanity: Egypt, India, China, Japan, Persia, Greece, Rome, England, USA, etc. These crises have resulted from the divorce of wealth from worth via symbols becoming more important than the substance of wealth.
The substance of worth and wealth is the work of solving time-wasting problems. The substance is not funny numbers on funny paper. The substance of worth and wealth is not addiction to play which wastes time.
If one wants to be happy, one needs to take time to question one's values and views on worth and wealth. Too many Americans bought into wanting symbols of wealth over the needed substance of wealth: 401ks which are the vehicle of the biggest legal bank robbery in history. Wall Steeler print themselves funny paper via stock options and IPOs which they sell into the pensions and savings of unequestioning foolish, gullible American middle-class.
America works less and less because Americans play more and more: stocks, lotteries, music, dvds, etc. Was America built with workers or players? Obviously, Americans believe self-distraction to play and wants is self-actualization. Is it? Can America play, game or gamble its way to prosperity? Our habitual politicians think so. Rising unhappiness disputes this playful wannabee mentality.
One of the best symbols of Americans choosing play over work is the how city known as the steel capital has a symbol of its former substance: Pittsburgh Steelers. All play and no politics makes Jack and Jill desperate, destitude and demised. In President Obama (who this gardener loves as head of state) we have a head of government obssessed with sports and play--see State of the Union 2011.
In a somewhat haphazard way, an attempt has been made to show how several concept are related:
Meaning of life is fulfilled when one imitates the essence of life, that is, creates rather than destroys. If one lives beyond one's means then one will have less means, that is, one will be meaningless. One's meaningfulness, that is, full of means, has nothing to do with one's wealth but with one's worth: There are a lot of wealthy meaningless, worthless meanies.
When one works and solves a problem, one creates or saves time thus fulfilling the meaning of life which makes one worthy. One will be happier. One will be doing right and exercising a freedom. Any reference to play and players as work or workers is a slippery slope down which many individuals and nations have slid faster and faster. Players do not have a work ethic. They waste their time obsessed with the play pathos.
If one ponders the issues raised in this essay, one will more carefully chose life choices and life friends. While one should always give another the courtesy of introductory respect, one is a fool not to fulfill the imperative of respect inherent in its literal roots, that is, "re-inspect." One should always be questioning and re-inspecting with whom one associates.
To respect a person whose wealth is legally or illegally got is to sanctify theft from oneself because the cost of living reflects the cost of unsolved problems in one's economy. A thief is an unsolved problem for which all honest, meaningful people pay, benefitting from how "Evil triumphs when good men don't act."
To be happy and get the most from your life, find some quiet time to reflect on your life. A garden is the best place.
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