To live with freedom is the desire of everyone. Nobody likes to be tied up. Having chains that prevent us from acting as we really want is probably one of our worst nightmares. Having our hands tied, our feet shackled, and our minds closed might today seem to be a thing of the past, when slavery was legal and condoned by large sectors of society. Today slavery, as we once understood it, no longer exists, but we can still find it under another guise.
The great challenge we face in today’s world is to find happiness, and to do so we must be able to surmount many obstacles, both internal and external. Attaining happiness implies the conquest of freedom. Freedom to think, to act, to feel, to live one’s own life. For this, it is also necessary to reappraise the lifestyle we lead. We don’t need riches or luxuries to be happy, we can live with very little because happiness is not to be found in material goods, but rather in service to, and in contact with, each other. Trying to find happiness in material things, in money, in ostentation only offers us a fleeting moment of satisfaction. If what we buy with the intention to make us happy disappoints us, our happiness will go up in smoke and we will be forced to find something else to replace it. This vicious circle not only leads to our indiscriminate spending of money, but also to the exploitation of natural resources that are required for manufacturing.
Sobriety is liberating. To live in moderation frees us from the chains of consumerism. It makes us put aside the superficialities that entertain but also hamper a decent, compassionate existence, one that is taken on as a task to perform and not merely as a life to be exploited. To enjoy the little things, every moment we live, the simple things. Not to be a slave to ownership, and lament what we don’t have but rather to appreciate what we do have, and focus on those who are with us.
Sobriety can stem from multiple roots. One of them is necessity. Being frugal by necessity is to be subjected to some deficiency in the quality of life which all of us deserve. In such a case sobriety is acquired without any pleasant attributes which will allow one to live happily. One is frugal because there is no other choice, as being otherwise would endanger ones basic needs.
When one adopts sobriety in a meaningful way, he or she collaborates with the social wellbeing of all. For the temperance of some should help towards counteracting the shortcomings of others. Sobriety that does not impact on the social good of others, remains solely in the nirvana of spiritual complacency or is a selfish attempt at self-flagellation. If one lives modestly, one does not focus one’s life on the desire to own things.
Sobriety helps to let go of the worries we have placed in the way of our journey through life. It allows us to focus on service, to take pause and look around us.
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