Inner wealth is something no one can take away. It gives us the strength to face and live life with poise and greater equanimity. It builds character and wisdom. What exactly is this inner wealth?
Inner wealth is made up of certain qualities of character and wisdom that we acquire through purposeful learning, spiritual and self-discipline, and reflection on our life experiences. Since these qualities become a part of our personality, no one can steal them away.
Beauty doesn’t have to diminish as we age. Our beauty shifts from the outer to the inner when we consciously develop inner wealth with traits such as evenness of mind, forgiveness, humility, patience, acceptance, and kindness.
This is where real and enduring beauty lies. Good character far outweighs superficial beauty.
Spiritual knowledge builds inner wealth
There is an abundance of information available to us today that is neither good nor uplifting. It depletes our energy and puts us in a low state of mind.
To uplift ourselves and our lives, we must strive to acquire spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is relevant and useful to us because it connects us with our true nature and purpose in life. It is good knowledge as it uplifts our energy and mood. And it promotes our inner growth.
When we gain spiritual knowledge and implement it in our lives, it becomes our unique wisdom and inner wealth. Unlike outer wealth which decreases as we share it, this inner wealth increases when we share it with others. Sharing deepens our own convictions and benefits others who are open to receiving it.
Outer wealth can become a burden as it has to be monitored and managed carefully to prevent it from being depleted or lost completely. But inner wealth is always an asset. No matter how much of it we have, it can never be a burden and nor can it be lost.
To be wise, we must think about our lives, our goals and how they align with our purpose as spiritual beings on an evolutionary journey through lifetimes.
Let’s explore this idea further.
Even if you may not accept that we live many lives, it may be worthwhile to question it to make sense out of the many inconsistencies we see around us.
For instance, why are children born to the same parents never exactly the same? What previous causes must have been in place to create siblings who are so different in their character and appearance?
What happens to the good and the bad actions that we do? If we accept that all actions produce results and if we don’t experience those results in this life, what happens to them? Will the results dissolve into nothingness upon the death of the body? If that doesn’t seem logical in this intelligent cosmos that is strictly governed by the laws of cause and effect, what happens to them? Where do they go? Do we have to come back again to experience them in another life?
These are just some of the many unanswered questions we may have but the list will get smaller, and we will get wiser as we keep an open mind and strive to gain the knowledge of the cosmic laws of life that govern both the outer world as well as our inner lives. We cannot consider ourselves as separate and outside the reach of nature’s laws. After all, we are mere creatures in this vast cosmos.
We like keeping up with the world news, local news, and latest trends in the housing or stock market and so on. But this should not be our only focus. We must include adding some spiritual knowledge every day. A little reflection and first-hand experience will show us how meaningless worldly knowledge is in helping us deal internally with sudden illness, sorrow, and loss.
It’s strange. We see pain, loss and suffering around us but we seldom think of it happening to us. Our lives get shaken up when we have to deal with unexpected and undesirable circumstances.
Spiritual wisdom gives us the knowledge and mindset to meet our life challenges effectively.
For example, spirituality tells us that evolution is the goal of life and all our experiences. We are souls with lessons to learn and the people and circumstances in our life are meant to provide us with the opportunities to evolve in consciousness.
And so, when dealing with the loss of a dear one, we will be consoled knowing that only the body dies. But the soul lives on and our dear ones will continue their onward journey and lessons.
We come into this world alone, and we leave it alone. All other relationships, no matter how long, will ultimately end at the end of our lives. Our only one real and permanent relationship is with God who is our own higher Self.
Our relationship with God continues through all our lifetimes like the unseen presence of a thread that holds a string of pearls together in a necklace.
Faith and surrender to God grows our inner wealth
Cultivating a relationship with God and growing in our faith and surrender will increase our inner wealth. It will give us the strength to overcome sorrow and face our difficulties with equanimity. Equanimity of mind is a sign of our spiritual growth and maturity.
How can we build faith in God? Faith in the higher power begins with believing that it exists.
The best way is to try to understand the words of the spiritual masters and the teachings found in religious and spiritual literature. This will help us become more familiar with the idea of a creator or source for this world.
If you are not inclined to do this, set out the intention to prove it to yourself that a higher power exists as you go about your everyday life. Don’t take anything for granted. Observe the world around you as though you are seeing it for the first time.
You will find that you overlooked much of the beauty in things around you—the plant sitting on your worktable, a ray of sunshine coming in from the window, the soft breeze on your face, the sounds of the birds in the trees, the sweet juice of a grape being crushed in your mouth…
Ask yourself: How does the plant know to take in nutrients from the soil? How can the sun that is millions of miles away, still be able to send a light beam into your room? What makes the air move? How do birds know how to sing? Where does the sweetness in the grape come from?
Once you believe, then growing in faith and surrender is the next step. Faith grows from nurturing a relationship. Relationships are built from sharing common experiences over time.
Bring in the remembrance of God in your daily interactions and experiences and talk to Him/Her/It often. This is like talking with a friend or a family member about your experiences and concerns.
Spend some time everyday in prayer. This quiets the mind and builds faith. As your faith grows, your ability and knowledge of how to surrender also increases.
Your inner life will be enriched with the cultivation of faith and surrender to God.
Austerity cultivates inner wealth
Another practice that cultivates inner wealth is the practice of austerity or self-control.
Practicing austerity is voluntarily imposing self-control for the purpose of gaining inner strength, greater peace or to have a better control over the mind or senses.
Austerity could also mean taking a vow to cultivate certain virtues such as patience, humility, or accepting others as they are.
You may resolve to practice austerity in speech. This would entail striving to always speak the truth and say it in a kind manner. You may also promise to not speak ill about others or maintain a day of silence once a week.
Other examples of the practice of austerity include sleeping early and waking up early to meditate, studying a chapter or verses from some spiritual literature every day, fasting on certain days of the month or going meatless on Mondays.
Austerity weakens lower tendencies, eliminates negative habits, and integrates the personality.
The mind likes to take the easy way out and go for things that bring it pleasure. Repeatedly giving in to the mind’s demands for pleasure will strengthen its influence over you and will make you go weak in the face of difficulties. Even the smallest thing will cause you to be disturbed, lose sleep, get sick or get a headache.
Freedom is built on intelligent self-restraint said my guru, Swami Chinmayananda. We may say we are free but are we really free if we become slaves to our own mind and senses?
Swami Chinmayananda tells us that we must voluntarily apply self-restraint to assert our mastery over our lower instincts. Otherwise, how are we any different from animals? Our intellect makes us different from animals. We can make the best use of it and our free will to make conscious choices in life that will promote our inner growth and inner wealth.
Inner wealth brings success in life
This idea of success being inner transformation is radically different from what most people would consider success. Success is usually measured in terms of outer accomplishments, wealth, power, or fame.
But spirituality sees things differently.
Kesava Swami tells us that “success is not in the achievement. It’s not what you get at the end. Success is in your endeavour, your intention, your effort. The character that goes behind the noble thing you are trying to do.”
Success is about allowing the best to come out of you. And so, let’s cultivate inner wealth that will never diminish, be lost or stolen. How much we have transformed inwardly will be the true measure of our success.
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