The outcome of greed is the accumulation and hoarding of resources. This process is based on the belief that the more objects, money or possessions one has the happier one becomes. The other outcome of greed is that in a society dominated by a materialistic world-view it creates a hierarchy that bestows power on the ones who possess the most.
The fact is that these beliefs are erroneous; often the excessive accumulation of possessions leaves one restless and unhappy. That is so because there is no thing, being or event, which can provide lasting happiness. In fact, the mad pursuit after objects creates this discord, restlessness, and sustains a continuous hunger for more and more possessions. The value that a materialistic society attaches to material things gives the ones who have the most great power, which is most often misused to acquire even more possessions at the expense of those who are not as powerful. It is important to remember though, that this power in the hands of the rich is sustained only by the prevailing social paradigm and it would vanish like a mirage, with the changing of social values.
The disharmonious hoarding of resources is unsustainable. In nature, which we are part of there is a continuous tendency toward balance in each and every biosphere. Humans are part of a large number of interconnected biospheres, which human society is but one such environment. This abnormal plot against nature’s way depletes the resources and contaminates the physical as well as mental environments; this can be observed and discerned from the state of our ailing planet, social discontent and personal suffering born of greed.
The information mentioned above is not new to the educated and open minds of many, yet there seem to be a lack of a solution, an antidote to this malady. The yogi masters do offer an advice, which is a comprehensive remedy to problem of greed. First, one must recognize the fact that he/she participates in the belief that ‘the more one has - the happier one becomes’ and reflect on its validity. “Is this belief true? Does the accumulation of possessions bring me lasting happiness? And if not why is this so?” The answers need to come from one’s own observations and be based on clear, rational and unbiased thinking. This kind of thinking will free one from any erroneous notions and pave the way to making better choices.
Secondly, the actual remedy is simplifying one’s life by reducing to some degree one’s wants and cravings; the advice is to adopt “simple living and high thinking”. One is not urged to give up material comforts, but rather to reduce need for and the mad chase after them; this will result in a much more contented life. This advice does not advocate complacency; on the contrary, it urges all to participate fully in life, though it would be a life that will not yield to the social pressure of greed. It is a way of living that is based on freeing oneself from bias; it is a life in the light of moral values that are rooted both in reason and in good intentions. It is easier said then done, one may think, but with reflection on the problems greediness brings to the planet, society and every individual, it becomes easier to follow this advice.
There are various ways of reducing one’s wants of which one of the loveliest is the practice of Gratitude. This does not require a religious belief, only an acknowledgement of the fact that this universe provides great opportunities and much riches that are often taken for granted; this body, this mind, these friends, this grocery store, that book, etc. The universe provides all that is needed for one’s spiritual evolution into a realm of greater peace and contentment.
The daily practice of encountering our discontent with gratitude, our sense of lack with the openness to see the wondrous aspects of life even in the midst of daily struggles is a great way of transforming greed. The practice of living more simply and cheerfully will slowly transform society as well. The current human trajectory is unsustainable and will eventually lead to our planet’s demise. It is worthwhile to invest in this transformation; it will not happen overnight, but it is the correct path for humanity at this time and at this evolutionary stage.