It’s Tuesday morning and you’re stuck in traffic, worried about being late for another early meeting. Or perhaps you’re at home watching television, feeling lethargic, isolated and uninspired. Some say we who live in developed nations in North America and the United Kingdom, are the luckiest people on Earth. But there’s something to be learned from the way of life in spiritually enriched countries such as Nepal.
Although this small, South Asian nation has an incredibly high poverty rate (about half of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day), Nepal’s people are rich in ways. While they might not have running water in every house or SUVs parked in their driveways (most don’t even have driveways, for that matter), they find ways to enjoy life’s most simple pleasures.
Rather than battling traffic or shopping at the mall, most Nepalese spend quality time with their families and friends, planting gardens, meditating and enjoying a slower pace of life. They also welcome visitors from all over the world with open arms because according to Nepalese tradition, “Guest is God.” Their natural wonders such as Mount Everest are revered and preserved, and animals are treated with kindness and respect. Here are a few ways we can take cues from our Nepalese neighbors and find richness in our lives that doesn’t come from material possessions.
While many Nepalese can’t afford to buy fancy gifts for their friends and loved ones, they instead give of their time, helping their neighbors plant gardens, watching each other’s children and preparing simple but delicious dishes for the community to share.
Take it outdoors
Rather than holding meetings in a stuffy, fluorescently lit office, take it outside! While we may not be able to have meetings in the shadow of the spectacular, snow-capped Himalayan mountains as many do in the communities of Northern Nepal, we can sit in a park, take a walk around the block, and get our best ideas flowing while breathing in fresh air and getting some exercise.
We can take a lesson from this Hindu/Buddhist nation and spend time meditating rather than rushing around. Sitting quietly with yourself and tapping into the universal life force will leave you feeling uplifted and spiritually enriched rather than depleted of vital energy.
Take a page from the Nepalese’s book and eat food that’s grown and raised locally. Not only is it better for the environment, but it helps out your local economy and the food is fresher and has fewer pesticides, which is better for your health. You can even take it a step further and grow your own veggies or take part in a local community garden.
Feeling hesitant about throwing an elaborate holiday bash due to lack of funds, time, or both? Keep it simple, like they do in Nepal. Here, an entire village without electricity will throw a joyous festival with nothing more than a battery-powered boom box and some tasty morsels. So instead of taking it all upon yourself, ask friends to bring their favorite dishes, crank up the tunes and voila! Instant holiday cheer.
How do you create meaning in your life?