Austerity is letting my life become as simple as possible. Let me become as non-demanding a person as possible. Let my needs be as minimal as possible. Let my food and clothes become as simple as possible.
There is a principle or power called God, who is the creator of this world. Let there be recognition of God in my life. Let me remember the grace that I enjoy in life. The universe is created so as to provide for the needs of all creatures. When I look around, I find that the creator has done things out of care and concern. Whatever I needed in my life has been given to me. It is true that many of my desires are not fulfilled, but then many of my desires are fulfilled also. Very often I find that it is good that certain desires were not fulfilled because, if they had been fulfilled, I would have felt regret later on. If we look at our lives, we can find that we are enjoying the grace of the creator all the time. How wonderful is the functioning of the heart! If it stops functioning, life would be over. That is the grace. When we breathe, the breath goes out and comes in. When it goes out, but does not come back in, our life would be over. Thus we are enjoying the Lord’s grace all the time, when we breath, when we walk, etc. If I don’t get hit by anybody when I am crossing the street and reach my destination, it is due to grace. If I eat food and it gets digested, it is due to grace.
We will find that we are indeed enjoying a lot of grace in our lives. We must remember this with a sense of gratitude, “Thank you Lord, for all that you have given. Thank you also for having not given me a few things.” I do not know what will be, if all my desires were fulfilled. If they were, would I be happier? Is it not that a desire arises from a mind which has very little knowledge and very little understanding of life? Therefore, there is no certainty that just because my desire gets fulfilled, I will be happy. Many years ago, I went to an amusement park with some of my friends. The cost of the roller-coaster ride was $10 and there was a long line of people waiting. I was shocked that they were charging so much for a 2-minute ride. Finally, my turn came to go on the ride. We went up slowly and I was enjoying the scenery. But soon the ride picked up speed and we were being thrown downward. Those 2 minutes were the longest 2minutes of my life! I was being thrown this way and that way. I prayed for it to stop and was relieved when the 2 minutes were over. I wished I had not gone on that roller coaster ride!
Very often, we regret a desire, once it is fulfilled. Let us recognize that there is a universal intelligence which decides what is good for me and what is not. Therefore, this universal intelligence gives me only what is good for me and, in its wisdom, refrains from giving me all that I want. Do we always give our children whatever they want? When a child gets more than its share of candies, the mother stops giving it more and the child thinks that the mother is miserly despite having a box full of candies. Just as in a car there is an accelerator as well as a brake, sometimes our desires are fulfilled and sometimes they are not. In the same way, just because we love somebody, we do not do whatever they want. Sometimes we do what they want and sometimes we don’t. Let us give the universal wisdom the benefit of the doubt, as to why our desires are fulfilled and why they are not. Both are the grace of the Lord. Thus, if I have something, that is grace. And if I do not have something, that is also grace.