Guest blog by Matt Curtis

The traditional toast is to ‘health, wealth and happiness’. But what is ‘wealth’ in today’s modern times?

Go onto any internet image search engine and type in ‘wealth’ and all you will see are pictures of bank notes, coins and bullion bars. This is what we have been told wealth is all about. But wealth comes from the old English ‘to be well’ and the concept of wealth was discussed in ancient Greece long before the introduction of money.

My name’s Matt and I am a very ‘wealthy’ 40 year old. My bank manager might not agree with that, but here’s why I think it’s true!

So how am I so wealthy or well off? I have my health and two beautiful, healthy daughters. I have the support of people around me, who like and love me. I have good relationships with those I interact with on a daily basis, and have loving friendships with people down the road, across the country or in other parts of the world. I also have a close, loving family. What makes me feel particularly wealthy is that I am content with what I am and what I have, without the anguish of desire.

I once had a friend who was so obsessed with material things (what I call ‘stuff’) and with money, that he never appreciated what he really had. He was so focused on money and image that labels like Prada or cars such as TVRs were a must. He didn’t really appreciate that his wealth lay elsewhere  – as in his beautiful loving wife and children, rather than the pounds in the bank.

There’s a quote sometimes attributed to his Holiness, The Dalai Lama, although it may actually be by the poet James J. Lachard. When asked what surprised him most about humanity, he answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, then dies having never really lived.”

It’s like success. Success feels amazing. There’s no doubt that Richard Branson is successful in his wealth and for all I know his happiness. But if you are content and happy in your life as it is, then I think you are just as successful and just as wealthy. That’s when you no longer measure wealth in terms of stuff, but in terms of wellbeing. And whilst the amount of love and happiness you can have in your life is infinite, the amount of money and stuff is not.

So I raise a new toast to ‘physical wealth, mental wealth and spiritual wealth’

Namasté my friends.