By: April Carson
"Seeking happiness in material things is a sure way of being unhappy." - Pope Francis
The pleasure derived from material terms such as money and comfort can be regarded as "Material Happiness." This material happiness is said to be transitory, implying that the pleasure obtained through it will not last.
The material world is, for many people, simply an area of dissatisfaction. There is more material available now than ever before and yet there are still those who go without the basics, or even feel that they need more from life. This material deficit can be best described as a 'spiritual poverty' - a division from what people really want out of life.
Author Richard Hill explained, "Spiritual poverty is material insufficiency. It doesn't mean you don't have material things, and it isn't to say that material things aren't important. But spiritual poverty is the separation between material and spiritual prosperity." The material world around us is ever evolving, materialism would suggest that the more materialistic we become, the more material poverty will decrease.
Material happiness is a materialistic pursuit that we all partake in, to some degree. We often take material things and materialism for granted and put them on a pedestal above spiritual pursuits. Spiritual poverty is the reason why many people want material happiness - material desires are just wants and needs necessary to fulfill spiritual poverty.
The presence of material things does not necessarily make you happy. That is a reality of life. It's sometimes difficult to comprehend, particularly in an atmosphere that strives so hard to persuade you otherwise. People are constantly told material happiness is the only form of happiness, however recent study has shown that materialism actually decreases well-being.
This materialistic approach to life results in material depression and unhappiness instead of true material happiness. Material depression can be seen when people rely on material objects for their own degree of well-being rather than spiritual enlightenment.
People with materialistic worldviews and material aspirations, tend to experience material depression when they do not achieve their material goals. This material-bound unhappiness is the result of a focus on materialism that has left unhappiness in its wake.
Material Happiness vs Spiritual Happiness
Material happiness is the material aspiration to achieve material happiness or material gain through material means. It can be achieved through monetary wealth or status, which, during the pursuit of it, may result in feelings of material success. Material happiness is often the goal of materialistic pursuits, which are material endeavors undertaken for material gains.
Spiritual happiness, on the other hand, is the attainment of spiritual enlightenment and positivity in spite of material considerations. Spiritual happiness can be achieved through materialistic work, materialistic leisure time activities, material success and material failure. It is the attainment of spiritual enlightenment and positivity despite material concerns or desires. It is a state of inner peace that has been achieved by freeing oneself from materialism.
So scientifically, material happiness is a materialistic pursuit that is undertaken in order to attain material gains, whereas spiritual happiness is a materialistic pursuit undertaken in order to attain spiritual enlightenment and positivity regardless of material considerations. When someone attains spiritual happiness, they have been freed from materialism.