Good fortune, known as ‘fook’ in Chinese, has many connotations. It is not simply a statement about financial wealth. Clients to my gallery who purchase calligraphy are usually tempted by the ’Good Fortune’, interpreting it as a symbol of financial gain. Yet fortune can be reaped through peaceful sleep, good food, great health and a simplistic lifestyle.
The Chinese have a saying: “ When you can eat and sleep it is good fortune”. A millionaire envied by many may be unhappy, depressed or not in good health. In this state it is unlikely he would enjoy even the most expensive or exquisite meal in the world. As the Chinese saying expresses, ‘ even “ Dragon Meat ” loses its potent flavour and taste when this happens’. Miserable, it is unlikely he will sleep well, if at all!
In comparison, an ordinary man who is content in life may devour and cherish the simplest meal he can afford. With standard hopes of increased gain, his sleep is likely to be sweet and trouble free.
Having your health is a sign of good fortune. There are days when I feel really invigorated and energized, especially after I have spent time at the gym. On the way home,I will sing to myself, feel the steering wheel in my hands, watch the road ahead and appreciate how fortunate I am to feel so healthy.
We take a lot for granted, especially our five senses. If we were to be deprived of our sight, smell, taste, sound or touch, we would feel lost – and lose one more means of appreciating our world.
When people fall victim to terrible illnesses such as cancer, all the treasures and wealth in the world amount to little. Good fortune at a time like this comes in the form of renewed health, even if just for a short period. Sadly, it often does take a shock or tragedy for people to realise that their fortune is not made simply by financial gain. Indeed many find that the desire for monetary fortune can in itself cause misery. Many get worked up, stressed, and have bitter disagreements with their partners over money. Quite simply, “ any problem that money can solve is not a problem. It is a problem only when it is a matter of life and death.”
Being an ordinary person, and being comfortable with yourself and your life shows respect for your good fortune. Years ago I visited my brother, Gallen, in San Francisco. He took me for a tour of an opulent neighborhood where I was in awe of a sprawling mansion with lush gardens. It was a celebrity’s home, and I exclaimed how beautiful it must be inside. Surprisingly, my brother responded, ‘There is no doubt about that. However, there is hardly any love or tenderness behind those walls either.’ I was staggered and wondered what the point of all that wealth is if you are unhappy. It was ironic.
Having more or less money is unimportant. The important factor is to be comfortable with what you have. Many are happy when their basic needs are met: a steady income; a comfortable home; happy children; and some savings set aside. Dreams of upgrading cars, TV’s or computers can be realistic aims. You can live an ‘ordinary’ life, rather than a luxurious one and possess an incredible peace of mind. There is nothing wrong with this!
You may not have the freedom to spend the way the very wealthy do. Yet you may possess a peace of mind that your richer friends envy. If you can interpret ‘being ordinary’ as a blessing then you will see your own ‘good fortune’.
This is my own philosophical mix, cemented with the Asian values instilled in me by my parent. There is always room for debate, but this premise works for me.
I hope this helps you too, in your quest for true personal “Good Fortune”.