I may one day have to live with nothing…or at least almost nothing. I may want for food someday, I may miss my loved ones someday, because of separation or death. I often imagine my life without some of the good things that I enjoy now. I even make an effort to deprive myself of things “on purpose” (most notably food, sweets) to more fully appreciate them.
However, I see no reason why I should live a deprived life, and I see no reason why it would make me more enlightened. I strive a to live a simple life, but I do enjoy some things that aren’t simple. Further, I see no reason to live the life of a monk or an ascetic. An ascetic deprives himself of things like food, water, clothes, etc., thinking that by not having worldly wants, then he will be closer to enlightenment, God, the oneness of the universe, etc.
Beyond a certain level, it seems that having more stuff doesn’t seem to make anyone more or less happy. OK, the studies are conflicting: click here.
In any case, it is the desire for stuff, I think, that gets us into happiness deficit. If my life revolves around getting more stuff, then I think that is when I would be disappointed, regardless of how much stuff I have. The trick is, how much is too much? I think ascetics try to make it black and white: All stuff leads to unhappiness! I think this is a cop out. Real life requires judgment of what is and is not moderation.