In Tibetan the word for body is lü (ལུས༏), which means “something you leave behind,” like baggage. Each time we say “lü,” it reminds us that we are only travelers, taking temporary refuge in this life and this body. So in Tibet people did not distract themselves by spending all their time trying to make their external circumstances more comfortable. They were satisfied if they had enough to eat, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their heads. Going on as we do, obsessively trying to improve our conditions, can become an end in itself and a pointless distraction. Would anyone in their right mind think of fastidiously redecorating their hotel room every time they booked into one?
I love this piece of advice from Patrul Rinpoche:
Remember the example of an old cow,
She’s content to sleep in a barn.
You have to eat, sleep, and shit –
Beyond that is none of your business.
– Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book Of Living & Dying.