Role of Money, Pleasure & Career in Spirituality
Money & Materialism on the Spiritual Path
Financial Security on the Spiritual Path
It is easy to get entangled in the endless pleasures of materialism. The propaganda machine of commercialism is a finely tuned, highly developed and very effective system for getting you to believe that to be happy you must buy, buy, buy and have more, more, more. Lately, even I was feeling it’s tentacles reaching closer and closer to me. So what did I do… I did what any courageous, highly evolved, intelligent person would do… I ran away :-D.
Yes literally. I did. This past weekend, we packed our bags and headed off to the mountain regions of Vernon New Jersey and hid from the octopus of society. I can tell you it was a huge blessing, and it helped me to hear once again the music of my heart and therefore, get back on the path which leads to the Great Silence.
In the article, It’s Wonderful, but Dangerous to Your Meditation Practice, I wrote about the risk that a vacation can pose to the consistency of a burgeoning meditation practice, but here I want to point out that a timely vacation, taken in the right spirit, can also be a valuable tool to help you clear your head and regain your inspiration. Which is how I now feel after our getaway and here is a little about my trip.
Our room provided a great view and as I sat, staring out at the quiet, rolling hills I could feel the tentacles of the man made world starting to recede. The more time I spent breathing in the cool, fresh mountain air, the more I felt myself being rejuvenated and purified, till soon I started to feel the freedom that the circling hawk was certainly enjoying as he soared high above the valley, riding invisible winds under a cloudless blue sky.
Below I want to share some of the clarity regarding materialism that this excursion into nature helped bring forth.
Money, Pleasure & Career in Spirituality
1. Role of Money:
In the article, Money Money Money Mantra and the Path to Enlightenment, I emphasized that the best use of money in life, was to help you buy leisure, which is essential for the self-study required for spiritual evolution. Whether money helps you be free of a daily monotonous job, or it helps you buy household help, or it helps you acquire technology to save you time, as long as it’s buying you time, it’s being well spent, assuming of course, that the time it buys you is being well spent :-).
Of course, if you have sacrificed all your leisure in order to chase more and more money, you need to take a vacation.
2. Material Pleasure:
I am not against material pleasures. The key with material pleasures and material acquisitions, is your detachment to them. If you can be just as happy and completely undisturbed when you lose your BMW convertible, then it means you are not attached to it and therefore, are not enslaved by it. This applies to all forms of pleasure you may be extracting from your possessions, including the intangible ones related to boosting your ego and self image. Go ahead and enjoy material goods, but don’t end up dependent and attached to them in any way.
This of course brings up other complex issues, such as living lavishly and excessively, while others may not even have the bare essentials, and this is a personal lifestyle choice which deserves your conscious attention and reflection.
3. Work & Security:
Here is one of the hardest and most difficult aspects of spiritual living. In the article, 4 Vital Keys for Developing Mastery in Anything, key number 4 was “Don’t Worry About Survival”. This is a highly debated and controversial concept. When I was in graduate school, my professor in Eastern Philosophy was a huge fan of J. Krishnamurti. The only point of his, which she struggled with was this concept of don’t worry about survival, life will take care of you somehow, just go after your passions. She said, he was rich most are not, perhaps, just perhaps he was being impractical.
This indeed is a hard one. For those of us with families and children, it is even harder :-). But at the end I have concluded that the Bible got it right, when it said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven, and all else shall be added onto you.” Of course, this does not mean you can just sit around pray and not act, but it does mean that you should not obsess and be driven exclusively by security and finances. Just the words, “I will not worry about income and money,” lifts a mountain off your chest.
Since having returned yesterday, I now find myself full of joy and happiness, relaxed with my life and simply enjoying the ease of being. So if you find yourself, on crossroads, or stressed by the pressures of the rat race, I strongly recommend a trip out into the wild, for reflection and introspection. In fact, I recommend time in nature everyday to keep you connected and balanced, as part of the 10 Things to do Daily for Enlightened Living. The one excuse you are not allowed to make in life is, “I didn’t know what I was doing”. If you don’t know what the hell you are doing, who does?
It’s great to have an “out of the box” thinker as yourself contribute here on Mastery of Meditation.
Very interesting view. I agree with the money = energy concept as well.
To Other Readers: You should definitely check out Chris’s absolutely excellent website on Spiritual Short Stories, and read some of the great stuff he has there. Some of my stories also have the honor of being a part of the collections Chris has put together. In addition to short stories, there are other goodies on that website as well for you to enjoy.
This is a really solid yet concise article that I think a lot of people will find value in. The quote below, I find most interesting about money:
I have had my own issues with this — with struggling about whether or not it was “okay” to receive money for following my passions. Slowly but surely, I’ve been understanding that everything is just the exchange of energy, and right now in our society money is that primary exchange.
However, the real challenge lies in the definition of “spending lavishly.” If we have issues with spending lavishly, then that is just another attachment the same as being attached to the BMW.
Many people don’t look at the other side of the coin. They don’t realize that just as it is possible to be attached to objects, it is equally possible to be attached to NOT having objects.
This is different than not being attached… being ambivalent so that whichever way life goes is fine.
For those who have trouble buying expensive things for them because of the complex issues it brings up such as guilt, I really recommend that at least once in their life they go out and buy something really expensive that they feel they shouldn’t buy (“shouldn’t” being in the eyes of the beholder).
That experience alone, along with the reminders it brings every day will be an invaluable learning lesson.
Thanks Anmol for the compliment about our t-shirts. We design them on organic cotton or bamboo and no one is taken advantage of making our shirts. We feel very positive about our messages of peace.
Your site is full of great information and inspiration,
Ah yes, our common dilemma. Btw: nice T-shirts on the peace-together website :-D.
Nice quote. Another motto that has kind of become a family mantra of ours though the generations is, “Simple Living and High Thinking”. Of course I had to run away to the mountains to be reminded :-D…
I very much appreciate your viewpoint. I long to have the leisure time to do my inner work but seem too caught up in trying to pay bills. I feel stuck and have been unable to break the cycle of work, bills, more work and little time to contemplate.
Thank you for the reminder of what is most important. My inner life longs to be explored.
I love this quote: A luxury once sampled has a tendency to become a necessity. I think Gandhi had the right idea when he said, “May I live simply that others may simply live.”
Thanks for participating and your thought provoking comments.
I provided the command that actually worked powerfully for me. I would ask others to find one that works for them, reflecting on your guidance as well.
General rules for affirmations from Yogic and Vedic philosophy has to do with rousing emotions when necessary (if positive emotions are suppressed) and diminishing emotions, when negative emotions are roused. More on this intriguing topic in the future…
Looking forward to your post as well Ben.
So much we can learn for nature, specially about giving unconditionally.
Thanks for sharing.
Yes, stop and reflect before we grow old and realize that all we did in life was chase, chase, chase and end up with nothing but junk.
Thanks for your insightful comments.
Nice Post! I take every chance I can to experience nature, but I also make it a point to experience people in a variety of situations as well… I want my awareness and acceptance to sink deeply into all aspects of my life…
This is a bit nit-picky, but the statement “I will not worry about Income and Money” contains the embedded command “worry about income and money”… I would encourage you toward something along the lines of “I let go of negative emotions around income and money” or “I focus on life and love” (or whatever else you might want to focus on).
The words we use to describe our desires and experiences tend to structure our reality… we are literally programming ourselves by the way we think and express our thoughts… It is important to clean up our language (“shit” is okay, but “can’t” and “never” tend to be problematic…;^)
I’ll post on this soon in my own blog.
I agree, time spent with nature, watching mountains covered with trees and snow, far far away, patches of clouds all over the sky, gentle cold breeze ruffling your face and hair, the whole experience leaves you happy, quiet, peaceful. They ask nothing of you, but only provide pure beauty and lovlely scenery.
How true this is, when we go after the material things in life it seems as though we need more and more and are never satisfied. We have to stop and reflect..