The general belief amongst spiritual types is that money is evil, money is bad.
They try to lead simple lives, and have been told again and again and again that running after the materialistic world is the cause of their problems.
This leads to a feeling that being poor is more spiritual, and even better, one should become a monk, living frugally. Is there any truth to this? Can one be both spiritual and rich / well off?
This is one of the things that has caused a lot of has caused a lot of harm in spiritual students.
While it is true that attachment to the material world is the cause of most of your problems, the solution is not running away from the world.
There is such a thing as negative attraction to wealth, sex, and all other things the spiritual types run away from. It is called Negative Attraction because they are constantly thinking of the thing they are trying to avoid (sex, money, food etc).
It’s like the Buddhist tale. 2 monks had taken a vow of celibacy, including not even touching a woman.
Once, they were crossing a flooded river, when an old woman begged them to help her cross as well. She said she was weak and had to reach her village, as her grandchildren were all alone.
The first monk ignored her, but the second one lifted her and took her across.
The two monks then walked another three days till they reached the monastery. As soon as they did so, the first monk ran in to the head monk and complained the second one had touched a woman.
“Brother”, said the second monk, “I left that woman three days ago, and you have still been carrying her in your head.”
Let’s get one thing right: Whether you run towards money or away from it, there is no difference spiritually.
Whether you are obsessed with sex, or force yourself into abstinence, there is no difference spiritually.
There is nothing spiritual about being a millionaire or a beggar. One can be as, or more, spiritual than the other.
When most people think the material world is evil, they are in a state of negative attraction to it. They are still obsessed by the world, except now they can pretend they are spiritual.
You can enjoy money, sex, big houses and big cars; there is no harm and nothing unspiritual about them.
But enjoy it with the feeling that it is a gift; all these things do not belong to you, but have merely been lent to you for a small time. Enjoy them while they last, and wave them goodbye when they are gone.
Do not cry for money, but don’t hate people who have it. You must have a sense of gratitude and respect for the material world. You live in this world, so you must honour it. Honour your body, honour the natural world, the trees, the grass, the sky, the clouds. But also honour the fleeting pleasures of life, like money, beauty and other outer pleasures.
These outer material pleasures will not give you ever lasting happiness, but then they are not supposed to.
I heard this from Eckhart Tolle: If the whole world was green, the word green would have no meaning. We only know green because of the contrast in colours.
Similarly, we can only know of the infinite, the Deathless, the Divine, because it contrasts with the fleeting momentary pleasures of this life.
You must remember your essence as the undying, as the infinite, as the Being that lives beyond Time and Space.
At the same time, you must accept the Being is trying to manifest through this body at this point in time and space.
To insult the material world, to treat it as dirty or unholy or unspiritual is to insult the Divine that is trying to flower, to manifest thru the material world.
As the Upanishad says:
They go to a dark place who worship ignorance, But a darker hell waits for those who worship the Light
(My own translation, from memory).
Most people are stuck in the material world, and think there is nothing beyond what they can see with their senses.
Some people go beyond the manifest world, but then get stuck in the Spiritual world. They get stuck in heaven, as it were.
NO Charlie, Money isn’t Evil
And let me take a side track: This is not a Money can’t make you happy rant. Because Money DOES make you happy, no matter what the hippies said.
Money can solve 80% of your problems, at least in the material world. The other 20% can be solved by being a good person and growing up (as the 2nd most common problems materially are to do with relationships).
Money fixes most of your material problems, but not your spiritual problems.
But you know what?
It is EASIER to sit down and meditate when you don’t have to worry about meeting rent, or when you don’t have to cancel a holiday to meet the doctor’s bill. Money is FUCKIN’ AWESOME and don’t let any lah-di-dah I’m so spiritual type tell you otherwise.
Money doesn’t heal your spiritual pain, but it does give you the freedom to pursue your spiritual goals. And as I found out, it gives you clarity of vision, because once you are comfortably well off (NOT necessarily rich, just well off), you can start to realise that your problems come from the inside, and that’s where they must be faced.
- It is not money but the lust for money that is bad
- Make sure you don’t replace a lust of money with a disgust (negative attraction) of money
- The material world is how the Divine expresses itself; so a hatred towards the world is a hatred towards the Universal Intelligence