The available history tells us that most of the spiritual masters were never concerned much about wealth. At their times, the competition for resources was less and people were not bothered much about their livelihoods. But nowadays, there is a race for grabbing resources and one has to earn for himself and his family with due consideration of unexpected events. My question is – Will accumulation of wealth or desire for more savings for any purpose become an obstacle in our spiritual progress? How to deal with it?
Thank you for your interesting question.
Our perception of wealth has changed in time. That spiritual master perhaps wasn’t concerned about having kids and paying bills, thus he did not need much to live by himself.
“History” has recorded male “spiritual masters” only. Very little is known about female counterparts, and that is because of the mindset at that time.
Therefore, it is safe to go with was is “now”.
Someone who is busy, who has a busy schedule of things to “do”, is not ripe yet for self-realization. Granted, that person may have a great intellect, he may have convincing ways, a great ability to speak/write spiritual things, etc. but unless you have plenty of time to be alone, by yourself and I mean PLENTY; your time hasn’t arrived yet.
By hearing this many may decide to quit their jobs and live in a cave someplace by themselves. That is very silly. That is the way many religious followers have interpreted to be the “right” path to enlightenment. To DO this is artificial.
Life and not a religion, a belief or a desire will put you there when you ARE ready.
Our minds have been conditioned to be greedy. Competition is out there as a way of Life. That is the air around the “office world.” Thus, greed increases and the desire to accumulate for tomorrow is always there. The same ideal is extrapolated in “spirituality”. Be greedy about Paradise. Your wealth in this world is not eternal. Make sure that you accumulate eternal things. Donate your wealth now to build a temple or a church so you accumulate points with God in the afterlife. People will call that as “helping others”, they may even label you as a saint; but truly is about your greed in obtaining Paradise.
There is nothing wrong if someone has wealth or if your job or any legal activity will bring you wealth. The problem is the mind. The constant desire to accumulate, (greed) that is the issue. The mind is set in the future. You “need” a boat, a mansion, 7 cars for each day of the week, 7 kids, 5 pets and 2 wives.
You’ve got those? Good! Now maintain them. Make sure the wealth flow is there, for someone can take it away from you, and your acquisitions will be gone. You will be “nothing” without them. Thus, ego will fiercely protect those assets.
That person is not ready for self-realization. He is too busy with things to take care of. Although he may read spiritual “bestseller” books and listen to Guru’s classes. He may have quitted his addiction to tobacco thanks to the local priest, thus he has “improved” his spirituality, in his view.
“Spiritual progress” has nothing to do with DOING or HAVING. It is about BEING.
That BEING is openness through inner acceptance of the different scenes that Life will show us. You can DO what you want to DO in Life. You can HAVE everything you can imagine in Life. What you ARE will change through those experiences.
Embrace the ideal of being “good” and you are doomed to be “bad”.
Embrace the ideal of rejecting greed and you will never know generosity.
Accept that you are greed through your own observation and you will have the opportunity to go beyond it. Not by denying that you shouldn’t accumulate things or that you shouldn’t DO certain actions, but by BEING AWARE that your mind is running the show in your Life through an ideal, through conditioning; that is how freedom from the duality of greed/generosity will appear and what you ARE will no longer be driven by moral standards of what to DO, but you will notice that you ARE already what your mind is pushing you to DO artificially through fear and conditioning. You ARE “spiritual” already. Just allow the layers of conditioning to go by being aware of them.
Spiritual “improvement” is not driven by externalities. It is not driven by embracing/rejecting dualistic concepts such as greed/ generosity. It is driven by AWARENESS and CAPACITY to go beyond the “reality” of duality through complete acceptance of it.
This is to be “REAL” in the “now” and not to be caught up with ideals, beliefs, concepts and conditioned morality.
The above is known as Tantra. Thus, it will be misinterpreted. Some may say:” Tantra says that if you are greedy, that is OK… if you are bad, that is fine. Embrace it.” They forget the AWARENESS deal. They have not experienced what is AWARENESS; for if they had; none of the dualities could be an issue, a “problem” for them. They wouldn’t be asking questions such as: How do I conquer greed? How do I become generous? and all of that… but if they do ask those questions, then tell them: Greed is bad. Generosity is good. “Practice” Generosity. Have a distaste for greed. That… they can understand, although those words are completely senseless once we know that we cannot embrace one side of a coin and get rid of the other, without destroying the coin. 🙂