“Well first of all, tell me, is there some society you know of that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? –Milton Friedman
Economic systems of the world have greed as their main engine, no matter what ideal or philosophy they represent, for greed is within most humans at this time. Therefore, greed is the kernel, the cause behind every motivation to “succeed” in economic systems. As long as there is greed, there will be division: China, Russia, USA, etc. are merely mental divisions with non existent borders but with all the limitations that man has made. A human being is the same species on Earth, but our minds have used all sorts of divisions to create the “me against you” paradigm. Friedman asks ‘what is greed?’ With all the degrees, intellectual studies and science in existence, the basic engine of the economy hasn’t been studied yet. Greed is the division of rich and poor. Greed is the existence of hunger in the world. Greed is the pollution of the Earth. Greed is the need to compete with another to accumulate wealth, power and status. Through that greed all that really matters is ‘I,’ and then my group; known as ‘we’ against the rest. Greed is that compulsive need to conquer and make everyone subservient of self created interests.
Isn’t human history made mostly of human greed? History of the World may be covered with pretty words and colorful stories but nonetheless, there is human greed behind it. It is in the acknowledgment and personal observation of greed, how we could find that the common good is mostly missing in our stories to become “someone” in life.
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” –Henry David Thoreau
When that capacity to fully experience Life is missing, then fear and greed arrive. Most humans have created a mental barrier, that is a comfort zone which is unable to accept change. Life being change in itself is denied. Our quest for security arrives and we close the doors to anything our minds recognize as losing the status quo. The full experience of Life is the experience of duality. When we have that capacity to ‘go with the flow’ in the river of Life, then we will be prepared to experience the ups and downs of the journey as interesting and challenging episodes, rather than traumas and mental tantrums made whenever Life goes the opposite way of our desires or hopes. It is in that ability to experience Life in its whole range, how wisdom appears and; there is no greater wealth than that.
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” –Albert Einstein
In the world created by the mind, we have the tendency to count everything:We count the number of paper money we have as sign of wealth, we count the possessions we have, we count the number of birds in a flying formation, we count how many times we have sex or how many times we can ejaculate or have an orgasm. Those statistics are meaningful in most minds to compare with another and demonstrate how much better or worse off they are. But those things may not count. However, happiness, peace and joy are feelings which count in our experience of a fulfilling Life regardless of everything else that we could mentally count, but yet; we cannot count those feelings.
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. 🙂
The mind says: “ if “my free will” is rubbish, then I am predestined, I am a puppet of destiny… That is sad!!”
🙂 That “I” does not exist. Who is predestined then?
Until you realize and experience, “No-I” you cannot possibly understand anything but “I.”
“I am God. I am a son of God. I am an angel. I am wealthy. I am beautiful. I am ….” That makes up your society, your religion, your language, your ideology.
Some readers send their questions, but they cannot understand that the writer “avyakt7” does not exist anymore. Ahnanda cannot answer those questions, for those questions are set up for a particular answer in a particular consciousness.
For instance, someone asked about the relationship of beauty and lust and then the difference between lust and greed. “I want to know” the reader said.
Your consciousness is caught up with language. It will not do anything to you, to know the difference or relationship of 2 words. See those things in yourself. Understand them in yourself. Let go of your mind’s talk to observe.
For some readers, lust is something ugly, something ”bad.”
For some, lust is something to avoid, to reject, to repress.
However the same energy of lust, is the one transforming into compassion (good feelings and good wishes) like day transforms into night.
Some want to have day at all times and reject night. That is called an ideal. Ideals are illusions.
John is lustful with a woman. Is that lust going away if John decides to change his “behavior”? Is that lust going away if John represses his lust? If he knows the difference between lust and greed or the relationship of lust and beauty?
Everything John DOES will be a cover up.
Observe it. Become aware of it in the moment that it appears. This is not a mental: “Aha! This is lust… I will observe it!” That will not work, that is the mind. To observe means to feel everything without trying to escape, without trying to act on it, without judgment or labeling. Experience the triggers, experience how it appears… and how it disappears. But most don’t experience that because there is rejection and guilt in them. Then it stays stuck, it becomes a trauma.
Learn to let go. If we learn to control, we cannot observe.
Some minds will only keep one side of the coin as the “good one,” but yet a coin needs both sides to be a coin.
Get out of the mind, the labels, the judgments and merely observe, be aware of the continuous change, be empty.
It is that emptiness what some call love, others compassion, others God and yet others… are afraid of it. Different perceptions. Different stories. 🙂
Thank you for your question.
A vice is not like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle that we can get rid of. Any vice is just a manifestation of Ego in different forms. Lust and anger in their gross ways are highly visible. The same with greed, but then the “subtle threads” appear. Those are connections with those more obvious vices. Those connections when they are reinforced, they trigger the “old” vices.
For example, I want to become egoless. That wanting “rejects” ego; therefore, I become a “double actor,” and start acting “humble” (in my perception of what is humble.) My act is convincing to others, but then “I” write this superb article. I believe that to be “me” writing. I believe to be a great writer. I may not say it or express it, but that is my belief.
That means that my ego will increase without me noticing it due to my belief and my humble act will change its quality as well. Ego will be noticeable to others in the expressions that I use while I write. I will not realize it.
My belief in “being extraordinary” triggered ego which I thought went away due to my humble act.
Here is when Baba talks about “checking and changing.”
However, ego is not “bad,” it just shows us that we need to transform.
That transformation will happen gradually through yoga (as we know) and the experience of “void,” “inner silence,” or being “a-temporal.” Those experiences will make us aware of the vices as if something does not feel right. When we reach this point in our “effort making” life, there is no need to “double act,” as pretending to be “virtuous.”
That transformation needs to be deep to stay. Otherwise, we will feel changes (old vices coming back) when the atmosphere changes around us (for example around the company of certain individuals or particular places or because our inner state has some fluctuation i.e. Feeling overly emotional) as long as our sensitivity/awareness is awake, we will notice those changes; otherwise, because we are still half-awake, we will get influenced.
Therefore, the best way to finish the vices is to increase our awareness through the experience of what is known as inner silence, emptiness or void, or just the experience of the soul. That will come as long as we do not reject something in us, but when we fully accept it.
Because Baba has said that good wishes and pure feelings are necessary to have yoga/ silence. The mind will not remain still if there is a rejection, a “something to get rid of” type of thought in ourselves.
Thank you for your question.
When you have reached the state where material items do not mean anything to you (you are not dependent on them) then you do not need to “renounce” anything. You are just using them for the sake of it, to make your life easier.
When we apply the teachings of the Murli, we need to apply those seeing the “spirit” of the teachings and not taking those literally, for otherwise, will be out of context.
Renunciation is important in the Brahmin life when you follow the Maryadas. After that, you are dealing with attachment and greed, which are vices.
In devotion this “renouncing” game has been used by some religious groups. I believe one branch of Sikhism go around naked, because they have “renounced” everything. The idea is to be like King Janak, even though he had a kingdom, he wasn’t attached to it.