I was listening to the song “Money” by Pink Floyd the other day, when I got to thinking about money and spirituality. Money is on everybody’s mind these days, with the plummeting economy and the rate of unemployment, it’s difficult not to be focusing on money.
It’s very easy to be spiritual when you have an abundance of money in your bank account and you don’t have to worry about buying the necessities. It’s a lot harder to focus on spirituality when you are working sixteen hours a day just to be able to buy groceries for the week, pay the mortgage, or buy your kids new shoes. Money becomes your priority at this point.
Nowadays it seems that most religions are teaching that you can have it all. God (the Source) wants you to have Abundance! And if you don’t have abundance then you’re not keeping your mind focused on positive wealthy thoughts. This modern approach to money and spirituality is a lot different then the teachings of the Great Masters.
I find this concept interesting because all of the Great Masters from Jesus to Buddha have seen that earthly wealth as a desire and attachment are detrimental to spiritual growth.
So who is right?
Modern teachings such as, “The Secret” or the Great Masters vary greatly. Within a strictly limited sense both are right. However the balance is extremely hard to maintain.
Given that the Universe and the Source that created it are abundant, it appears correct that you should have the right to expansion and wealth.
Whatever we focus our minds upon, for good or bad, always expands. This is one of the fundamental laws of life.
No matter what anyone tells you to the contrary, making money is hard. It does not come easy to most people. Moreover, making a LOT of money is VERY hard and takes a tremendous level of concentrated focus. It also requires a commitment that is primarily devoted to the outer material world.
Here lies the apparent conflict. The truth is that powerful spiritual development ALSO requires a tremendous level of focus and commitment. It is not a part-time activity either. Moreover, the focus is primarily INTERNAL. It is not that money is intrinsically evil: rather, the accumulation of it is a major distraction because of the level of focus it requires.
Whatever you focus upon expands. If you set your mind upon the external world, this will assume increasing importance in your life. Spiritual growth will increasingly become a hobby or something to be crammed into your spare time. If you vigorously dispute this, ask yourself the following questions.
Do you make sure you get three meals a day?
Do you also make sure that you meditate (or pray) three times a day for the same amount of time?
Do you see the point and the problem? Whatever is most important to you is what you spend most of your time doing and thinking about. This is why most spiritual traditions advise against the external focus, which the pursuit of material wealth requires. Although this does not always apply. Notice there’s often a lot of contradictions with spirituality and money. Take for example Bill Gates and Warren Buffett billionaires who have given away most of their fortune to help others. They realized that having great wealth was theirs to share and not hoard. This is the true balance that we can strive for.
Happily, there can be a satisfactory resolution to this. The first principle is that if you make the spiritual path your primary focus, then you will eventually master laws of the universe that will ensure your abundance forever. If you can truly tune yourself to the ultimate Source of all abundance in the universe, then how can you remain poor in any sense?
The second principal is: Decide from the outset what your true life purpose and priority is. Then determine never to let that balance between spiritual commitment and external effort be undermined. When we work upon an external goal – particularly financial abundance – it is easy to allow that goal to consume an increasing amount of time and mental capacity.
It is possible to be financially abundant while following a spiritual path. However, it is difficult – much more so than most modern development gurus would have you believe. It is for this reason that the great Spiritual Masters strongly discouraged trying to do both.
Moreover, there is no right or wrong. What are one person’s thoughts are another’s illusions. What is right for one person does not fit for another. When we place value, we give it substance. For a monk who has spent all or most of his life as a recluse will have very little in the material sense. However, the value that he places on his meager possessions will give him a feeling of having great abundance. By contrast, the entrepreneur who has spent a lot of his or her life building an empire could very well feel a sense of lack, simply because of the value he or she puts on the material aspects of his or her creation and possibly his or herself. It’s down to value and that can only come from you. No two people are alike.
The spiritual aspects of this are determined by how you perceive the world and apply yourself and the material things which are at your disposal. Your intellect (or ego) is the only barrier to achieving greater things and when you begin to understand that you are simply a part of everything, value plays little or no part in your life. This is when you can begin to realize who you are and what you are about. Now your sixth sense clicks into gear and before you know it, you are on the road to progress. Now that’s having abundance
Money by Pink Floyd – From the album “Dark Side Of The Moon”
Money, get away
Get a good job with more pay and your O.K.
Money it’s a gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I’ll buy me a football team
Money get back
I’m all right Jack keep your hands off my stack.
Money it’s a hit
Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit
I’m in the hi-fidelity first class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet
Money it’s a crime
Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie
Money so they say
Is the root of all evil today
But if you ask for a rise it’s no surprise that they’re
giving none away