There is a certain spiritual writer whom I used to admire. He had a down to earth approach on how to live a spiritual life. After selling many books and earning a lot of money he decided that he could no longer be spiritual in the rat race any more so moved to a remote part of the world to live off his profits. And I thought – what a cop out!
There is a long tradition of using isolation to improve our spiritual connection. Monks would live in caves and people seeking the truth would become hermits. The Bible tells us that Jesus went into the wilderness to fast and seek the face of God.
Mostly these people lived in poverty, gave up any worldly possessions they had and their actions were seen as a sacrifice in order to gain in spiritual richness. They relied on the generosity of strangers or followers. However, that was in a world where money was not the foundation of society.
Today, attempting to live without money is impossible (unless you are doing it for a short period and writing a book about it or making a television programme). Removing such an embedded energy from our lives invites distrust, judgement and exclusion. Yes, you can use some of the barter systems that operate around the world. To a point. Or you can rely on the kindness of your family and friends. To a point. But, somebody somewhere has to be earning money to be able to bestow such generosity on you.
Of course, self sufficiency could work but land is expensive, especially here in the UK, which brings us back to money.
So, is the possibility of a spiritual life only for the wealthy? Once upon a time, when people retreated from the world to seek enlightenment, their isolation was seen as a sacrifice in return for spiritual richness.
These days, for those who have money and choose to retreat there is no sacrifice. So, is enlightenment not achieved? Is sacrifice the key rather than isolation?
After all, it’s easy to be spiritual and have good thoughts all the time in a world without difficulties and challenges but the true spiritual pioneers are making it work in this world: where money is the language we all use, where mortgages and bills have to be paid and we have to interact with each other throughout the mundanity of life.
If you can take all of that and still smile and be kind to people I salute you for overcoming the spiritual challenge of life in the 21st century.
Jackie Notman is a copywriter, feng shui consultant and e-commerce retailer. This article is from her blog ‘Life – and everything else’ where you’ll find an eclectic mix of articles and information.
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