Sometimes I read to help me go to sleep. When I run out of real books, I turn to ebooks on my phone. The free ones, because I’m cheap like that. I’ll look up free personal finance books, free classics, free autobiographies, free anything that piques my interest. Included in this are books on spirituality.
A Christian Quote on Universal Spirituality
Recently, I downloaded The Road to Armageddon: A Free Spiritual Guide. The author isn’t really clear. Apparently it’s a transcript to some type of documentary. It’s edited by Chuck Facas. To be honest, it’s not very well-written (probably because it’s a transcript.) It’s hard to read and it has references to parts of a documentary I’m not really sure how to find. But despite the rambling nature and awful grammar, it’s struck me.
It has a decidedly Christian undertone, but notes that while the reference are largely Christian, many of the actual points are relatable to almost any religion/spiritual orientation. While I haven’t finished the book, so far I’ve found that to be true. There was one section I really wanted to share with everyone:
“What the forces of darkness want us to do is spend our life trying to grab for all the gusto that we can get –to get stuff–and to get things–and to treat people like things…There really is a purpose for us being here – and the purpose is not to live a worldly life, be successful and all this stuff. The purpose has to do with this purification process that God” (or whatever power you consider to be holy) “sent us to the mortal realms to overcome–but if you think about how brilliant this is of the dark side..if the dark side can get us to focus entirely on worldly things and waste our time – works for him, doesn’t it? Because we waste an entire lifetime and accomplish nothing.”
This is not something I’ve never heard before. In fact, I’ve heard this exact point put more eloquently. I think a lot of us have. But for some reason at this time this rambling paragraph really hit a chord with me.
Do finances get in the way of our higher purpose?
Sometimes I think I need to recenter myself on what a better life means. Yes, it would be nice to set ourselves up so we never had to worry about money. Yes, it would be nice to be able to give back monetarily in amounts that would give us a reason to itemize and not take our standard tax deduction. Yes, it will be nice to see the fruit of all our hard work.
But Jesus loved and lived amongst the poor. Mohammed, too, as far as I understand it was not a financially rich man. Moses had to first give up a life as a prince before he could fulfill his true destiny as a spiritual leader in the wilderness. Buddha reached Nirvana under a tree, not in a mansion. If we’re reincarnated no amount of money is going to help us get out of that purification cycle and away from earthly suffering.
I don’t know if the answer is to be poor. I know it’s easier to be financially poor and spiritually wealthy. Almost all scripture I’m familiar with says so.
What I do know is that it’s important that we don’t waste our lives seeking after riches and forgetting everything else. Your net worth will be absolutely worthless when you get to whatever life you believe comes next. The metric that will be important is how much love you demonstrated. How much selflessness. How much empathy. How much compassion.
Even humanists, who generally don’t acknowledge anything beyond the world as we currently, scientifically understand it, do acknowledge that treating others well is a fundamental purpose for being.
Even if you’re not doing it to get let into some type of pearly gates that you don’t believe in, life is fuller when we seek personal growth and love.
Ambition as a Four Letter Word
Money can sometimes get in the way of that personal growth. That empathy. Our focus on treating others like human beings who have struggles and emotions just like we do.
Ambition has only recently become not a dirty word. Among other reasons for this old attribution, ambition can be synonymous with selfishness, pride, and a willingness to do whatever we have to in order to achieve what we believe to be “worldly” success, even if we have to do something on the other side of “good.”
Don’t believe me? There’s a monologue in Macbeth you should read for Shakespeare’s hot take on the word.
I’m not going to stop working on my financial goals. But there is a possibility that sometimes I need to put them in perspective. Considering how little finances matter to my soul, or even considering how much they can be a detriment to it, am I focusing on the right things?
Do I show enough love to those around me?
Do I pray/meditate/whatever you want to call it in order to center myself each day?
The answer to both is I could do more. And I recognize from past experience that focusing more on these things and less on the size of my paycheck or the items that need to be ticked off my never-ending to-do list makes me happier, gives me greater peace.
I don’t even have to wait for the next life. I can feel it here and now.
Thoughts? This topic and reflection is far outside the norm around here, and I’m interested in what you have to say.