“…But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” -- Buddha
I am not feeling well. It is part of a much larger illness, really; a spiritual sickening. On the plus side, I have figured out why I am so affected. The last time I felt this poorly, I made choices that improved my health and happiness, bringing me into greater balance.
Wellness and healing rubbed off on those around me, so it is not surprising to find that a sickness can be just as contagious. The issue at hand is what we feel about ourselves, and we can only determine that through a combination of mindful thought and compassionate action. Finding better alignment with positive energies shared freely can highlight the opposite effect we experience when dealing with energies associated with being used, coerced, or paid.
It is a co-creative drive. Once we tap into it, life flows in such a way that everything else moves nicely. It is no secret that we are a part of this Source and that finding alignment with it is a natural part of who we are.
In times of difficult change, we are encouraged to seek out goodness. Compassionate service, that positive attitude and drive, keeps things going ‘no matter what.’ WE are the key that turns that engine. It is part of our nature and does not take a lot of artifice to bring into being. According to Buddha’s quotation, cited at the onset, a positive way to go is for us to live up to those things we agree are “conducive to the good and benefit of us all.” This can be quite a challenging standard to uphold, but we must try. A lot depends on it.
Money can be a very tender subject for many of us, especially since there is such an imbalance. Much is said about the perils and fears associated with not having enough of this ‘physical currency.’ However, today’s focus will be a mindful examination of the sickening psychology associated with its use.
Our own relationship with money-as-currency (whatever material form it takes) is as a substitute for our spiritual and compassionate involvement. We understand that if we are worried about famine relief in a foreign land, we can send some money. Want to support your local hospital but do not have time to volunteer? Send a little cash.
Many campaigns gladly take convenient, monthly payments. We may be generous enough to donate a few cents into a collection slot at the drive-through than bring that change home and save it. The spirit of giving is an important part of humanity.
Having looked at the plus side, this now brings us to the perils associated with money. Those lie with our perception and anxiety about ‘not having enough.’ We have plenty of spiritual energy that surrounds us and everything else. We need not ‘fear’ a lack of anything, yet we do. The Conundrum is such that we seek safety because we fear freedom. We seek order because we fear chaos.
The puzzling logic is also true when we view our monetary wealth. We understand that there is a lot of responsibility associated with any greatness we recognize in life. We understand the lesson that it is in giving that we receive. We even see that there is an imbalance that occurs--that responsibility encompasses the active sharing of what we have, as opposed to the miserly hording of whatever those gifts may be.
Buddha’s phrase, “…the good and benefit of one and all,” is a key we can use to unlock the chains of fear that many of us keep wrapped so tightly around our sharing spirit. It is not easy to open ourselves to sharing because it can be messy in comparison to the way we have been operating. If we consider ourselves as being well-educated in indulging our consuming nature, then it is a shift to the other side of the scale feeling secure as we give of ourselves and continue in that direction.
Each of us can examine the expectations associated with how much we consume. We can measure the level of greed that is all around us. We have been feeding the miser within for such a long time, over generations, that it will take some adjustment to switch into full-fledged giving mode and agree this is a way to go. The overwhelming frustration we feel when it is ‘impossible to give’ adds to the problem. It takes a leap of [spiritual] faith to stand on something that is unseen.
The giving spirit also means looking at what we have to offer, money aside, and how we can best help each other. It will require a level of trust in our selves and our shared abilities that many of us may call “ancient.” As we balance our sense of [in]security with that of the [un]known, our united wellness is elevated. The illnesses associated with individualization, such as saving up too much of something for a rainy day [future-based hording], and working “for” instead of “with” others [debt-based slavery], are mindsets of greed that must be examined now and reconciled.
So we are clear, such reconciliation does not mean we eliminate saving or the idea of working together--not at all. Examples would be those of practical necessity, such as when a family cans food or stockpiles firewood for the winter. Working together as a family or community group to accomplish something is an excellent example of joint energies gathering to get a task accomplished and generating forward momentum.
A united vision and drive does not fall to any one person, exclusively, any more than it would be for us to rely on one, individual penny to keep the world economy going. That said, it does take a lot of bravery for each of us to stand up and make a difference. We have little problem seeing that there are many important needs to fill, and not having [enough] of one particular type of currency is something that has to be overcome. How best to do that?
Taking the next step, beyond the limits of our money system, leads us to consider what is “…the good and benefit of one and all.” We see that a market will still be required in order to connect goods and services. With technology, we may be able to manage growth without as much greed. We may see that what we call the ‘art of salesmanship,’ persuading someone, however gently, to spend beyond his or her means…to manipulate their reciprocal and giving nature…can turn a positive action into a negative one very quickly. There is no fairness in greed.
Constant requests for support can be draining, and money is no longer the answer it once was. There are appeals everywhere we turn; multiple requests for assistance that we know we support in spirit because they are good, worthy, necessary, life-supporting causes. There is plenty of work to do that remains undone because ‘there is no profit in it.’ Yet, there are many hands waiting to do good work. There may be no tangible return on investment; yet it is still important.
The existence and growth of these ‘non-profit’ efforts are shortchanged. Many of us live the ‘pay-to-pay’ existence that it becomes our ‘day-to-day’ life. The idea of giving for ‘the good and benefit of one and all’ feels impossible when we are dealing with impossible measurements. This is what money has come to represent--an impossible measure of debt. At this point, it is a pathologic sickness; an imbalance personified.
It is time to turn this around. In reality, the wheel is already turning. All we need to do is get on board and agree to find new ways to accomplish growth that are of positive benefit to one and all. We are on the cusp, where our next steps are going to make a major difference in the way we live. Our compassionate acts already do make a difference, once we remove the greediness from our vision.
The Conundrum is inclusive enough that we realize it is not either/or, but both. Contrary to what people in certain places may ‘want’ us to believe, inclusion does not have to be about material greed or choosing to be spiritual to the exclusion of practicality. The balance we seek lies in the middle point. This is where we are: Welcome to the middle ground.
From here, we can see contrast with Buddha’s admonition: If something does not nourish the soul, let it go.
Where we go and what we do in this middle space of all possibility is up to us. We have allowed so much of the material world to grow. We must now learn to live ethically and cathartically. It is time to give from our heart space in healing ways. Let us choose our next steps with care and wisdom.
For our consideration. ~ Namaste ~ Blessings!
Kathy Custren is a mother of four, who strives for balance and has a deep respect for All. Interests include advocacy, the arts, communication, education, health, humanity's cosmic origins, nature, philosophy, spirituality and wellness. Visit her page "Consciousness Live" on Facebook, and her site at kathyc-mindblogger.blogspot.com.