Spiritual Essays #52

Materialism and Spirituality, The Two Paths of Life

Wealth and Enjoyment

by Jayaram V

Two Paths of Life – Materialism vs. Spirituality – Audio

There are two basic approaches to life. Both are well known and historically important. Since the earliest times, people have tested both and left behind a great repository of knowledge about their value and importance in securing our lives and minimizing our suffering.

Both approaches are meant to shield us from the worries and anxieties of life created by the impermanence and uncertainty, and ensure our happiness, peace and Wellbeing. However, they adapt different methods and techniques to achieve this supreme goal. Empires have come and gone. The world has changed tremendously, since the earliest cattle rearing nomads looked to the heavens and prayed to their ancestors. We do still have the two basic approaches I have just mentioned. There are developments and advances within each stream of thought, but the approaches are two only.

There are those who want to control and those who want to surrender, those who resist the unpleasant and those who embrace the unpleasant, those who are motivated by attraction and aversion and those who are motivated by nothing and accept the duality with sameness. These are the fundamental differences between the materialists who believe in the attainment of happiness here and now through the gratification of the senses and the fulfillment of desires, and the spiritual seekers who believe in attaining peace through renunciation of senses, choice, control, attachment, and desires and choose to live unconditionally. These are fundamental differences, and you can choose only one.

There are many people who want to dabble with both because they believe that they can get the best of both. However, common sense suggests that it is simply not possible. If you think otherwise, please think again. Consider this. Do you truly believe that you can walk on two paths at a time or ride horses at a time.

To decide which one is good for you , you should know where your mind is and what you want to achieve in life. You find a meeting ground between the two, a sort of reconciliation, in many religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, and even in Islam and Christianity, where you have an option to remain a lay practitioner, until you are ready for the final journey.

However, in the end you have to choose one of the two. Hinduism suggests that if you go by the path of the materialists, you will return to the earth repeatedly, because you have not yet overcome your attachment to worldly life. To seek a permanent escape from rebirth, you have to travel by the path suggested by the ancient seers to reach the eternal heaven from where you will never return.

To know which path is good for you, you need to know how they are different and what implications they have for your life and destiny. A materialist wants to change the present for a better future. A spiritual person makes peace with the present and learns to live in the present. A materialist wants to deal with the unpleasantness of his life with an intelligent and self-willed effort. He strives hard to secure happiness in this world, by creating conditions within himself and in his environment which has proven to be effective in the past. He goes by his experience and relies upon his strengths and abilities to make himself immune to the uncertainties of life.

A Spiritual person knows the consequences of choosing and controlling his life and destiny. He accepts the unpleasantness of his life as an opportunity to learn about himself and expand his awareness. He embraces the dualities of life without choice, desire and attachment. He opens himself to life and its innumerable opportunities and threats, secure in the knowledge that the world does not necessarily comfort those who seek comfort and offer security to those who want to be secure. Therefore, for him true control is having control upon himself, his actions and reactions.

*****

Mayn God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Nightly Spiritual Quote #3 Rosicrucian

“Whenever we talk about darkness and light, the terms seem so abstract that many consider the answers to be found in meditation and yoga, but I’m here to tell you that the answers are in the books you will never read, waiting all your life in the libraries you ignored and the bookstores you didn’t visit. I’m here to tell you as well that you are your own Satan and evil can’t possibly interfere more in your life than what you’re already doing to yourself by remaining ignorant. Until you choose the light, darkness is your personal choice, and there’s no reason to feel any empathy for you.”
― Robin Sacredfire

Peace

Seth Kelly Curtis

Spiritual Teachings #20 Jewish

JOY IS A CENTRAL THEME IN THE FESTIVAL OF SUCCOT. THE TORAH stresses the idea that during this festival we should rejoice1. The Mishnah2 and Talmud describe great all-night celebrations in the Temple, brightly lit by massive oil lamps, in which huge crowds of men and women would gather and the leading Sages of the time would dance. 

For the down-to-earth people of our generation, this might be rather a difficult idea to accommodate. To a great extent we base our lives on rational structures, even in our relationship with G-d. A favourite motto of Chabad is “the mind rules the heart”3. Time and again we see that euphoria is highly dangerous. So how are we to understand the concept of joy on Succot?

Joy is defined by the Sages as psychologically going beyond limitations. The fact of finite existence in a world of materialism and often of pain and even evil presents harsh limitations to the soul, the inwardness of the Jew. The soul seeks G-dliness and holiness – but these qualities are generally concealed.

The soul is trapped in this very limiting situation. In fact, through the ages the elite of humanity as a whole have been aware of this problem. Much of the world’s art concerns this existential trap and the effort to transcend it.

The Torah and its Commandments provide us with a path to transform the situation, not only for us, the Jewish people, but for the whole of humanity. G-d created the world with the potential to be changed into something higher: still physical, still “this world”, but now an expression of the holy, something intrinsically Divine.

On Rosh Hashanah we recognise G-d the Infinite as our King; the hundred blasts of the Shofar are represented by the word Sechach, the leafy covering of the Succah, which has the numerical value of 1004.  The spiritual covering and atmosphere of the Succah is also seen as representing the cloud of fragrant incense which the High Priest offered in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, when we came so close to G-d that all our sins, stains on the soul, were purified.  On Succot we become aware of this contact with the Infinite as a permanent bond which will be part of our daily lives throughout the coming year5.

The Succah expresses the way the Divine encompasses every aspect of our being; the Four Plants – Palm Branch, Citron and so on – express the four letters of the Divine Name which are revealed within us. We are therefore surrounded by G-dliness, and filled with G-dliness; we no longer feel that we are struggling to overcome a barrier which hides G-d from us.  This explains the joy: we have broken through the barrier, not by destroying something or forgetting it (as in mindless euphoria) but by transforming it from something potentially negative to something totally positive.

Finally at the close of Succot, on Simchat Torah, the Rejoicing of the Law (5-6 October), we bond to G-d and His Torah in a way which links our Essence with the Divine Essence.  We rejoice with the Torah, and G-d transforms the barriers of existence, opening them for us, pouring blessings to us and to all Israel for a year of peace, health and joy…

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Rosicrucian Reflections #98

“While Light, Life, and Love are part of all that we naturally see and experience, they are veiled or hidden by our attention to the material and the mundane. The mystical student’s intention is to remove, one by one, these veils so that, to some degree, a greater realization will appear. For although Light, Life, and Love are obscured, in removing the veil, a realization dawns that Love, for example, gives birth to all that is good and renders purpose to that which is named “Beauty.” Love is boundless and eternal, and it assures continuity in the expression of all experiences.”

-Dr. Lonnie Edwards

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Essene Meditations And Blessings #98

Meditation

This morning gives a song to me,

A lovely melody for me to play

Within my heart,

To give my spirit wings.

And I must close my eyes

To let the music come.

Unhurried, without force,

It yields its gift to me.

And just as gently

I share this gift,

I hum this melody.

The air accepts,

The world is nourished,

And I become my song.

The Blessing

Within my heart lives a silent power,

A firm, sound frame

Of wise and compassionate strength.

How often do I deny this gift,

This blessing from my Source?

Perhaps as the outward power of the sun recedes

In winter,

I will learn to own the strength within.

-Danaan Parry

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Weekly Meditation #97

The One Who Inhabits Eternity

The one who inhabits eternity keeps watch over me and mine. “He who neither slumbers or sleeps” forever keeps watch over all. I will rest in the assurance of love and protection. Great overshadowing presence, I am conscious of your care; I am aware of your loving kindness. I rest in you. Be still and know.

-Ernest Holmes

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Essene Wisdom #1

The Essenes: An Ancient Permaculture People

Who were the Essenes?

From the remote ages of antiquity, remarkable teaching has existed which is universal in its application and ageless in its wisdom.  Traces of the teaching have appeared in almost every country and religion as far back as ten thousand years.

The Sevenfold Path of Peace, derived from the ancient Essene teachings, offers a strong foundation in essential lifestyle philosophies and practices in the art of conscious living.  A consciousness based on the core vision of the unity of all life and a passionate commitment to the noblest aspirations of humankind this lifestyle model supports and empowers the individual in a balanced, happy life in accordance with the laws of Nature.

The teaching appears in the Zend Avesta of Zoroaster, who translated it into a way of life that was followed for thousands of years. It contains the fundamental concepts of Brahmanism, the Vedas and the Upanishads; and the Yoga systems of India sprang from the same source. Buddha later gave forth essentially the same basic ideas and his sacred Bodhi tree is correlated with the Essene Tree of Life. In Tibet, the teaching once more found expression in the Tibetan Wheel of Life.

The Essenes lived on the shores of lakes and rivers, away from cities and towns, and practiced a communal way of life, sharing equally in everything. They were mainly agriculturists and arboriculturists, having a vast knowledge of crops, soil and climatic conditions which enabled them to grow a great variety of fruits and vegetables in comparatively desert areas and with a minimum of labour.

They had no servants or slaves and were said to have been the first people to condemn slavery both in theory and practice. There were no rich and no poor amongst them, both conditions being considered by them as deviations from the Law. They established their own economic system, based wholly on the Law, and showed that all man’s food and material needs can be attained without a struggle, through knowledge of the Law.

They were great scholars who studied man’s relation to the universe. They considered that we had three roles: one of individual evolution; second, a function in regard to the planet on which we live; and the third, a divine purpose as a unit of the evolving and expanding universe. All three of these acting bodies are related to each other and affect each other. Bodily health and well-being are consequently of the utmost importance both to the individual and to all other beings on Earth. The Essenes were taught how to adapt to the rhythms and cycles of nature and the changing fields of energy that surround each person.

Through study and keen observation, they mastered the art of knowing how the elemental forces of wind, sun, rain, and nutrients in the soil affect different foods and how these foods will affect the individual – body, mind and emotions. They did daily morning and evening practices using the Elements to purify their bodies such as cold water baths and exposing the skin each day to the rays of the sun. Much of what they learned was through experience by being in their organic herb and vegetable gardens and fruit orchards.

The word Essene means healer or ‘therapeutie’, which they were well known for; they healed many people. They knew that disease is created when one deviates from the law of nature. By living in harmony with the Elemental forces and the cycles of nature, health and happiness return. Weekly, monthly and quarterly fasting and cleansing practices were used to regenerate and rejuvenate the body, and to develop the will to increase and move the energy to a higher spiritual level. They sent out healers and teachers from the brotherhoods, amongst whom were Elijah, John the Baptist, John the Beloved and the great Essene Master, Jesus.

The Essenes are described as charitable, devout, totally honest, and trustworthy. They based their decisions on majority consent, pooled their wealth and possessions together, made no wars, were peace-loving and were frugal. The results of this approach to life were extraordinary. In contrast to the short lifespan of the surrounding peoples, historians of the time have recorded that it was common for the Essenes to live to an average age of 120. They walked gently upon the Earth learning from nature and observing the natural cycles. They planted trees, tended to their gardens, vineyards and orchards, and lived a peaceful community life. It is known that the Essenes, with their pacifist tendencies, ate no animal flesh, honouring all life as sacred. There is much evidence, in the recently found Dead Sea Scrolls, that indicates Jesus was raised and educated in the Essene community.

“From its antiquity, its persistence through the ages, it is evident the teaching could not have been the concept of any individual or any people, but is the interpretation, by a succession of great Teachers, of the Law of the Universe, the Basic Law, eternal and unchanging as the stars in their courses, the same now as two or ten thousand years ago, and as applicable today as then.” Edmond Bordeaux Szekely

Gabriel Cousens M.D., says this about the Essenes, in his book The Sevenfold Peace: “There were no rich or poor among them because of the alignment of their economics, lifestyle, and society with Divine Law. The Essenes considered Divine Law to be the sum total of all the laws governing all manifestations of the forces of nature and the cosmos. This Divine Law is perhaps best summarized as the Living Law of Love and Harmony With All Creation. Although the Essenes lived in the harsh conditions of the desert, each person’s material needs, food, and shelter were easily and abundantly met because of that person’s alignment with the essential harmony of the universe. The Essenes were vegetarians; they avoided any form of alcohol except ceremonial wine; and they daily fed their bodies, minds, and souls with the contemplation of the earthly and cosmic forces that they poetically called angels. In the morning they contemplated the forces (angels) of Nature. In the evening they contemplated the cosmic forces. At noontime each day they contemplated one aspect of the Sevenfold Peace. Through this weekly cycle, the balance and practice of peace would be reviewed continuously.”

Modern Essenes

There still is a modern Essene movement in motion. This modern Essene thought still holds fast to a Natural Conscious Living Lifestyle, replete with a vegan live-food diet and regular fasting. The story of the Essenes offers us inspiration and insight into how to live balanced, harmonious lives. The Wisdom of the Essenes is re-emerging in our time to teach the basic oneness of all life and reawaken people to the Ageless Wisdom tradition that the Essene Kinship guarded for all humanity.

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis