“A lot of things are inherent in life -change, birth, death, aging, illness, accidents, calamities, and losses of all kinds- but these events don’t have to be the cause of ongoing suffering. Yes, these events cause grief and sadness, but grief and sadness pass, like everything else, and are replaced with other experiences. The ego, however, clings to negative thoughts and feelings and, as a result, magnifies, intensifies, and sustains those emotions while the ego overlooks the subtle feelings of joy, gratitude, excitement, adventure, love, and peace that come from Essence. If we dwelt on these positive states as much as we generally dwell on our negative thoughts and painful emotions, our lives would be transformed.” ― Gina Lake
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.