The Balance between Materialism and Spirituality
Why is attachment to materialistic things considered to be avoidable, if you are walking the spiritual path? The answer is simple: It is a distraction! Well, such is claimed by many. However, according me, you should aspire lead a well-balanced life between enjoying the materialistic pleasures and spiritual awareness.
Materialistic things are neither harmful nor bad. Being on the spiritual path does not mean you should completely avoid being materialistic. It is fine, as long as you are not swinging between craving and aversion. It is fine, as long as anything material does not become the source of you happiness. For whatever becomes the source of your happiness, also holds the power of making you miserable.
So, if you say that eating a burger makes you happy. How many burgers can keep you happy? Get to the third burger and for that time there is an aversion. If you overeat burgers at one go then you suffer from varied effects of indigestion. So, really, can your craving for a a burger be a source of happiness, when over-eating it can cause you much misery.
The problem is that we mistake happiness for pleasure. Happiness cannot be achieved, as being happy is being ourselves. What we seek from all things material are fleeting moments of pleasure. And, all that has the power to bring you pleasure, holds the power to cause you pain. This is why we are cautioned against falling into the trap of wanting materialistic things.
The Masters are above and beyond the cravings and aversions of anything materialistic. Yet, are they not materialistic considering they need materials to survive on the physical plain – food, clothing, shelter, etc.
We need to come out of the entire misconception that being materialistic is bad. In fact, it’s a good thing. Aspire to achieve more. Enjoy the ability to buy more, as you contribute to many, many lives. Whatever you purchase, there are a huge number of people involved in bringing it to you in the finished state. Go out there and enjoy it all. However, don’t fall into the trap or pattern of belieiving that material desires are sources of happiness.
When I see an image of Krishna playing the flute, I see balance. His one foot firmly placed on the ground, and the other foot barely touching the ground. Every image or idol of Krishna is adorned with jewels, and is made to wear fine clothes – a divine representation of a spirit being on a human journey.
When you look at an image or idol of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, you don’t see her in tatters. You see her wearing a heavy saree and bedecked with ornaments. Yet, when you pray to her for wealth and prosperity, its like you are seeking alms. When you seek alms that is exactly what you get!
Materialistic person meaning, as explained by the Masters is a person whose life is wrapped in greed, and miserliness. Who gathers all the wealth and prosperity, and never has an open palm to give to others. The materialistic person, spends their entire life in a spiral of misery, always seeking happiness from all that gives pleasure. The more they acquire, the more they want; the more the want to more they acquire. They swim in the ocean of insensitivity, anger, frustration, depression, anxiety, insecurity, fear, and all such emotions. They lack the awareness of their own spiritual being.
They are so unaware of this body being impermanent that they would cause any amount of pain to others in order to accumulate and hoard the maximum. They lead their lives being reigned by their cravings and aversions. They are ignorant of their own soul, spirit and purpose. But then, they belong to one extreme of being a materialistic person.
When you come into spirituality, you give yourself an opportunity to awaken from the materialistic slumber. You become aware that all things materialistic is part of the journey and not the destination. Materialism the means to the end, but not the end in itself. You realise that as much as every commodity is considered a part of materialism, so is your body – the materialistic embodiment of your soul, your spirit.
Science and spirituality go hand in hand. They are a happily married couple that respects each other. Science without spirituality is dry, and no inventions or discoveries happened without the surrender to the spirit. Every scientist requires intuitiveness to invent, discover and explore. Research and experimentation is science, invention and discovery comes from spirituality – wisdom, intuitiveness.
We are all spiritual beings on the human journey. We are here to enjoy all things material. We all have the right, without guild or regret to aspire to lead the good life. Enjoy the material world around us. No matter how long our journey is in this body, life is still short. Aspire to enjoy life, aspire to live the good life, mindfully and with awareness.
Aspire to be centered and grounded, as you balance between the material pleasures and the spiritual happiness. Aspire to rotate on your spiritual access, as the materialistic things revolve around you. Aspire to be unaffected by all that you acquire, all that you lose, and all that you cannot acquire.
You are not here to bury yourself in a materialistic life, but yet enjoy it all.
So, be materialistic, and spiritual, all at once. Spiritual meditation and mindfulness will lead you to balancing the scale. As they are healing tools that lead you to spiritual awakening and awareness. On the path, you’ll drop cravings and aversions. You’ll own your power to be happy and grateful, come what may. You will be in a state of equanimity where what you want cannot be a source of happiness, nor what you lose be a source of misery.
If you can afford it, buy it. If you cannot, it’s just fine!
Enjoy your journey in this material body, aware and awake, meditative and mindful, grateful and humble.