The Money Split

by Mayuri on April 9, 2010

The Spiritualization of Money

At the core of all great spiritual teachings is the recognition that as human beings we have two natures. In Hindu, this is talked about in terms of Shiva and Shakti. In Buddhsit Mahamudra, it is the union of luminous clarity and emptiness (Shiva) and Phenomenon. In Dzogchen, it is the union of awareness and phenomenon. In Tantra it is the Masculine (Emptiness) and Feminine (Form). In Christianity, it is the Father and Holy Ghost (Shiva) and the Son. In The Diamond Approach, it is the Absolute and the Logos or Realization/actualization.

The shakti/phenomenon, form, the Son and actualization all point to us as human beings incarnate, as embodiment. So what is implied is that human life has meaning only insofar that we consciously and intentionally occupy two worlds, the spiritual and the human,  at the same time. And that meaning appears at the place where these two worlds meet these two worlds- in the relationship between the two worlds. In our secular world, where we have not recently (I mean in terms of a few centuries) by and large not paid attention to that relationship, that meaning has largely been lost.

I thought this was a good subject to cover today, because we have just passed Easter, where  we have been reminded of the divinity of Jesus and hopefully also, of our own spiritual nature. So, let’s begin by looking at the symbolism of the cross. We have a horizontal and vertical segments meeting at the center where they cross, where they overlap.

I am using the symbolism of the cross, as our western history is so tied to the history of the church. But other ancient cultures also used it as a spiritual symbol. For example, there is evidence from crosses sewn into an ancient  Siberian shamans clothes that they were birds, symbols of the shamans spirit flight into non-ordinary reality. I have read that there is evidence that even the Neanderthal people may have used it.

From the spiritual point of view, a  way to look at this is to consider the outer nature of man as a secondary nature- secondary to our spiritual nature. So the challenge of life is to make our life serve our spiritual realization or at least have them in balance. Instead , what has happened in our society is that the our life has become a runaway secular horse with no tempering by  consciousness. The loss of that relationship is echoed in the mass loss of integrity  in our money.

Our secondary nature usually resists the spiritual realization-Einstein Wrote ” Great Spirits Are Always violently opposed by mediocre minds”- in the form of all of our  conditioning, beliefs, self-images etc, this resistance does not hinder in our development. Rather,  as I have spoken about earlier, when we inquire and understand our resistances they actually support our spiritual growth, and in fact are the food for our journey. In other words our  human nature can actually serve our spiritual realization.

This is one of the aspects of the mystery of the cross. The cross is an  intersection of two opposing directions. This represents where the human being meets its spiritual form. At that intersection there is great struggle, great suffering on the physical plane that can be an avenue for transformation.

The church itself may have been to blame for the separation of the material and the spiritual. As Jacob Needleman talks about in his book Money And The Meaning Of Life. He talked about how originally the ethics of churches was to prevent humanity from giving too much of himself to his outer nature, but at the same time, to respect it and satisfy its legitimate needs. Unfortunately, distortions ended up degrading these ethics and one of the biggest distortions was the condemnation of the “lower”  nature of man- his physical needs and desires. So these normal needs of man became not only secondary, but actually split off and evil. Included in “evil” was sex and money. In fact, as money took a greater and greater place in society, it became one of the chief objects of distrust. What was not recognized at the time,was that we can lust after God, just as we can lust after a sexual object. We can be just as avarice about salvation as about wealth or money. It is lust and greed that are the issue, not money or normal human needs of being in a body.

As Jacob Needleman points out, the reaction to this hypocrisy is known as Protestantism. It brought a new attitude into the world- that led to new attitudes toward the “lower” nature of people. This new idea was that humanity should be free from obedience to any institution, but instead could be guided by the light of their own reason.  A person’s life was seen as his proper calling and his role in the world as sacred as any priest’s. So in effect, the human material desires became separated from the influence of Christian teaching and therefore the spirituality of the time with the advent of Protestantism.

Our economic system as well as the ascendancy of science in our culture, can be seen as springing in large measure form this secular world view. At this point in our civilization, money is the chief representative of this outer world.

If it is true that authentic human experience requires the presence of both worlds, the higher and lower. Or another way of saying it, the inner and the outer, than to exist in one world alone, is not to be a complete human being.

We need to bring our awareness to the intersection of the two worlds, inner and outer and their seeming incompatibility, before there can be a question of these two worlds becoming one. Our understanding of our relationship to money can actually become one of the harmonizing forces between these two potentials in man, an actual harmonizing force in our own lives.

The spiritual master, Osho, talked about bringing this balance back into our lives as “the New Man”- an individual who could be in the world and dance through it like Zorba the Greek and at the same time be a Buddha, a meditator. To bring back the balance between our two natures. As Osho said:

“Zorba the Buddha is the answer. It is the synthesis of matter and soul. It is a declaration that there is no conflict between matter and consciousness, that we can be rich on both sides. We can have everything that the world can provide, that science and technology can produce, and we can still have everything that a Buddha, a Kabir, a Nanak finds in his inner being-the flowers of ecstasy, the fragrance of godliness, the wings of ultimate freedom.”

So we need to put money back where it belongs,  not as a means in itself, but as a tool in our aim  of realization of our true nature.  Money is unique because it sits right exactly in the center of the cross. Because money is embedded in everything we do, it is a reflection of our values, and whatever is our level of spiritual realization. The question becomes- “Who can reach for what transcends earth, while still remaining on the earth? It is a place only for humanity, a center that is solely the destiny of humankind”

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