January 6

We cannot become saints
merely by trying to run
away from material things.

Thomas Merton


Today's Meditation:

Reject the material things in life, some say, and life will become much better for you:  much simpler, much more fulfilling.  After all, it's those material things that are holding you back, keeping you from finding your higher self!  Few things are further from the truth.  This is very similar to the argument that "money is the root of all evil"--a saying that's been warped from the original "the love of money is the root of all evil."

Thomas makes an extremely good point, and that's that we cannot find our higher selves through rejecting things.  There's a huge difference between rejection and discernment, and where material things are concerned, discernment is probably our most valuable ally in not giving ourselves up to their allure.  I like having material things, but I need to be able to give them up at a moment's notice if I'm not going to let them control me.  A real estate agent once told me that she was with a couple who fell in love with a house, but who turned it down because there was no place for their 60-inch television set.

In that case, a major decision was made in part because of a material thing that in the long run really has no importance in our lives.

Do you have material things?  Then enjoy them, love them, use them!  People who reject them are doing what they want to do, but you do not have to do what they do.  You won't be a better person for running from them, and your life won't be immediately better.  On the other hand, if you can minimize their influence on you and live your life knowing that you could leave them behind at any moment without a problem, then you've struck a nice balance between liking them for what they can do for you and needing them because you find fulfillment in them.

Any changes in our lives happen inside, and our outer lives tend to reflect what's going on inside.  Those who run from material things are trying to change the inside by changing the outside first.  And while there's something to be said for creating a healthy environment for spiritual and emotional growth, there's also a lot to be said for recognizing just what things are and just how they fit into our lives, and accepting them for that.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people think that it's the material things that keep us from finding fulfillment in our lives?  Can things really affect us, or do they just bring to the surface inner issues? 

What kinds of things that you own can you simply not do without?  One hundred years ago, how many people had to do without it?

Indra Devi says that we must free our minds of "the burden of too much concern with material things" (below).  Is that the same as rejecting the things themselves?

For further thought:

It becomes necessary to learn how to clear the mind of all
clouds, to free it of all useless ballast and debris by
dismissing the burden of too much concern with material things.

Indra Devi

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