July 21

Today's quotation:

I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation.  We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right.  Riches would do us no good.  We could not take them with us to the other world.  We do not want riches.  We want peace and love.

Red Cloud

Today's Meditation:

It's kind of amazing to see just how much has been written and taught about the truth that riches don't make us happy, and at the same time see the multitudes of people who spend their lives doing little but chasing riches.  They don't take jobs for personal fulfillment or the desire to contribute something important to the world-- they take them for the pay, and the highest pay wins, even if it means compromising integrity and sacrificing freedoms and happiness.

Our pursuit of wealth can become all-consuming, leading us to do things that we never would consider doing if money weren't in the equation.  And to a great extent, our society is one that is creating-- or at least exacerbating-- the situation.  After all, it costs a great deal to provide things like insurance, housing, food, electricity, water and sewage, vehicles for getting to work, etc., etc., etc.  And it cost even more when the people providing the services "need" ever-higher profits.  Our lives have become much more expensive than they used to be, and those costs have to be paid somehow.

The Native Americans, like the indigenous peoples of many different areas of the world, have tended to recognize that the accumulation of wealth can lead to some very negative consequences.  They have tried to keep their focus on their families and their communities, for if these are kept healthy, then life is much more manageable for all the members of both, and there will be peace, and there will be love.  But we reject their perspective in favor of the one that says wealth is best, and we pay a heavy price for doing so.

Which path do we choose in life?  Do we choose the path for spreading love and enlightenment and peace, or the path for gaining wealth and "power"?  And if we choose the latter, what price will we-- and the planet-- pay for it?  Is it possible to be on both paths in a responsible way?  These are questions that we really do need to address at some time in our lives if we're to stay on a course that will allow us to become the best versions of ourselves that we can be.

Questions to consider:

Why does western European culture traditionally focus so strongly on material wealth and gain?

In what ways is technology hurting the planet and its inhabitants?  Helping?

How might we find a balance between two seemingly disparate ways of looking at life and the world and wealth?

For further thought:

Traditional people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road to spirituality.  We feel that the road to technology. . . . has led modern society to a damaged and seared earth.  Could it be that the road to technology represents a rush to destruction, and that the road to spirituality represents the slower path that the traditional native people have traveled and are now seeking again?
The earth is not scorched on this trail.  The grass is still growing there.

William Commanda

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