The ancient Greek philosopher, Thales, had a problem. The people in his community were always making fun of him. They would say, “Philosophy and mysticism are clearly useless since you are so poor. Give up your studies of Nature and get a real job.”
But Thales didn’t care about money or personal comfort – he was interested in Truth and Beauty and the nature of reality. He did not need money to carry out his studies. However, there came a time when he grew tired of all the mocking criticism and he decided to teach the world a lesson in philosophy.
Thales had determined through his studies of nature that there would be a particularly large olive crop. He put together some funds and bought the rights to use all the olive presses in the area. Since no one else was bidding on the presses – and no one minded taking money from the foolish philosopher – he got the rights cheaply. When the harvest came in, the farmers needed to use the presses – and Thales had control of them all. He charged top dollar and made a big profit.
He said to the astonished people, “A philosopher can make money any time it is needed. I choose instead to pursue my studies of philosophy and mysticism and consider this to be the best use of my time.” Then to further press home the point he gave all the money to charity and went back to his researches. No one ever made fun of him again.
Thales is considered the first true philosopher in history and his lifestyle is thought of as the model for all mystics and seekers of truth.
To the mystic, money is like energy – neither good nor bad but useful for accomplishing one’s aims. There is neither sin in wealth nor virtue in poverty. If you need money you should certainly work on getting it and there are many mystical techniques for channeling energy into the achievement of your goals.
The true mystic has two basic goals: to attain Enlightenment and to aid in the Enlightenment of the world. Each mystic can pursue these goals in his or her own way. Sometimes money, even a great deal of money, is required; most of the time it is not. You would never find a Master Mystic loafing on a beach in Florida, drinking Margaritas – unless there is some specific lesson being taught. You do often find Master Mystics appearing as homeless wanderers – also when a specific lesson is being taught. The lesson in these cases is that the world is also very much a Spiritual place and not all material. In the 21st century mystics have need for financial resources – they need a quiet, sheltered place to learn meditation, they need books to study, they need to browse the Internet, they need a way of reaching people and a way to generate the space and opportunity for people to attain Enlightenment. For some, the resources needed to satisfy their special goals and projects might be large. But for the true mystic the rule is always “be IN the world, but not OF the world.”
Again, for the mystic, there is neither sin in wealth nor virtue in poverty – but likewise there is also neither virtue in wealth or sin in poverty. Each mystic should determine what they require to suit their purpose and feel no shame in their lifestyle whether they choose to dress in lavish silks or simple denim.
Money is a form of energy – nothing more.