Spirituality * Culture * Self-Expression

Month: November 2012

Mystics and Money

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.

11 People I Actually Like (All Dead)

I’m a bit of a curmudgeon. I guess I’m one of those crazy mystics bothered by the prospect of spending the next 50 years or so in a world of sleepwalkers. I admit, I occasionally wish for a giant asteroid to crash into the Earth and end all the world’s suffering. Yet, despite all that, I do like people – some people. This is a list of a few of my favorites.

1/            Jesus Christ

There are no good, complete biographies of this man despite the fact that there have been more books, articles, lectures, movies, TV Shows, documentaries, plays, musicals, paintings and every other kind of media generated about Him than any other person in history. Even the Gospels lack real depth about His life and activities. To know Him, requires a personal experience of Him and that requires meditation and prayer as well as reviewing all the available data. It is definitely worth the effort. Jesus is one of the True Lights of the world.

2/            Buddha

As with Jesus, it is difficult to find a good, single source of information about this man. But as with Jesus, it is worth the effort to try. Buddha lived a long life and taught much, so, through study and meditation, it is possible to gain some insight into the thoughts and career of this other True Light of the world.

3/            Benjamin Franklin

I see this man as everyone’s favorite uncle or grandfather. He kept busy all his long life doing fun and amazing things. A true genius, he worked in business, politics, philosophy, science, social commentary, music, activism, community service and was a true revolutionary to boot. An all-around great guy.

4/            St. Joan of Arc

Not some namby pamby, wimpy saint – Joan was a fighter, a leader, a champion. Devoted to God, she followed her vision to the end. Abandoned by her friends, she was martyred at the age of 19 after a stunningly successful military career. She’s the saint for me.

5/            Van Gogh

I’ll make it simple – this is the greatest painter that ever lived. If you don’t love his work, there’s something wrong with you.

6/            Beethoven

I suppose there are some better all-around composers – Mozart comes to mind. But Beethoven did something that no one else in any field has ever been able to do before or since his time. Beethoven generated the entire story of humankind – all the fear, anguish, love, passion, potential and joy of our crazy species in one breathtaking presentation – the glorious 9th Symphony. The music is our greatest achievement. Nothing comes closer to truly representing humanity than this work. If aliens ever come to Earth and ask us what we’ve ever done to deserve life, we can confidently play them the 9th Symphony and they will go away satisfied and awestruck.

7/            Shakespeare

An unparalleled genius. The greatest writer of all time – period. Yeah, some of his plays are weak and at times the writing seems rushed. But his weakest work is better than most peoples strongest. His choice and development of theme, his insights and understanding of the human condition, his use of imagery and language mark him as an immortal. If he had worked in ancient Egypt, Greece or Rome, he would have been declared a god.

8/            Dostoyevsky

Shakespeare is the greatest writer in general, but Dostoyevsky is by far the greatest novelist of all time. Reading Dostoyevsky is like talking to a god – you just sit back and marvel at the supreme brilliance of thought and word.

9/            Jacques Cousteau

Not a super genius, not an immortal, not a world savior – but holy crap what an interesting, exciting and original human being. A combination scientist, inventor, philosopher, adventurer, conservationist, humanitarian, educator – with a burning passion for his subject – the ocean.  There has been no one else that combined such an extreme level of expertise with such brilliant communication skills. He showed us clearly and spectacularly the beauty and mystery of the sea. Some of the greatest pleasures of my life involved watching his TV programs and dreaming of joining him on the ship “Calypso” in a life of adventure.

10/         T.E. Lawrence

Soldier, poet, archaeologist, adventurer, maker of nations – he packed a lot of excitement into his short life. Maybe not as brilliant as Franklin or as passionate as St. Joan – but he truly lived a life worth living and gave the world much to think about.

11/         Jane Austin

She’s not Dostoyevsky. She’s not really even a Dickens or Hardy. Her books are not those big ponderous, “important” works of literature. But, damn, she’s a good read! And more than any other author I find myself going back to her books year after year, just to enjoy the pleasure of her company. She is genuine, imaginative, and confident and gives the reader exactly what she promises. I always read her books with a smile from beginning to end. Maybe more than all the people on this list she is someone I wish I could have met and talked to.

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