Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Ask Mags: The Spiritual Life Or The Simple Life?

I am very taken with teachings such as Eckhart Tolle’s and I want to live a life of presence – a spiritual life. But does this mean that I have to give up my possessions and live a simple and austere life? Is it possible to be both spiritually and materially wealthy?

The answer to both of these questions is Yes – yes, you do have to give up your possessions, and yes, it is possible to be both spiritually and materially wealthy. And before you ask, the answer to your next question is No – no, my previous answers are not completely contradictory! Let me explain….

The key to understanding this subject lies in getting clear on the intent behind the decision to create on the physical plane.

When the ego is in charge of our lives, it creates experiences and things for the purpose of definition and identity – in other words, the ego uses the things of the physical plane to define who you are and to give you an identity separate from others. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this type of “creating” is not really creating at all. Instead, this process is more accurately termed “getting” or “collecting”, as the ego gathers to itself all those experiences and things that can tell a story about who you are. The ego likes to have an answer for the ubiquitous cocktail party question regarding what we do: I am a writer, I am successful, I am a wife/mother/daughter (insert appropriate role here).... It doesn’t matter to the ego whether the identity is positive or negative. I am a successful writer may be a more positive identity than I am a loser and victim of circumstance, but it is an identity nevertheless and the ego will therefore defend it and continue to promote it. Because the ego is so heavily invested in the identity that it has “created”, it suffers when it loses any of the things that go into supporting this identity and to which it is therefore attached.

In a state of presence, however, we are aligned with Source energy. This is the state of I am. This is the state of pure creation. Whereas the ego has to work hard to get everything that it wants, creating from a state of presence is effortless. It flows. The intent behind creation is to experience the physical manifestation of our highest path and purpose. We create because we can – I am, and therefore I choose to create the experience of being a successful writer. Unlike an ego-based life, in a state of presence there is no attachment to anything we create. If something is taken away from us, we do not suffer – after all, we can create the same thing (or even something different) again tomorrow.

To return, then, to your original question: Yes, you do have to give up your possessions, although this “giving up” is not necessarily a physical act of relinquishing all that you currently have in favour of an ascetic life. Rather, to live a life of presence means to give up your egoic attachment to those things that have previously defined you. The ego will rebel against this perceived diminishing of who you are. However, far from making you less than you are, awakening to a state of presence allows the fullness of your being to emerge. When we live in the state of I am, we know that we are already all that we want to be: we are already abundant, we are already joyful, we are already peaceful. This is our natural state and it is ours now. Access to these ways of being are never taken away from us, although we may sometimes not allow them into our lives. We can be both spiritually and materially wealthy. It is our choice.


Andrea Hess|Empowered Soul said...

All I can say is - YES!!!! Spirituality and wealth can peacefully co-exist, as long as we stay out of attachment. Excellent article!


Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Thanks, Andrea!