Where Your Treasure Is
Question: DK says that: “through suffering, (we) will seek that which they have discarded.”
What is this thing which we have discarded? What are the “values” he speaks of that we see when we are down to bare bones in material goods? Is it necessary to relieve ourselves of all material goods to find the kingdom of God?
Let us start with the last part of this question. “Is it necessary to relieve ourselves of all material goods to find the kingdom of God?”
All of you who commented on this said no. The basic consensus was that we need to overcome attachment to the material things rather than merely give them all up.
This is true, but there is one unfortunate fact to consider which is this. Through a series of lifetimes each of us must go through terrible losses again and again before this detachment is achieved. Finally, after the pilgrim has lost all he has for the umpteenth time he reaches a state of detachment where the loss is seen as not such a big deal. He can finally accept his loss with the realization that he has within him that which is a much greater treasure than all the material goods in the world. When he compares his loss to what he now still has in spiritual possession the loss does not seem so important.
This brings us to important questions that each potential disciple must ask himself.
How would I feel if I lost every material possession I own? Would I be devastated or would I still have a thankful heart for the eternal values still possessed inside?
Here is a more difficult question:
How would you feel if you lost every loved one and every friend you have – if they either all died or turned against you?
Would your inner sense of well-being be diminished? Could you continue on the path with joyful steps?
Finally, here is a question that is even more difficult though some may not realize it until they go through it.
How would you feel if your belief system were completely destroyed, if you discovered that all you cherished and held dear as the path to perfection was completely upside down? How would you feel if it seems that God himself was not what you thought and that he has a path for you that is the last thing you really wanted to do?
Could you continue on the path still at peace within yourself, still nursing the fire of joy within?
After the disciple goes through a certain degree of loss, then yes, he reaches a point of detachment where, if he has material goods he is happy and makes the best possible unselfish use of them. If he does not have material goods he will not covet those who do, but will make the best of his situation.
I have never been wealthy, but I have been in almost every situation from being able to pay my bills down to a very depressed and seemingly hopeless situation.
What I have learned is this: freedom from financial concerns is not dependent on how much you have or earn, but upon your needs as a ratio of your earnings. In other words, if you have obligations of $5000 a month and are bringing in $4000 you will be very unsettled and distracted from your spiritual center because of all the attention demanded of your obligations.
On the other hand, if your obligations are $1000 a month and you are bringing in $1100 you have a surplus and experience a degree of abundance the other person does not have. Your obligations here do not cause a distraction and contemplation on your spiritual center is much easier.
I find it interesting that one of the most secure times in my life financially was when I was on a mission for the LDS church to England way back in 1964-66. I lived on $125 a month in U.S. dollars, but even though the amount was small, my needs were small and I was pretty secure in the fact that the money would come in each month. This security coupled with a minimum of needs allowed me to focus on spiritual work as I perceived it at that time.
Over the years I have met many people aspiring to the spiritual path of service and the majority of them have very few material needs, but even though their needs are small many still lack the resources to fill these needs. The result is that they are distracted and are attempting to serve God and mammon at the same time. This situation neutralizes their spiritual attention and effectiveness.
The important thing for the seeker to do in relation to material needs is this.
(1) Assess what you need in a material way to take care of necessary needs while you pursue the spiritual path. Be realistic and acknowledge true needs. Remember, even Jesus and the apostles had material needs and had a treasurer to pay bills as they went about their work.
(2) Do not expect other people to do for you that which you can do for yourself.
A problem many have who are seeking to do the spiritual work is that they develop a sense of entitlement, feeling that others should sacrifice and do the grunt work while they do the fun work.
The disciple can accept gifts when they are freely given, but he must be prepared to do whatever labor is necessary to take care of his needs as he moves forward. Remember the example of Paul who was a tentmaker and continued to labor with his hands to pay his own way, even when he was a famous apostle.
(3) After material needs are assessed the seeker must develop a source of income that will meet those needs. He must be self-sufficient to the point he is not a burden on friends, followers and family.
(4) He must not seek material goods to satisfy the ego but to assist him in attaining his spiritual goals of service. Material goods must be dedicated to the spiritual work above the ego.
The second part of the question:
What is this thing which we have discarded? What are the “values” he speaks of that we see when we are down to bare bones in material goods?
The answer to this lies hid in the statement of Jesus: “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”
It is important they we have enough material goods to take care of our spiritual needs, but it is even more important that these material goods do not become our treasure. When we remove ourselves from material attachment then a discovery is made. That discovery is that there is a greater treasure within through spiritual quest and service than having all the money in the world. When our treasure and our heart are linked to the spiritual rather than the material, we then find that which has been discarded by those whose only goal is to get ahead. The spiritual energies of the soul are then unlocked, the power of the spirit is sensed and the love of God is absorbed by the seeker.
Question: DK says “the counterfeit always guarantees the true.” He was saying this in relation to the coming of Christ, but consider that he is touching on a true principle here.
What counterfeits exist in our present world that foreshadows the good, the beautiful and the true?
“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Anonymous
Feb 7, 2005
Copyright by J J Dewey
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