“To be religious you must have time and, even more, independence of time. You can’t be religious in earnest and at the same time live in actual things and still take them seriously, time and money…and all that.” –From Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse
I knew, upon reading this quote early this morning over a cup of coffee that I needed to create my next blog post around its content. Above, the reality of pursuing Reality, the Divine or spiritual path is stated simply, beautifully and is assertively truthful. You can’t really have your mind on spiritual development if you take the world seriously, “time, money… and all that.”
No two lessons are learned more quickly when one embarks on the spiritual journey than, first, time is infinite and is no finite resource (if it really exists or is of any consequence at all) and secondarily, money, being anything but eternal in nature, is simply a tool for trading and should be paid no more attention to than bread, or nails, or any other possibly trade-oriented commodity. To be caught up in time is to be worrisome and wearied, whereas a fixation on money keeps one trapped in a perpetual prison of “not enough”, and strangely, the more money people get the more they seem to obsess over it, making the logical decision to not care about it at all if you desire freedom!
“But we have a limited amount of time,” and “well, you need money to survive,” are surely two rebuttals that many would aim at such statements. I am not ignorant of the means by which the world goes round, but I do believe that we can orient our thinking (and truly our experience of reality) to be focused more on the eternal than limited to the temporal, ever fading material world. We recognize the difference in those around us; between those who are worldly focused (time, money, etc.) and others who have conducted deep work and have cultivated a rich internal life in addition to addressing the external. The former are fearful, lose sleep due to worries, and seldom experience personal fulfillment or are sure of their inherent worth. The latter seem to possess an extra “something”, a spark that separates them from the masses and overruns their life with love, joy and peace. They feel fulfilled whether as brain surgeons, street sweepers, or monks. It’s not a vocation, accumulation of money, or other worldly success that will enable one to exist in a this realm of freedom; instead we must be brave enough to begin to journey within and discover for ourselves, “Joy unspeakable” and “Peace that goes beyond understanding”.
My teacher, Jesus, once made the statement, “Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add even a single hour to your life?... Oh you of little faith.” He also said that fools store up for themselves money and goods, worrying about amassing treasures for themselves in this world. He wasn’t making these comments because money and things are “bad”, but because he knows that focus on time, money, and things will never cause us to live the lives of beauty and fulfillment that we are all capable of and intended to know.
I’m writing today simply as a reminder. Don’t worry about money and time; no amount of worrying can cause you to have more of either. Instead, decide today that you are going to pursue joy. That you are going to see beauty and life in those around you and will fix your mind on those things. Know that if in your heart you seek first the Kingdom of Beauty and Love, everything else will be taken care of for you. Deepest peace and joy to you today.