Thursday, January 31, 2008

Materialism and Spirituality

People who live only for wealth come to the end of their lives as naked and emptyhanded as on the day they were born.
-Ecclesiastes 5:15 (NLT)

So why, do you ask, am I quoting the Bible on a blog about Buddhism and mindfulness?

Thich Nhat Hanh says that it is important to honor your spiritual ancestors, including the religion you were raised with. I consider myself a Christian Buddhist.

Now that we have taken care of that question, lets move on the subject of money.

How materialistic are you?

When I was younger, I used nice things to make myself feel better. I didn't believe much in anything spiritual, I was more concerned with the here and now. I thought that having a lot of money would give me confidence and make me happy. So I chased it. And chased it. And chased it.

What I came to discover was that I had a God-sized hole in my soul that I was trying to fill with worldly things. And it didn't work. I needed a spiritual solution to my problem.

Through prayer and meditation, I began to see why I did these things. Using mindfulness as a tool, I got down to the core of the problem. I was unhappy and felt alone, no matter how many people were around me.

I had to practice a spiritual way of life. I was happy to discover this didn't mean I had to give up my nice things. It just meant I had to shift my focus. Once I started asking for help every morning and giving thanks at night, my life began to change.

I realized that money, though it has always been an issue, was not going to make me happy. Slowly but surely, I began to look to the sky and pray and my life has radically changed. Try it some time. You'll be amazed at the results.

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