An issue that I found that comes up when embracing spirituality is how it relates to money.
Money and spirituality seem to have rather a complex and unruly relationship. I spent several years studying Buddhism in Sri Lanka where the teachings were never offered for money. So coming back to the West was hard seeing the commercialization of spirituality and spiritual teachings, but in hindsight I was naive to expect anything less. Money is often quoted as being the “root of evil” something I used think was probably true, but now reject. In my experience, problems usually occur when I see money as being something in itself and having an intrinsic worth rather than just a convention. It is actually just a concept in my mind, just like any other concept and is defined by my relationship and intentions towards it. These intentions can be destructive or constructive depending on how I look at it from moment to moment.
So can this website be a wholesome or positive venture for my mind whilst at the same time earning money from it’s processes?
The nature of greed reminds me of a story I read whilst on retreat at Sharpham House, it was a story taken from The Song of the Bird by Anthony de Mello:
An industrialist was horrified to find a fisherman, lying lazily beside his boat, smoking a pipe.
“Why aren’t you out fishing?” said the industrialist.
“Because I have caught enough fish for one day.”
“Why don’t you catch some more?”
“What would I do with it?”
“Earn more money. Then you could have a motor fixed to your boat and go into deeper waters and catch more fish. That would bring you money to buy nylon nets, so more fish, more money. Soon you would have enough to buy two boats… even a fleet of boats. Then you could be rich like me.”
“What would I do then?”
“Then you could really enjoy life.”
“What do you think I am doing now?”
Do you see the links above, one of them directs to Amazon. If you buy anything from Amazon after clicking on that link, I get paid a small percentage of what you spend. How do I (or the reader) feel about that? Was that motivated by greed? Can creating a monetized blog be the causes of positive mind states? Again, I think this something that is completely subjective(obviously) and it is dependent upon the motives behind the action. Quite often I find that I have an idea which has come from a positive place but then find greed coming into the equation and clouding the original intention with ideas of accumulation. But should I then abandon the original intention because of a later intention of greed. Accepting the latent negative states in my mind(of which there are many!) has meant that, slowly, I am able to recognize them and let them go. Therefore, I can go back to original intentions without beating myself up about other intentions motivated by greed which came about later.
Definitely a work in progress…!
Thank you for bringing up this important but neglected, or rather avoided, topic.
Your reflections have value, however, as you mentioned, the inquiry into the topic needs to deepen.
The Buddha has a teaching about likening gold (greed) to a snake finding its way into the sling and slowly moving up your arm. When you are bitten the venom of greed is already in your bloodstream and difficult to eliminate. I have been pondering this. Thank you.
Love the story!