Baseless Spirituality

  • by Perumal Koshy
  • 05 Oct, 2017
“Money can’t buy happiness” is a baseless statement repeated throughout spiritual communities. This is heard from those living in vague and generalized expressions of spiritual life. Often such statements are masking underlying reasons for saying them. We exist in a modern material world requiring it be addressed with money. Maybe our modern economic model will change one day.Unless we are living in a rural underdeveloped subsistence farming oriented environment then the statement is misleading.

“Once you get basic human needs met, a lot more money doesn’t make a lot more happiness,” notes Dan Gilbert, a psychology professor at Harvard University and the author of "Stumbling on Happiness". Some research shows that going from earning less than $20,000 a year to making more than $50,000 makes you twice as likely to be happy, yet the payoff for then surpassing $90,000 is slight. The Washington Post mentions money purchasing more time for example a house cleaning service or chef to reduce the pressures from the day increases happiness according to current research. The American Psychology Association conducted studies on households with high net worth exceeding 25 million regarding happiness. To their surprise findings were that these people of high net worth consistently stated that their greatest aspiration in life was to be a good parent. Furthermore they had a keen interest in how to help the youth in the world live healthy, meaningful and impactful lives. This was unexpected but revealing on the humanity that was conveyed.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs pyramid from psychology points to the necessity of money for happiness. Existing at the bottom of the pyramid is food and shelter with social relations in the middle crowned at the top with self actualization. In a modernized world when money is lacking then such basic necessities are lacking leading to unhappiness. Food with safety and shelter is rooted into the material world similarly as the outlook with the lower chakras. If we are not living in a rural underdeveloped subsistence farming oriented environment then the role of money is paramount in a modern civilized world. A modern developed world requires money for basic needs of food and safety to achieve social relations and “Self-Actualize” or what could be higher levels of consciousness. Happiness will be missed without the hierarchy being met.

Ashramas of Hindu philosophy expresses a persons life in 4 stages. It is the second stage of life that requires an intense focus on career and socializing of children into the material world. This stage requires money when we are living in a modern material world. Not completing this stage successfully then the children may suffer. Or a debt free home needed for stability will not be created. When we do not complete this stage we are required to continue working this stage through old age. That is why there are people working till 80 paying off debts. During the second stage of life if a person is existing in an overtly spiritual

Many spiritual aspirants focus excessively on upper chakra spiritual life neglecting the basic lower material world.Those raised and living in a modern world failing to address the times and environment are believed to experience lower chakra of 1st and 2nd Chakra imbalances. Lower chakras are rooted into the material world and believed to deactivate when psychological and physical action runs against the principles of living in a material world. Associations of lower chakra imbalances are poor living conditions, lower back, colon and leg pains along with financial issues just to name a few. When the lower chakras are imbalanced it is not possible to lead to god consciousness/ self-realization/ liberation. All of the lower and upper chakras need to be simultaneously balanced for the 7th crown god conscious chakra to open. Money in a modern material world is required to maintain a happy and healthy connection to it. Not just for our basic necessities but also for our spirituality.

One expression of being rich within the material world is that we are as rich as the number of days we may pass without having to earn money. This provides the freedom of choice which brings happiness and not the act itself. Beyond that there are a multitude of different values expressed as being rich in the material world such as good health. In the spiritual realm the measure is enlightenment and this can be expressed with different meanings. To be spiritual and happy in a material world can only occur by maintaining a balance between the material world that requires money and the spiritual world.

Yes it is true money cannot buy happiness. On the other hand it does create the environment for creating happiness and self-fulfillment. Money helps to create the life experiences that are necessary to happiness such as travel or spending time with family and friends. Money provides a greater level of safety in one’s life and the chance to better recover from or preventcalamities. The basic awareness that there is sufficient money for calamities in itself is reassuring calming and creates the environment for happiness and self-fulfillment to thrive.

The persons saying “money can’t buy happiness” is sending a wrong message. They instill a narrow one dimensional view point as a way of making a grand point about how virtuous they are. Sometimes this statement is made by a person wishing to make a point that makes them look correct in order for their own virtuous self-image to be maintained or stance in an argument to be upheld. These are the same people coming up with all kinds of muddled up interpretations and teachings regarding sexuality. Often applying them upon persons that do not come from the ideal psychological and sociological backgrounds for such practices. These same people hide behind ahimsa/ nonviolence when they must speak up.
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