Capitalism & Spirituality: The Dehumanizing Effect of Materialism
Man can only worship that which he was made for.
This is his true life, the life that is pre-ordained by his body.
A life of devotion is a journey where the goal is to arrive more fully where you already are—to live for the sake of life alone. From this point of view, the steps we take in order to complete our journey are characterized by an attitude of willingness, rather than willfulness. The present moment is revealed to be an endless act of consent, where we are giving into the revelation of who we are, and as a result, who we are becomes our technique.
Initially the journey is necessarily concerned with your relationship to the external world. This is simply because the search begins with a mind that is scattered out in multiplicity. Our minds are all over the place and we feel trapped in an authentic way of life. But as the search matures and the questions become simpler our focus begins to move away from the margins, back to the center, out of which, our authentic life emerges. Only an unmediated life, a life characterized by simplicity and directness, can accept the search itself—the very question, "Who am I?"—as the definitive answer.
We are looking for the ground out of which the seeds of meaning and love sprout into our lives. And we must look with all our heart, as a life disconnected from meaning and love is a life prey to misery. We must look under every rock, every stone, and in every nook and cranny. We must be willing to question anything and everything, including the existence of God and what we think is important in life.
We must search until we find the truth in our heart that cannot be undone by reason or rationale, as it is unspoken Truth, substantiated by direct experience. Then, we devote ourselves to the unfolding of Truth by organizing our life around the expression of Truth. This is the proper meaning of devotion and worship. Devotion, in its proper context, is not blind obedience. It is an attitude of willingness that transforms us into a disciple of Truth. In this way, our life is shaped by the expansion of Truth into the domain of our Incarnation.
In the modern world, many of us worship money.
We seek gain for the sake of gain, and in doing so, make money our master. We follow it as we organize our lives around the dehumanizing patterns of behavior that lead to the acquisition of money. Then, we use the acquired money to purchase 'things' that require more money, which reinforces the automatized habits necessary for the production of more money. True, many of us have families to support, and we want to provide the best possible life for our children, but we need to understand that the life we give our children is not the one we pay for, but the one we live. We must be sure that the life we are offering our kids by way of our example is not an automated life that reduces us, and consequently them, to just another cog in the wheel of an economic machine. This is the rat race, the unavoidable consequences of which, are sickness and insanity.
But true spirituality never calls you out of the world. In fact, it brings you into a greater intimacy with the world. True spirituality brings you back to the self existing world, which cannot be undone by any amount of effort or rationalization, as it is pre-dates both effort and rationalization. So naturally, spiritual practice appears to take you out of 'this' world, but only because it is pulling you away from the automated routine and bringing you back to a spontaneous way of life that enables you to realize your humanity.