Whenever a group of people get together and become more honest with each other, one of the first thing to happen is that they realize how much we all want the same thing. It happens in marriage guidance counseling, we come to the recognition that we both want love, we both want to be seen and acknowledged. It happens in any kind of business intervention: we come together as a team and realize we all want and need the business to succeed, we want the workplace to be inspiring and relaxed. Ultimately it happens politically, when the leaders of nations recognize that they are more likely to get their own needs met when they can also recognize the need of the other.
The greatest area of split and misunderstanding, which I discover among my friends and other writers and teachers is the split between the longing of the spirit and material desire. To paint the picture in broad strokes, I am aware of two categories of people I know. On one hand, I’ve spend a lot of my life in “spiritual circles.” I lived with Poonjaji in India, I’ve lived in community in other parts of my life. When we make our home in this camp life is about liberation. We mediate. We do Yoga. We chant. We disassemble the structures in the mind because we have fallen in love with a deep sense of spaciousness and peace. When you live exclusively in this camp the desire for money becomes a hinderance to be avoided, not a goal to be pursued. Relationships are okay-ish, as long as they don’t get too co-dependent. Frequently, our relationship with our parents is something to be “completed” and “resolved” rather than celebrated. When you live in this camp, wanting to make it in the world is the greatest symptom of ego-entrapment.
But there is also another camp, where I equally enjoy setting up my tent from time to time. This camp is much better decorated, has better food, and everyone has an i-phone. In this camp the emphasis is on worldly success of every kind. Making money is a good thing. So is having great relationships, great sex, better health and, in fact, having better anything is good. When you hang out a while in this camp and look back to the other side, the spiritual people look like a bunch of losers. Meditating on their navels and letting go of attachments, you can see from here that they can’t pay the rent, their relationships are often messy, and they often have health problems to boot.