How deep are your desires?
Some people believe that suffering and living in poverty is necessary to be truly spiritual. That idea is hidden or openly taught in many belief systems and philosophies.
And there's a nugget of truth - sometimes the lack of material possessions, wealth, or creature comforts does bring us back to the essence of our soul. I had a prayer partner for years who was with the sisters of charity, and her only possessions were two blue and white habits like the ones Mother Theresa would wear, a well-patched blue cardigan, a pair of sandals, and a Bible. She had enormous generosity of spirit. My own parents took a vow of poverty when I was a child, and for them, it came from a true concern for the suffering of others, and a desire to alleviate their poverty.
While it’s true that there can be a spiritual purpose to experiencing a lack of material well-being, only in exceptional cases is it meant to be a permanent or lifelong experience. Yes, it's possible to rejoice through times of suffering and to reconnect with the realm of spirit, yet suffering is not something to be pursued. Life will bring enough on its own.
Once we've awakened enough to remember our connection to spirit and to one another regularly, the sense of emotional or physical lack disappears. In fact, there can be a sense of internal "enoughness" that makes true generosity possible.
When you do experience moments or periods of suffering perhaps you can take that time to deepen and focus your desires. For example, if you desire money, can you recognize that your longing may be for security, comfort, generosity, or some other good value that you falsely believe money represents? If you hunger for friendship, it may be that when true love for yourself is deeply connected to all things is the real desire underneath. Paradoxically, when you deepen your desire for what's real and true, sometimes many other things show up as free gifts.
A couple of mysterious words from Jesus have boggled my mind:
"For to everyone who has, more will be given; but from him who has not, even what little he has will be taken away."
"Seek first the kingdom of heaven, and all these things will be added to you as well."
See what happens the next time you have a longing or sense a lack. What if you deepen your desire to find out the truth of what the real longing underneath might be? What if you already have all that you seek and more?
With great love,
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