Living in a material and spiritual world.
written by Emily Chantiri
“One should live in the world, perform all legitimate duties and yet feel mentally detached from everything.
One should be in the world but not of it…”.
Meher Baba (from the book, God Speaks)
Over the past twenty years, my spirituality has been on the increase. You could say that it comes with age, life experiences and wisdom. I use the term, wisdom, loosely here because the older I get, the less I know. None the less, following my spiritual path has given me more peace and a far richer life than any material one. So, here is my dilemma, and that is how to stay spiritual in a material world.
Like most people, the material side requires us to work; so we can take care of our responsibilities. Even the renowned, Indian spiritual master, Meher Baba reminds followers not to shirk from their responsibilities and to attend faithfully to worldly duties with love and servitude to others.
The downside to the material world is getting caught up in all the trappings; the desire for bigger and better things, the ego that comes with it and the competition to be better than the next person. It is an easy trap to fall into.
Of course, it can be done and there are many people combining both worlds.
In my own life, I’ve made some significant changes over the past years to help me stay more connected to my spiritual side. Two years ago, I left my job as a journalist to work as a freelancer, and this has given me access to write articles closer to my heart. I even have more time to meditate and connect with those on a similar path.
I recently interviewed a senior manager of a leading bank for an article. We were discussing leadership qualities. During the interview, he told me he had been diagnosed with cancer some fifteen years earlier. It would take a further ten years before he won his cancer battle. He says the cancer helped him to become his true self and a better leader.
In the past, when he went to work, he would put on a ‘suit of armor’ or his tough guy persona to be seen as a leader, which meant he could not be his true self. After beating a bigger fear, cancer and death, he knew he was a fighter and no longer needed to put on a suit of armor. What was also intriguing about this man, was that he turned to Buddhism and the Buddhist teachings helped him with managing people.
We began to talk about this spiritual and material combination. He then said he is part of a group of senior managers and CEOs who practice Buddhism and they meet regular. It keeps him grounded he added.
I began to wonder what other people do to stay connected on the spiritual path while living in a material world.
I’d love to hear from others who have managed to live harmoniously in both worlds.
Emily Chantiri is a best-selling author and journalist.
She is a regular contributor to a number of publications, including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, BRW Magazine the Good Food Pub Guide, Marie Claire magazine and other leading publications.
Emily is the author of five books, including three bestsellers. Her latest book is called The Voice of Intuition. www.thevoiceofintuition.com