I love Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. (He said a lot of amazing things, much of it offensive to a lot of people.) He’s been a part of our practice right from the beginning, his primary contribution usually being the opening to a conversation about money and spirituality. I’ve always introduced him as the owner of 80 Rolls Royces, but it turns out there were 93. Eighty Rolls Royces made people crazy; what’s 13 more!
I’m hoping we can take 2015 to look deeply and closely at all that lies behind the outrage and judgment that roars up when people are confronted with something like a spiritual teacher owning 93 Rolls Royces. (It does seem a bit over the top, doesn’t it? I suspect he could have accomplished the same result with just one Rolls Royce.)
A little about the format here before we go on. If you’d like to approach these blogs as a mini-workshop, I invite you to stop to consider the preceding paragraph, and then jot down your answers to the following questions.
1) Let’s forget about the 93 number and just go with: What arises when you consider a spiritual person owning a Rolls Royce? Take your time to let all the responses come in….
2) If a spiritual person owns a car, what sort of car should it be? Look closely…
3) Do you have a belief that money corrupts, and that the only way to remain “pure” is not to have anything to do with it? Again, take just a moment to consider whether or not you believe that…
4) What is your reaction when yet another scandal breaks, revealing that a religious leader has been personally benefiting from their “ministry”? That donations are paying for a lavish lifestyle? Take another moment to write down additional insights…
Do you see a connection between your answers to these questions and what you’re allowed to have and what you’re not allowed to have?
It seems that many people are conditioned to believe that spirituality and poverty go together. Not just that people who take a vow of poverty should be poor, but that all spiritual people should be poor. To paraphrase Rajneesh, people live in such an intolerably impoverished mindset that they console themselves by making that mindset the spiritually correct way to think.
If you want to talk about what you’re seeing, please call Open Air on January 13.