Friday, January 17, 2014

Kundalini and Poverty: Same People, Different Situations

It's often suggested to spiritual seekers that there's no way to care for the poor and reach for spiritual release at the same time. Individual souls are on an individual journey; each person must fend for his/her own soul, find his/her own path. That the outer trip is fraught with insurmountable snares and therefore one should concentrate only on the inner trip. The notion here is that evolution will take care of the less fortunate. A rising tide raises all boats, so to speak.

Back in the 1970s, Isaac Bentov developed this "rising boats" theme along similar lines as today's Kundalini people, who say Kundalini is accelerating evolution by writing changes in consciousness into DNA.


So where does that leave America's poor? Or the poor and disabled around the world, for that matter? Should the rest of us be trying to help?

This week, CNN ran a Special on Poverty in America that focused mainly on women — how easy it is for them to become homeless and impoverished while working more than 40 hours a week.
 
Impromptu Soup Kitchen
Situation 1: Homeless, Jobless, and Impoverished

Yes, it's hard to believe that poverty has spread to the proportions it has. Life is precarious. We are all under constant threat of annihilation: war, terror, hunger, joblessness, poverty. The Bible warns us not to forget, but somehow we do. In fact, its parables illustrate the fragility of life, even at the highest levels.

Yet, our egos tell us we've come a long way. Were in the home stretch. There's nothing more to accomplish, nothing wrong with wealth. And, per se, there isn't. Just like intelligence, it's what you do with it that counts. Only by balancing the material with the spiritual can we achieve success. The rest is ego driven. Yes, ego was needed in primitive times. No longer in a primitive state, we're still in survival mode, but the rules are changing. We no longer need more. In fact, less is now more! The ego will continue to serve a purpose, but it must be sublimated.

Bentov says we will all be enlightened — after a million more years of evolution. Probably exist in bodiless form. I think we will, if we are able to meet the challenges of survival.

If we didn't inhabit bodies, all our problems would vanish. Negative emotion, war, greed, violence, prejudice, fear would not exist. But we DO live in bodies that control our perceptions and our so-called needs. How do we get persons whose needs are boundless living next to persons who have nothing but a shopping cart full of plastic bags? What mechanism in the brain makes us believe we need more than our neighbor?
 
Coffee house comfort
Situation 2: Cozy, Well-fed, and Upward Mobile

These two images were captured within three blocks of each other, highlighting the contrast between generational poverty and relative security.

Bentov says the people in mental hospitals are the highly evolved. We just don't know how to communicate with them. And because they do not perceive the world in the same terms as "normal" people do or are unable to communicate in the language the material world, we institutionalize them. I don't know if he's joking, but every time I encounter a person with alcohol or drug addiction issues, I come away believing they are searching for redemption, that their issues are more spiritual than material. But they're stuck in an escape syndrome of drugs, alcohol, addiction, domestic violence. They are searching in all the wrong places and they can't find their way out.

When I ask a street person why he/she wants to "get high," they reply in much the same terms as a spiritual person explains why he meditates. It's not by accident that they use the term get high. Both seek release from material concerns.

Although I don't see meditation catching on in homeless shelters any time soon, I don't believe that conventional treatment methods are working either. Poverty has become an endemic issue; it's sapping our resources, bequeathing more of the same to more and more people, many of them yet unborn.
I've go my double latte espresso. What have you got?
I've got my double latte espresso. What have you got?
And now that countries and states are legalizing not only pot but also heroine and other drugs, more and more people are going to give up and drop out permanently. It's no longer a question of reform; we need a change of consciousness — a high built on true spiritual foundations. Without drugs or alcohol.

Bigger government isn't the answer. That hasn't worked in the past and it won't work in the future. The answer is people turning away from physical gratification, exploring the metaphysical potential within each of us.

Realistically, many eons of evolution are needed before the tide raises all boats. Or so it seems to me. But I'd like it to be generations instead of eons. Surprise me!

2 comments:

  1. Extremely well said. People that have drug and other addictions are in fact more advanced. Due to their greater levels of awareness, accepting or living in life's dysfunction becomes more difficult. When a person moves towards recovery, it is a beautiful gift. He or she is recovering their true self. If they can re-format their awareness to recognize the subtleties of life, it can and will be a beautiful thing. The addict is not the guilty party, just more advanced and we must learn to have compassion for these individuals as they must learn compassion for themselves.

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