The Endless Cycle of Stuff.

Throw away industry and profit, and there won’t be any thieves.

Verse #19 from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.

I don’t take these lines to mean to stop working toward bettering oneself and the world around you. No, these lines are telling us the more we overvalue “stuff” the more there will be those who covet that “stuff.” The more we focus on our material wealth the more there will always be those who want that wealth. It is an endless cycle. As soon as you express an interest in something, as soon as you desire it, someone else will want it too. Ever notice how the prices of things go up the more people crave those things? Yet as soon as the craze dies down you can get those same items all over the place for dirt cheap. Prices go up and up and up until people stop being willing to pay such outrageous prices. Then the bubble bursts and the prices all drop. This happens every year when summer vacation season approaches and the gasoline prices start to get jacked up. Supply and demand.

In your own life, where might you be overvaluing your material goods? Where might you be more concerned about acquiring more than about living a good and honorable life? Where might you be over extending and over working yourself just to get something that’s bigger, better, and more because your neighbor, friend, or family has one also? Where do you have an excess amount of – whatever – because you “have to” have it? Think about whether your material goods and owning more has become more important than spending time with your children or spouse. Think about whether you are overly concerned with how much money is in your bank account. Think about your credit cards bills and what you put on them. Was that a need or was it greed that caused you to purchase whatever items you are still paying off now?

We definitely live in a materialistic society, where owning more stuff is what keeps our economy going. Of course it is not wrong to want a better life, to want to have to be unconcerned if the bills are going to get paid, or to not worry about whether there is going to be food on the table. This is absolutely not a bad thing. However, when having more becomes all that matters and all that you think about, when you are buying stuff with credit cards because the newest game system is out and you have to have it, when you pay insane amounts of money to own this or that brand, when all of those things become more important than your connection to the Tao, the universe, your family, friends, and neighbors, then that is when we have forsaken the Tao and are walking the path of destruction. So think about where in your life “the stuff” may have become more important than the Way. Think about why you go to work everyday. Is it because you love your job, or is it to pay the bills? Are you motivated by the things you can own or the joy and passion for the work? Where has the stuff become more important than the path we walk and the people with whom we share it?

 

In love and light,

Celina

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