15 July 2020
It Ain’t Easy Being Rich
The last essay presented the idea that It Ain’t Easy Being Human. Everyone has a cross or two to bear. Some, even more. That fact might lead us to be compassionate to most everyone.
We might think that being poor is a heavy cross to bear and makes it tough to pass through a human lifetime. But, believe it or not, being rich can be the harder row to hoe.
“How so?” you wonder.
After posting the last essay, we were reminded of some words by Madame Blavatsky quoted in our 2014 book called PHENOMENON: 13 Lives of the Millennium Man. In her latter years as a founder of the Theosophical Society, H.P.B. reflected that money in a man’s pockets is not always a boon. Poverty can have some advantages.
She wrote that, “The motto of the Headquarters of the T.S. should be -- ‘rigid justice to all.’ If it is right to care for the poor and those who suffer, it is as right to care for the rich and all those who will unavoidably be brought to far greater sufferings, unless warned and shown the true cause of all such Karmic sorrows. The poorer a man, the more sad his life, the nearer he is to the end of his punitive Karma; the richer his neighbour, the more full of pleasures his life, the nearer he is -- unless he acts in the right path -- [to] his Karmic doom. Help the poor, but pity the ignorant rich.”
Help the poor, but pity the rich.
Thoughts quite worth pondering. Madame Blavatsky seemed to be saying that the more we revel in the physical riches and pleasures of earth, the further we are from the goal of life. Pleasures distract us from real Truth, Love and Beauty. The simple Joys of human existence.
Most of us would agree that material riches are not the key to Happiness – the End-All Be-All. We might also look at the millionaires and billionaires spread about the world – and wonder about all the desires and temptations that monetary wealth can bring them. Today, there are regular examples of the rich falling from on high through lust and power and greed. Fortunately, we can count many wealthy among us who appear to have tamed their desires and use their fortunes to benefit the poor and thus the whole of humanity.
But, there are a host of humans – often the richest – who, passing through many lives, are presented in this lifetime with immense karmic challenges. Many of them fail as they reap what they have sown in lives past as well as the present one.
An old friend used to say, “Some’s good, more’s better.” He did so with a grin on his face. More and more of a good thing can create huge problems – and negate assets on our karmic balance sheet. Then, we have to turn around and start over.
At the same time, it may be worth considering for the moment the question: “Who are the rich?”
It seems to this observer that those who live in America and the modern West have been born into riches. Living in the USA in the 21st century, we are much wealthier than all but a tiny percentage of humans who have lived throughout history. And even today compared in so many ways to billions living around the world, WE are by far the richer. At least by material standards.
This brings to mind a conversation on the phone with Brother Tom around the time of the 2012 Presidential election. He was boosting Barack Obama because, “Romney knows nothing about the poor.”
Robert responded by saying, “Do you know any poor people?”
To which Tom mumbled, “Well, you can be poor if you don’t get a vacation.”
Brother had a point, from his way of thinking. But how close does lack of a vacation come to the rank poverty in which so many live? Millions eking out an existence on a few hundred dollars income a year.
We should throw in that often the very young, the poorest of the poor, and the simplest of humans can find Joy and Magic in small and worthless things. Maybe they have eyes and senses which many of us have lost along the way. Or maybe we are too busy to take in Nature and Wonder, like they do.
Should we not rank ourselves as being Rich? If so, then maybe we are to be pitied as we face constant temptations of plush, comfy, easy living.
How much do we bow to the material things which surround us?
Do we yield to temptation and bend our ways for physical comfort?
Do we forget to first seek the kingdom out of which all things come
Are we ready to give our riches to the poor and take up the Cross?
It ain’t easy being human. Rich or poor.
Still, it must be better and healthier and happier to be Rich in Spirit than Rich in $$$$?
Comments always welcome at theportableschool at gmail dot com.