Material Desires. Material Life. Greed.
God gives the things of this earth
a certain color and variety and value,
causing childish folk to argue over it.
When a piece of dough is baked
in the shape of a camel or lion,
these children bite their fingers excitedly in their greed.
Both lion and camel turn to bread in the mouth,
but it's futile to tell this to children.
Rumi, Mathnawi VI, 4717-4719, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.74.
Everything animate and inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong. Sri Isopanisad, Mantra 1.
Pray because you are in great temptation and danger because the world and material goods lead you into slavery. Satan is active in this plan. ( ) Our Lady of Medjugorie, June 25, 1989. Words from Heaven, P.185.
Their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have a mouth and cannot speak, eyes and cannot see. (...) Their makers shall become like them, (and) all who trust in them. Psalms, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom, P.204.
When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty, and you are poverty." The Gospel of Thomas, 3.
Dear children, I am calling you to prepare yourselves for Christmas by means of penance, prayer, and works of charity. Dear children, do not look toward material things, because then you will not be able to experience Christmas. ( ). Our Lady of Medjugorie, December 5, 1985. Words from Heaven, P.225.
Dear children, you are absorbed with material things, but in the material you lose everything that God wishes to give you. ( ) Our Lady of Medjugorie, April 17, 1986.Words from Heaven, P. 230.
Dear children, I beseech you to take up the way of holiness beginning today. I love you and, therefore, I want you to be holy. ( ) Do not attribute importance to petty things. Long for heaven. Thank you for responding to my call. Our Lady of Medjugorie, July 25, 1987. Words from Heaven, P.245-6.
( ) You get lost easily in material and human things, and forget that God is your greatest friend. Therefore, my dear children, draw close to God so He may protect you and guard you from every evil. ( ). Our Lady of Medjugorie, February 25, 1992. Words from Heaven, P.265.
( ) do not seek comfort in material things; rather God. ( ) I am looking for your prayers, that you accept me and accept my messages as in the first days of the apparitions. And only then, when you open your hearts and pray, will miracles happen. ( ) Our Lady of Medjugorie, September 25, 1993. Words from Heaven, P.273.
Dear children, I invite you to decide again to love God above all else. In this time, when due to the spirit of consumerism, one forgets what it means to love and to cherish true values, I invite you again, little children, to put God in the first place in your life. Do not let satan attract you through material things but ( ) decide for God who is freedom and love. Choose life and not death of the soul ( ) Our Lady of Medjugorie, March 25, 1996. Words from Heaven, P.282.
Dear children! I invite you to reflect about your future. You are creating a new world without God, only with your own strength and this is why you are unsatisfied and without joy in the heart. ( ) Our Lady of Medjugorie, January 25, 1997. Words from Heaven, supplement.
The great tragedy of our age is the fact, if one may dare to say it, that
there are so many godless Christians - Christians, that is, whose religion is a
matter of pure conformism and expediency. Their "faith" is
little more than a permanent evasion of reality - a compromise with life.
In order to avoid admitting the uncomfortable truth that they no longer have
any real need for God or
any vital faith in Him, they conform to the outward conduct of others like themselves. And these "believers" cling together, offering one another an apparent justification for lives that are essentially the same as the lives of their materialistic neighbours whose horizons are purely those of the world and its transient values.
In order to counteract the danger of this spiritual paralysis, the Holy Father urges Christians to renew the fervour of their faith and to cultivate an interior life. In order to do this, we must read, we must pray, we must meditate, we must seek every possible contact with God Who sent His Son into the world to deliver men from the coldness and vanity of purely human religious forms. Merton, Thomas. The Living Bread. P. xxii. Submitted to L-Center Group by Gary Horn email@example.com
Many people cannot begin to feel the life-giving attraction for Divine Reality until they pass through the painful experiences associated with grasping a habitual enjoyment. This desperate grasping includes selfishly accumulating material wealth, arrogantly cultivating power over others, and welcoming flattery, as well as enjoying absurdly refined comforts and ever bizarre diversions. Ramakrishna, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom, P.44.
Let us live happily then, though we call nothing our own! We shall be like the bright gods feeding on happiness. Dhammapada, a collection of sayings attributed to Buddha, quoted after Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom, P.106.
If you overesteem great men, people become powerless. If you overvalue possessions, people begin to steal ... Tao Te Ching 3, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.161.
(...) If your happiness depends on money you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. Tao Te Ching 44, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.163. (OGN #562).
A keeper of monkeys .... said with regard to their rations of chestnuts that each monkey was to have three in the morning and four at night. But at this the monkeys were very angry, so the keeper said they might have four in the morning and three at night, with which arrangement they were all well pleased. Chuang Tzu, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.166.
Greed for enlightenment and immortality is no different than greed for material wealth .... Hua Hu Ching 59, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.173.
Riches are not from abundance of worldly goods, but from a contented mind. (...) God loveth those who are content. Hadith, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom, P.320.
Those who exist only to "eat, drink, and be merry," and to sleep, have no idea of the wonders of human life. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.63.
The greatest of all enemies of man is himself. (...) To remain in ignorance of your divine nature and to be overpowered by bad habits is to make an enemy of your own self. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.67.
Millions of people never analyze themselves. Mentally they are mechanical products of the factory of their environment, preoccupied with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, working and sleeping, and going here and there to be entertained. They don't know what and why they are seeking, not why they never realize complete happiness and lasting satisfaction. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.73. OGN#747, 2017-03-12.
Most of the world is like a mental hospital. Some people are sick with jealousy, others with anger, hatred, passion. They are victims of their habits and emotions. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.75.
Those who are products of the material ego suffer much and needlessly. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.77.
The belief that wine, sex experiences, and money will bring happiness is said by the sages to be the chief delusion that man must overcome in order to realize his true nature. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.86.
Liquor increases man's desires for money and sex, and it is therefore the worst evil of the three. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.86.
Everything in creation is a temptation to lure you from God. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.109.
People try to find happiness in drink, sex, and money, but the pages of history are filled with tales of their disillusionment. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.110.
Knowing God is more satisfying than the fulfillment of any earthly desire. Every lesser wish of your heart will be taken care of when you have Him who is the greatest Treasure. (...) But first you have to prove that you desire the Lord Himself more than His gifts. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.111.
All desires should be satisfied in the divine way. When you try to satisfy them in the wordly way, you only multiply your difficulties. If you learn to give every desire to God, He will see to it that your good desires are fulfilled and the harmful ones are overcome. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.122.
It is better (...) to work out or overcome all your desires now. They would be finished immediately and for all time in the supreme joy of God's presence; (...). Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.123.
In many cases desires lie hidden within the subconscious (...). If every day you sit quietly for a little while and analyze yourself, you will discover that you have many unsatisfied desires. They are like dangerous germs that you carry through life (...). Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.124.
The best course is to do away with all dangerous desires in this life, by discrimination, and to concentrate on your good desires. (...) Convince yourself, by reason and by good actions, that you are a child of God, made in His image, and rise above your moods and bodily habits. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.124.
(...) hidden away in the attic of your subconscious mind are many potentially harmful desires that one day may give you great trouble. It is important, therefore, to analyze yourself. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.124.
Wrong environment saps your will and invites wrong desires. Live with thieves and you think that is the only life. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.128.
Outside delusion is very strong; very few people can get away from the influences of outer environment. (...) Environment keeps you more or less engrossed; it never allows you to think of deeper realities. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.133.
Any time you become fascinated by some material creation close your eyes, look within, and contemplate its Source. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.168.
If you are getting tired of the life you are leading, and yet you go on filling it with more possessions and more desires for new experiences, you are on the wrong road. (...) Don't lead an unnatural existence, restlessly seeking happiness from a world that is powerless to bestow it. Life is too precious. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.198.
I, Koheleth, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven ... I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 1:12-14. Quoted after: Miriam Bokser Caravella, The Holy Name. P.61.
The problems of this world will always remain insurmountable. No one has ever solved them for all time to come, nor will anybody do so in the future. By following the teachings of the Saints or Masters, however, we can rise above the sphere of matter and mind so that pleasure and pain do not affect us. Maharaj Charan Singh. Quoted after: Miriam Bokser Caravella, The Holy Name. P.66.
We must satisfy our desires, or, by cultivating wisdom, do away with them altogether. Very few persons get off the wheel of birth and death by trying to satisfy their desires (...) it is the nature of desire that each time one "satisfies" it, the craving to repeat the experience simply increases its hold, unless one's mind is very strong. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.216.
Yesterday I was sitting in my room, looking back over my life, and I realized that everything in the outer world that had promised great happiness had deceived me; but one thing has never deceived me - my inner peace. (...) As I passed through various experiences over the years, that unchanging inner peace has been proof to me of the existence of God. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.245.
Each man rationalizes, "Well, others have been deceived, but I won't be." Nevertheless, he will be deceived. The only experience that is real, the only experience that brings happiness, is awareness of the presence of God. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.245.
The problem is not material possessions in themselves as much as the way we live our lives once we have them. The more possessions and riches we have, the more time we must provide for their care, maintenance, inventory, insurance, and protection and the less time we will have for prayer, for God and neighbor, for friendship, kindness, peace, and rest. Riches may enable us to buy things that may bring happiness for a short while--until we realize we are spending all our time taking care of all our things, and hardly any time actually enjoying our children, lovers, friends, or nature. Things are not the problem; the time it takes to buy things, have things, and take care of things is the problem. This is the fundamental wisdom of the vow of poverty. (...) The invitation to poverty is not an invitation to suffer deprivation, but rather to consider whether the things we have acquired are really serving us or are we serving them? ...Wayne Muller, Sabbath, 204-206. Submitted to Merton-L Discussion Group by Norman King.
It is something of Middle Class culture which is poisoning the Faith instead of slaking our thirst to honor God. And those who cannot distinguish what is bourgois, in what they believe, from what is Christian are crucifying God all over again with their trivial, complacent ignorance and bad taste and materialism and injustice. Thomas Merton, Run to the Mountain, P.158.
Technology was made for man, not man for technology. In losing touch with being and thus with God, we have fallen into a senseless idolatry of production and consumption for their own sakes. (...). We no longer know how to live, and because we cannot accept life in its reality life ceases to be a joy and becomes an affliction. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, P.222.
The beloved is called dil-aram ("that which gives the heart repose") because the heart finds peace through the beloved. How then can it find peace through anything else? All these other joys and objects of search are like a ladder. The rungs on the ladder are not places to stay but to pass through. The sooner one wakes up and becomes aware, the shorter the long road becomes and the less one's life is wasted on these "ladder rungs." Rumi, Fihi Ma Fihi #15, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.145.
If night never came, people would waste themselves
pursuing all that they desire.
They would give their own bodies to be consumed
for the sake of their desire and greed,
but night appears, a treasure of Mercy, (...)
Rumi, Mahnawi III, 3700 ..., quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.191.
Perhaps the mixture of satiety, boredom, violence and despair which characterizes our mass-society, comes from the impotence of well-fed bodies with empty and lost minds. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, P.202.
Technology was made for man, not man for technology. In losing touch with being and thus with God, we have fallen into a senseless idolatry of production and consumption foe their own sakes. (...) We no longer know how to live, and because we cannot accept life in its reality life ceases to be a joy and becomes an affliction. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, P.222.
The real trouble with "the world," in the bad sense which the Gospel condemns, is that it is a complete and systematic sham, and he who follows it ends not by living but by pretending he is alive, and justifying his pretense by an appeal to the general conspiracy of all others to do the same. It is this pretense that must be vomited out in the desert. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, P.339.
Do not develop a habit of associating with people who are materially minded and involved in worldly affairs. Live alone, or else with brethren who are detached from material things and of one mind with yourself. St. Evagrios the Solitary (345-399 C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.32
Through our anxiety about worldly things we hinder the soul from enjoying divine blessings and we bestow on the flesh greater care and comfort than are good for it. We nourish it with what is harmful and thus make it an adversary (...). St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.211.
Avarice, anger and dejection are all offshoots of gluttony. For the glutton needs money first of all, so as to satisfy his ever-present desire - even though it never can be satisfied. His anger is inevitably aroused against those who obstruct his acquisition of money, and in turn gives place to dejection when he proves too weak to get his way. St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.238.
Probably the reason why we act like this is because we never think about anything superior to the visible objects around us. We do not appreciate how much better the blessings of the spiritual world are than the tawdry attractions of this present world, which dazzle us with their specious glory and draw all our desire to them. St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.242.
Similarly, possessions superfluous to our bodily needs are an obstacle to virtue, and are strongly condemned by those capable of understanding the true nature of things. St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.245.
A devotee who can call on God while living a householder's life is a hero indeed. (...) He is blessed indeed who prays to Me in the midst of his worldly duties. He is trying to find Me, overcoming a great obstacle - pushing away, as it were, a huge block of stone weighting a ton. Such a man is a real hero. (...) Live in the world like a waterfowl. The water clings to the bird, but the bird shakes it off. Ramakrishna, quoted in: Harvey, Andrew (Ed). (2001). Teachings of the Hindu Mystics, P.101. OGN#656, 2015-02-15.
I am still so awfully centered on self. The pleasure principle is very strong in me. How much comfort or discomfort a thing will cause for me weighs too much in my judgment. Pennington, Basil. (1978). O Holy Mountain! Journal of a Retreat on Mount Athos. P.195.
The Holy Mountain is a true native land for all monks. After being immersed in it for these months, the first view of the burgeoning section of Ouranopolis made me very conscious of how alien is a pleasure-seeking, distracted way of life to the monk. I can appreciate why the monks generally are so reluctant to leave the Mountain. Pennington, Basil. (1978). O Holy Mountain! Journal of a Retreat on Mount Athos. P.199.
It seems hard, and very tragic, to believe in this atmosphere that many, perhaps the majority of men and women go through the day without any thought at all of God, pursuing short-range goals, seeking ephemeral happiness, with no notion of where their true happiness and the meaning of their lives lie. Pennington, Basil. (1978). O Holy Mountain! Journal of a Retreat on Mount Athos. P.247.
All desire has its source in the self. It is all a matter of choosing the right desire. Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. (2005). I am That. P.70.
Last updated: 2017/03/12.