In our thoughts we do spend our time on productive matters. We wake up, get ready for work, commute, work, commute back home, eat dinner, watch TV or surf the internet (all necessary to decompress after work), and then the cycle starts all over again. We do this in order to make a living. We contribute to a company or organization; in other words we are productive.
During the weekends, we get the required chores done around the house, with some time left over to rest. Well-deserved after five straight days of dawn to dusk grind. And if we have children, our small slice of free time is set to almost zero.
This is the deadening rhythm of our modern society. We eek out what little pleasures we are able – thinking all the while that we deserve our occasional down time, after so much dedication to making money for an organization whose leadership thinks little or not at all about us.
Such is the kernel of our modern lives. Now I exaggerate the monotony and for many people, who truly enjoy their work and the balance of their lives, I am completely off the mark. But what I wish to emphasize is the daily routine, in which we trade our time and talent for money.
Our notion of time spent on productive matters is centrally focused on this trade of time for a reward. The more our time is worth – the more profit that can be made from our labor – the more recompense. As we trade our time, during the work day, we engage in many conversations, meetings, and interactions with others – most deal with the task at hand or pleasantries to grease the daily effort to hit the targeted goal.
Is this what the spirit realm means by “Time spent on productive matters”? First, we must explore what the spirit world considers productive use of time.
There is a revealing chapter titled “Work” in the book Thought & Life by the spirit Emmanuel, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, which illustrates the role work plays in our physical and spiritual existences.
“If we wish to mentally register the light of Higher Planes, we must be willing to embrace work as our daily sustenance.
In the past, we looked upon work as something belonging to the lower classes or to condemned slaves.
Schools, the arts, housework, industry and farming were previously assigned to slaves while the supposedly free lived in a state of comfortable idleness. Today, however, we know the law of work is the path to freedom. Without this law the mental world would fall into slumber and stagnation. To flee its dictates is like stepping to the roadside to watch the traffic of evolution pass, leaving behind all those who chose the illusion of laziness.
The man who practices deception will not only suffer for the unfortunate act of stealing what belongs to the General Good, he will regret the misfortune of having prepared for himself a prison cell that stifles his best spiritual faculties. The lower regions are a beehive of activity.
Beyond the obligation to work principle, though we are remunerated, we must reach a point where we feel the pleasure to serve.
In the natural sequence of our development on Earth, our incarnated spirit is compelled to a continuous struggle in order to survive. Man receives the water, the sun and the sustaining atmosphere for free. However, to assure his physical well being, he has to labor and suffer for the protein and carbohydrates he needs.
Although captive to the requirements of the material plane in which he dwells for a time, he can nevertheless begin to experience the elation of voluntary service to mankind, once he opens his soul to the reflection of the Divine Sphere.
Action transform the environment.
Service transforms man.”[i]
The spirit Emmanuel describes the process whereby we must learn to labor, first to supply our basic needs, next for higher desires – in this act of effort we are creating habits of productive activity.
We see this in our daily lives. The parent who retired, but who must keep busy. The neighbor who is independent, but volunteers and runs around more than when she used to get paid for her time. Most people, after a lifetime of functioning at an aspect of gainful employment are unable and unwilling to slow down. They have programmed themselves to stay busy and useful. They have a sense of wishing to serve.
Whereas, during our years toiling in a nine to five job, we tell ourselves we are only doing it for the money, we actually want both. We need the task and the compensation.
We enjoy helping our friends, neighbors, and family. Usually, when we look back at our lives, the most satisfying times are those of collective effort and service.
All of this sets us up for what is ahead in the spirit world:
“In the higher realms of spirit, work is not imposed on anyone. A person who is conscious of truth understands that doing good attunes him to the Love of God. He surrenders to this fact of his own free will.
This is why in the higher realms he who serves progresses towards the heights of a glorious immortality. He reproduces within himself the marvels of Heaven that surround us everywhere.”[ii]
Therefore, productive use of time is more than gainful employment, the act of creating an object or serving … it is the process of instilling the habit and pleasure of effort spent for the benefit of others; outside of our own enjoyment. Although we derive happiness in service to the greater good.
Rewards on Earth
In our quest from childhood to adolescence to young adulthood to middle age to old age – we often start out as lazy children (at least according to our parents!) then we realize the positive attributes of applying ourselves. We finally mature into a young man or woman who knows how to study and pass the tests before us.
When we enter the job market, we are ready to start earning, after all of those years of toiling for a piece of paper instead of a paycheck. We become fascinated with handling our own money and determine to spend it on ourselves. There is an entire list of necessities we feel we must buy to set up our own household. We become obsessed with earning more to pay for what we perceive as the absolute minimum required to be comfortable.
After our education is complete we step on the treadmill and we don’t realize anything else. We construct a laser focus on gaining more wealth.
I lost my twenties and thirties in a haze of the pursuit of more. I have memories of mostly work. Of striving to climb up the ladder of management. I have fleeting glimpses of vacations and mostly of accumulating great debt and wondering how to pay it off. I dedicated myself, as so many others did, in consumption.
I never gave a second thought to helping the community. I didn’t sit and think about my or my family’s spiritual health. And I didn’t have time to let the love of God and Jesus inside me. Instead, I was busy working, ever working; trying to figure out how to increase my wages.
My family shared my desire for wealth and what it could buy. Our lives revolved around finding more material goods to purchase. Happiness was going to the mall and finding something to take home. My trash cans were full of boxes, store bags, and wrapping material.
In the book The Way, the Truth and the Life, by the spirit Emmanuel, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, a chapter starts out with:
“’Now who is going to get what you amassed for yourself?’ – Jesus (Lk. 12:20)
Within all human groups beats the concern with making money. The spirit of profit reaches the simplest areas of life. Children who have barely left infancy display a desire to selfishly accumulating things. Nowadays, mothers abandon their homes to babysitters for several hours of the day in order to enjoy the lucrative lifestyle. In this way, most people turn their evolutionary progress into a stress-filled race.
Beyond the grave – the final stop for all who have left the cradle – the truth is waiting and asks:
‘So, what have you brought with you?’
The unfortunate ones will answer that they accumulated physical assets with which they intended to ensure their own and their loved ones’ peace-of-mind.
However, when their achievements are examined, they find out that such victories are crushing defeats instead. They hold no value for the soul, nor do they bear the stamp of lasting goods.”[iii]
If I had not discovered Spiritism, with the help and guidance of my spirit mentors, I would have answered, “I have brought absolutely nothing, except regrets.”
I would have spent my entire life in the same cycle that I started out of college. Desperately thinking of how to earn more, because of my tendency to continue spending more than I earned. After all, the only happiness I could think of was the pleasure that money could attain.
I was one of the billions on our planet who have been educated and lured into the consumer society. Where God, devotion, spirituality, and living frugally are frowned upon and ridiculed. Thanks heavens for those who had the strength to live outside of the vast and wide treadmill of buy, buy, and more buy to be examples of what life could be; free of excessive encumbrances.
While I understand the desire to accumulate to provide for the needs of your loved ones, we must think about what receiving something for nothing entails. Working hard to achieve a goal places the attainment at a higher level. If you buy your daughter a car, then the car becomes just an object that can be replaced. But if your daughter found odd jobs, worked hard during the summer, and saved for years to afford a car, then she can see, every day, what real work brings.
Real work brought her a car, but more importantly it taught her the lesson that applying dedication and perseverance brings victory. She will now hold her car as more than a hulk of steel and technology that can be easily replaced – but as a reward for her sweat. She will evaluate that car in relation to the effort she put into it. She will be proud of her accomplishment.
I bought a smart phone for my son. He put his phone in his jacket pocket and left his jacket on the ground. It was an expensive iPhone. The jacket and the phone were both stolen. Then I made the mistake of replacing the iPhone with another one. Months later he was paddle boarding on the water, and, of course he had his phone on him, feel into the water, thereby wasting one more phone. It didn’t seem to bother him, since dad would buy another one.
Unfortunately for him, I got a little smarter, I found an old phone, not a smart phone, it was only good for calling and texting, and gave it to him. Telling him that he would have to earn the money to buy what he wanted. A week later, a friend of his accidently kicked the old phone off the dock. Although why he would leave a phone on a dock is beyond me.
He was given a great gift, he could now experience life without a mobile phone, just like how I grew up. He found a job and earned the money to buy a phone he wanted. He takes better care of it than he did the ones I purchased. When I mentioned how carefully he treated his new phone, he told me that he had too because he bought it! We both laughed.
The moral of the story is that giving something away without cost could be the worst thing you could do. We are not meant to live on earth without earning our keep, without understanding that anything worth owning is worth working for. If we are given a gift, it may be a welcome diversion, but it doesn’t become precious in the same manner that we cherish that which we labored hard to attain.
The spirit world fervently desires us to apprehend that effort, not just the act of working, but the satisfaction of a job well done and the pleasure of seeing the results is a gift. This insight should be ingrained into our character, because it will be a prerequisite for advancing in the spirit hierarchy.
The complicated process, at least for me, was in learning how to be productive in working for a living and in spiritual growth. I fully recognize that many, more enlightened people, completely understand the need to allocate time and space for spiritual enlightenment. Regrettably, I was not one of those.
First, for those who have been hardworking and productive throughout their career and have made a substantial amount of money – there is nothing to be ashamed about. As long as you gained it honorably. Spiritism tells us:
“Money does not imply evil. Instead, the Apostle to the Gentiles explains that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. People are not to be condemned for their financial wealth but for their incorrect use of it, for it is by means of the obsession of ownership that pride and idleness – those two ghouls of human misfortune – set up shop within souls, thus compelling them to wander away from the light eternal.
The money that comes into your hands in the correct way, which only your conscience can examine under the divine light, is a friend looking for your wholesome guidance and humanitarian counsel. You will answer to God for the guidance you have given it; but woe to you if you have used this beneficial power in the dark edifice of iniquity.”[iv]
Hence, use your capital wisely and not for any nefarious purposes and you are free to live in any or as many houses you wish and drive multiple cars – don’t feel guilty. Your monetary success was all part of the plan, and if you are still the nice and humble person you have always been – then you are victorious beyond measure.
As for me, I never had that problem. A plethora of riches was not part of my life plan this time around. I was born into middle class and I will most probably exit middle class. Not a bad place to be. It means I have had to learn to constantly hustle for my wages. I never had the luxury to sit idle and wait for the next opportunity. When one job ended, I had to quickly find another.
My problem was that in the pursuit of living from paycheck to paycheck, I felt that I had no time for anything else. Of course, I actually did … it was all a matter of priorities. I chose to rest and reward myself for working hard – not thinking of anything else but my current desire.
I truly believe the spirit world knew they were working with a stubborn and materially focused person. They read my personality perfectly and realized that subtle hints wouldn’t force me to expand my horizon to become spiritually aware.
Even marrying a woman who was kind, gentle, gracious, and religious didn’t deter me from my single minded dedication to material yearnings. My poor wife, who had to put up with me, was raised a good Catholic girl and had to teach me to make the sign of the cross with the correct hand motions, so she wouldn’t be embarrassed when I met her parents. It’s harder to learn for a left-handed person than most people appreciate, since I have the tendency to take whatever people show me and do the opposite. I found if I did the motions fast enough, no error would be detected.
Hence, I had to be shocked. And I was. I have written about this before In my book The 7 Tenets of Spiritism), but to summarize, a future event was foretold to me with great detail. Such specificity as to make it most improbable that it could be a random guess of what would happen more than nine to ten months in the future.
From that seed, my spare time was taken up in research and discovery of predestination. My spare time, once dedicated to mindless watching of TV or equally mundane pastimes, was now totally concentrated on learning how could my life be planned out and what does that mean to my entire mental foundation and philosophy.
Through this endeavor I found Spiritism, or rather, I was led to find Spiritism. I didn’t know it yet, but my life was changed.
Finding out that an entire other world was regulating and watching us didn’t consciously lead me to portion out my day between material and spiritual endeavors. What occurred was a natural progression.
As I read and made the teachings of the Spiritist Doctrine a part of me, the old cravings to mindlessly satisfy myself in front of the television gradually faded away. I found enjoyment in learning about why I was here and how I could fashion myself to be ready for my journey back to where I came.
There is a chapter in the book Our Daily Bread, by the spirit Emmanuel, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, which lays out the importance of being spiritually productive:
“’Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness, does not overtake you.’ – Jesus (Jn. 12:35)
Meditative persons will encounter divine thoughts as they analyze the past and the future. They will see themselves placed between two eternities – that of the days that have passed and that of the days yet to come.
As they examine the treasures of the present, they will discover their precious opportunities.
In the future, they foresee the blessed light of immortality, whereas in the past, they behold the darkness of their ignorance, the wrongs they committed, and the experiences they handled badly. A crushing majority of people have no other picture regarding the recent or remote past except one comprised of ruin and disenchantments. This compels them to reevaluate the resources at hand.
Thus, in spite of being transitory, human life is the flame that puts you in contact with the work you need to do in order to evolve rightly. By taking advantage of this blessed opportunity, you can learn, attain, accomplish and reunite; you can redeem, correct, reconcile, and enrich yourself in the Lord.
Reflect on the Master’s remark and you will grasp its enlightening meaning. ‘Walk while you have the light,’ He said.
Take advantage of the gift of time you have received by doing spiritually constructive work.
Lift yourselves from your lower condition by acquiring a higher understanding.
Without the signs of improvement and accomplishment as you go along, you will be dominated by the darkness; that is, you will waste your sacred opportunity by turning to unworthy impulses, and after the death of the body, you will return to the same place of darkness from which you emerged in order to climb new steps on the sublime mountain of life.”[v]
Reading and studying about a hidden world, an invisible dimension is exciting, revealing, edifying, and life changing. It will replace older non-productive pastimes with a world of infinite possibilities. A universe in which you have an eternity to fully explore.
Learn about the spirit realm, your place in it and how we are guided to the path of learning. Read my series of three books.
[i] Xavier, F.C., Thought & Life, Roundtable Publishing Limited, pp. 33-34
[ii] Xavier, F.C., Thought & Life, Roundtable Publishing Limited, p. 34
[iii] Xavier, F.C., The Way, the Truth and the Life, EDICEI, p. 125
[iv] Xavier, F.C., The Way, the Truth and the Life, EDICEI, pp. 127-128
[v] Xavier, F. C., Our Daily Bread, EDICEI, pp. 25-26