To live simply is to exist within the basic needs we all have. Food and shelter is required. Spirit messengers add to this list – family and study. Family, because we are born into the world with support. A structure that is usually designed to mold us into better people, before the character of our past lives begin to intrude during our late teens. And study, because we are put on earth to acquire the attributes we sorely need and to break down the flaws in our personality.
All else is dross. It is the waste of the soil surrounding the precious mineral. We are the diamond that must be polished. The events of physical life is the grinding stone. Anything which subtracts from reforming the black holes in our self, delays our spiritual progress.
The spirit Emmanuel tells us:
“The spiritual wealth acquired by means of arduous toil, of profound understanding, of victory over oneself, and an incessant effort, is the only thing that will confer on the spirit a position of genuine superiority and lasting well-being beyond the transformations imposed by the grave, and such a lofty achievement will only become possible after the spirit has surrendered completely to the Father for the grandeur of the Divine Endeavor.
Of course, individuals influenced by others may receive big salaries. However, we need to realize that this can change at any time, or that these assets can be transferred to someone else by the temporary holder. Nevertheless, when workers use their abilities selflessly for endeavors of the good and put the objectives of God’s Work above their personal whims, struggling, loving, suffering and surrendering to him, they will certainly acquire eternal and non-transferable gold.”[i]
Therefore, time spent accumulating excess capital to enjoy transitory luxuries are not a good investment, when evaluated over multiple lives. Yes, one should reward oneself for making progress and work must be accomplished to ensure a comfortable life for one’s family. But striving for material goods beyond a certain point becomes a distraction to the main purpose of life on this planet.
I think back of the time invested I spent playing golf. The rounds I played, the hours at the driving range, and the equipment I bought all contributed to using up my free time on the weekends and the occasional week night. I used this time for myself, to get away from work, from family, from stress.
In reality, it could have been any sport, hobby, or pastime, it was all meant to take myself out of the drudges of the real world and let me concentrate on something I wanted and enjoyed. It was an escape.
There was nothing inherently bad in my pursuit of a better handicap. It was more that I was single minded. I didn’t use the time spent on the course to be with nature. I didn’t have conversations with friends about the deeper meaning of life. And I didn’t take the time to compare my dedication to the sport to my dedication for self-improvement.
I could have and should have combined the two. I lost the opportunity to exercise my swing, with the knowledge that perfection comes with practice and repetition. Instead of only using the dedication for golf, I should have employed the lessons I learned in other parts of my life.
This is the essence of simplicity – reuse. Exercising my patience, the need for training, the installation of good habits, and analysis of past performance … all things that need to become part of everyday life. Not just utilized in one aspect.
Another aspect of simplicity is to keep your life uncluttered. How many of us long for this, and yet, how difficult. It seems life demands numerous acquisitions. There is always one more thing we need to buy. As we build up a pile of possessions, we become responsible for them. They must be kept, maintained, and safeguarded.
In our desire to have certain goods, we focus our energies on earning and saving money so we may purchase them. The spirit Joanna notifies us where this will lead:
“Conventionally, those who scrimp and save will become wealthy. Almost always, however, they grow stingy by falling in love with their assets, thus becoming their prisoner.
Those who become rich this way live in constant anxiety due to fluctuations in the exchange rate, the stock exchange and securities. They are poor in the higher sentiments and are victims of financial greed.
Wealth per se is neither good nor bad; it depends on who uses it and how it is used.
Wealth easily generates attachment and the fear of losing it; it impoverishes others as it sleeps in the coffers of usury; allowing poverty to become widespread.”[ii]
We become trapped by our material desires and experience stress in holding and growing wealth. Whereas, Joanna explains those who are the true possessors of spiritual wealth are the best givers. They release themselves of excess and retain only that which is required.
Wealth acquired honestly and put to work helping others to be employed is the intended use of capital on our earth. Stocks and bonds can be vehicles of good, creating companies and investments in the future. When Joanna refers to the coffers of usury, she is describing financial arbitrage, whereby large financial firms generate revenue merely by trading securities for profit only, not for building any tangible asset, or other forms of pure manipulation which benefits no one, except the instigators.
Therefore, to be successful at accumulating wealth is certainly not detrimental – it is the obsession of wealth that is the danger. Unfortunately, this need has been built within us as a survival mechanism and it is one that needs to be contained and eventually erased.
Joanna explains the cause of our obsession and its effects:
“The whole anthropological inheritance is rooted in the basic automatisms of physical survival; in the struggle with other species; in foresight by storing up goods that will ensure the continuation of life; in procreation and the defense of offspring and property … To guarantee such things, humans have become bellicose and distrustful, and have developed the preservation instinct, from the sharpening of their sense of smell to the intuitive perception of danger.
Since these basic, indispensable needs are designed as part of their inner world, humans are involved in an ongoing struggle, often weaved of endless suffering because they lack reflection and the ability to distinguish between what is essential and what is superfluous.
Imprisoned within the small circle of such needs, even as they become more educated, their level of values remains the same, not really transformed their objectives and achievements. All of their accomplishments may be summed up in the physiological, inferior principles of immediate results and fleeting significance.
When everything is in place and abundant, they fall prey to the fear of loss, of being usurped, and they dive headlong into the craze of wanting for more and more, so as to be protected against the so-called uncertainties of fate and life. If they experience lack, because they have not amassed as much as they would have liked in order to feel safe and secure, they become anxious. This is due to their mistaken notion about life and its goals.
Of course, people cannot live without a minimum of material resources, a dignified, social and balanced existence. However this minimum of resources is enough to meet and support other psychological, higher values which place individuals above the oscillating circumstances of having and not having.”[iii]
Hence, our quest for material satisfaction is embedded deep within us and must be eradicated through multiple existences. It is in pursuit of simplicity that we arrive at the right mixture of possessions and life.
The key point in Joanna’s explanation is her sentence, “This is due to their mistaken notion about life and its goals.” She is telling us, that our life’s blueprint was laid down before our birth and our single mindedness of amassing wealth will either be allowed or not depending on the lessons we must suffer through. If we weren’t destined to be wealthy, then at some point, whatever we thought we were going to keep forever, will evaporate. And the lesson will proceed according to plan.
Therefore, saving for a rainy day is prudent, but storing away protection for multiple lifetimes, for family and beyond, is spitting against the wind. The spirit world will determine who gets what and at the correct time. Nothing you or anyone else can do will stop it.
Thus, moderate your desires. Plan ahead and be conservative, but beyond a certain point, any capital saved away will be useless and the effort involved in gathering more is not worth the return on investment. Time spent would have had larger returns in spiritual reflection and personal betterment.
After money, we desire for what it can buy – pleasure. This is only natural, after all, we work hard and we should play hard, right? To an extent, yes.
Unfortunately we live in a world of propaganda. We are bombarded with messages to slip underneath our rational brain and connect to our feelings. Without a base of morality, a set of precepts which anchor our desires to the reality of our existence, we are prone to chase one illusion after another.
We live in an age designed to test our resistance. Spiritism has fully communicated, via Spiritist mediums, that we live in an ultra-materialistic society, and that it is up to us, to rebalance our lives and our culture to a more rational state of affairs.
The spirit Joanna exposes what is occurring to many of us at the present:
“In the relentless pursuit of pleasure, people go from one sensation to the next, without realizing that the instability causes the anxiety responsible for the overwhelming suffering that threatens to plunge them into despair. Until they decide to choose legitimate values over those they deem meaningful, but which are mere illusions, they will find it very hard to commit to a path that will bring about peace.
Living under the demands of a machine that imposes real needs and predisposes them to imaginary and disturbing ones, people opt for the latter. These entail the sensations of the domineering ego, pressuring them to pursue the coarsest aspirations at the expense of the subtle, ennobling ones that thrive in selflessness, high-minded effort, self-denial, and the cultivation of the inner life in the realm of the spirit over matter.
The body should be regarded as a transitory instrument for the eternal being, a temporary sanctuary for the higher purpose of enabling the soul to evolve by means of the enlightening experience it affords it in the moral, spiritual and intellectual arenas, as well as by the practice of virtue.”[iv]
Our civilization is in a battle in which one side is attempting to eradicate any semblance of a Higher Intelligence. They are encouraging the idea of the absolute isolation of humankind. That we are mere organic beings, brought forth by random acts of evolution, and living in a physical world devoid of any feelings, except what we manufacture.
Their postulation is the old Epicurean philosophy that pleasure is the greatest good. Modern consumerism goes beyond that starting point and stresses that one should work hard for luxuries and only in comparison with the few chosen idols of extremely rich or famous people should you consider your own worth.
Only by aping the truly grotesque way of living, with large mansions, designer labels on practically everything, and retinues of faithful followers can one truly judge their place on earth. To achieve less is failure … everything is measured in coin.
Spiritism exposes this as a mirage. Allan Kardec brought to us the Third Revelation, which informs us of the spirit realm and our purpose on earth, during our incarnation. The accumulation of goods is baggage that can’t be sent forward. It disappears as we depart from the physical life. The years of self-indulgent luxuries earn us nothing for our spiritual ascent.
The certitude of immortality erases the overwhelming desire for all transitory possessions. It places in perspective the importance of material goods and pleasures. It allows us to gauge for ourselves, when we need that little reward, to recharge our batteries, or that new acquisition, only when it serves a real purpose.
Every up and down in life is there for a reason, and everything is of consequence – good and bad. Hence, our actions have real meaning and repercussions. The more we simplify our life and instill productive habits, the easier we shall sail through life. And the wonderment of the spirit realm awaiting us shall be even more astonishing than we could ever imagine.
Instilling Simple Habits
The spirit Emmanuel spoke to us about habits in the book Thought & Life:
“Habit is the accumulation of mental reflexes whose function is to induce routine.
We inherit thousands of years of repeated experiences, each one similar to the other. Up to now we have been like a boat carried away by a river of habits to which we have offered no resistance.
Therefore, with few exceptions, we have become consumers of other people’s thoughts by an automatic reflex action of the mind. Consequently, we exaggerate our needs and refuse to adopt simple standards of living which could make our life easier. We then become defensive regarding our demands and cruel towards our neighbor; and when we hurt that person, we hurt ourselves.
This also causes us to create a complex mechanism of caution and distrust that reaches beyond the need of self-preservation. We become passionately possessive, thus creating mental-reflexes of egotism, pride and fear, in a vain desire to elude Divine Laws. In most instances, we act like inattentive and unfaithful workers who neglect the valuable resources which allow us to serve with dignity. Instead, depressed and disquieted, we bring suffering upon ourselves.
In general, the human race lives this recurring cycle of ignorance and does not want to counteract it. We seek to deceive ourselves after birth, only to become completely disillusioned after death. Thus we are imprisoned in the confines of an illusion-disillusion syndrome. Century after century we return to tread the same road from where we were expected to go forward.
However, we should not by any means disregard a constructive routine. Through it people evolve in space and time to attain the resources that dignify their lives.
Evolution demands that we develop new habits, that we detach ourselves from lower forms, and walk towards higher stages of existence.
This is why we see in Christ a divine landmark of human renewal – a whole program of basic spiritual transformations. Without violence of any form, He altered the ‘moral standards’ by which the Earth had lived for several thousand years. He offered the practice of forgiveness to replace systemic condemnation and to replace the usual racism. He offered the concept of genuine brotherhood. To uplift sadness and discouragement He gave us the beatitudes – as a comfort to the afflicted who know how to wait, and to the righteous who know how to suffer.
Jesus’ apostleship becomes a resplendent set of reflexes aimed at the redemption of the human way. He taught the virtue of simplicity when He began His pilgrimage amongst humanity that originated in the manger. His death on the cross – taught us serenity, patience and belief in the resurrection and eternal life.”[v]
Programming simple habits into our mind is not fast or easy. As Emmanuel pointed out, our habits are the culmination of many past lives. They served us well in our quest for survival on a primitive planet, where the rule was kill or be killed. But now, on a planet of atonement, where in our lives, we must repair past mistakes and learn the lessons provided us, we need to begin to cast off the hoarding instinct and other tribal attributes.
The earth is destined to be a planet of regeneration, where hate, envy, and injustice is greatly reduced. To be allowed to live future lives in this paradise, we must earn our entrance. Retooling our habits is part of the price.
A good place to start is to make a habit of forgiveness. Let the old way of holding tight to perceived slights and insults free and fast forward to deleting memories that promote primitive emotions. Stress will be greatly reduced. The spirit world will concern itself with teaching any transgressors – you have better mountains to conquer.
Next, determine what possessions you actually need, not what you desire. Slim down to what is absolutely necessary if possible, or at least a close approximation.
Work to free yourself of debt, except the obligatory house mortgage, which provides shelter. There is no reason to be anxious about paying off debt for the accumulation of luxuries you don’t need. Living within your means is the straightest path to harmony.
Learn to enjoy the simple things – your family, friends, studying, gardening, and helping the community.
Once you begin to ignore the calls for more and more and turn your focus inward. You start to enjoy the natural pleasures of life. Beauty in nature and in people becomes apparent. You can detect the plans of the spirit world in all aspects of life.
It is an apparent contradiction that to prioritize improving yourself, you actually become more awake and aware of the outside world. But it’s true. As you shed negative emotions which cloud your thoughts, your brain becomes sharper and your sight extended. You begin to see, with your senses and your mind.
We see the world more clearly. We understand the reasons for bad behavior and the necessity to encourage good behavior. The goods that enticed us before, become unimportant. And the longing for temporary luxury turns into indifference.
The earth was made for us. Our physical bodies were created and evolved to hold our spirits. Earth is the place where we are supposed to make great strides in beautifying our personality. Our future as a bright angel is waiting.
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., The Way, the Truth and the Life, EDICEI, pp.283-284
[ii] Franco, Divaldo, Times of Health and Conscientiousness, Leal Publisher, p. 35
[iii] Franco, Divaldo, Life: Challenges and Solution, Leal Publishing, pp. 136-137
[iv] Franco, Divaldo, Plentitude, Leal Publishing, p. 75
[v] Xavier, F. C., Thought & Life, EDICEI, pp. 77-78