Billionaire Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, offering their thoughts on how the nation can solve the growing Income Inequality gap (The Gates on How Philantrophy Can Help Income Inequality Gap) and a Millionaire Assembly Speaker in New York being arrested for allegedly taking bribes. (New York Assembly Speaker Arrested On Corruption Charges)
If this was not the reality of our world today, the disparity of the two pieces would seem like a cruel joke, especially when viewed from the perspective of "Gaining the Whole World and NOT Losing Your Soul" by avoiding Greed and Gluttony.
I say to you:
"Greed is more than wanting your fair share in life. Greed is a state of consciousness, where enough is never enough! It's an approach to life that demonstrates a paucity of spirit, where we withhold a compliment, or don't share a thought because it might give someone an 'edge.' Greed is the biggest illustrator of the veil with which many walk through life and is illustrious of the void that can occur when we walk through life separated from our Soul."
One story illustrates for us the fullness that occurs as a personality becomes more connected to its Soul, and the other shows the devastation that results when we operate separately, as a personality, from our Soul. Both men were "growing" through life with wealth...but in completely different ways!
Here we have a billionaire, Gates, who acquired his wealth, through stealth, by utilizing the gifts of Spirit within him. Starting out by knocking on the doors of major corporations, this billionaire learned much about their ways of operating yet wanted to offer something different. Step by step he built his company...and as he built it, his money grew...and grew...and grew...and grew and grew, making his business one of the world's largest companies today, Microsoft.
Bill Gates is one of the world's richest men, but if we were to look at his PR in the last 10 years, we would see that his preoccupation has not been to gain more and more. In fact, he seems more focused on how he can give back to the world and share the gifts that were so freely given to him.
We can assume for purposes of this blog that Sheldon Silver, the millionaire, also was a good man.
He wanted to do good by offering his time, talent and skills to serve the public. He may have had a good life all along, but he wanted more, i.e. he wanted to give more and be more to many. As Assembly Speaker of New York, he had acquired the "whole world" of power...and then...Was it Greed, or the absolute power of power itself?
|We pray, too, at Namaste' Wholistic |
for Sheldon Silver's vindication
Bill Gates' story is that of a man who, even if he started out wanting more and more, eventually became humbled by his accomplishments and wanted to share his gifts and wealth with the world. (See others doing the same: ("The Giving Pledge" ) The Assembly Speaker's story, based on the charges, speaks of a man who may have become corrupted by the seduction of money, power and greed. In whatever way the story ends for the millionaire in the court of law, we know that he already is having a day of reckoning with his Soul. We can only support his prayer on the day he was arrested:
“I hope I’ll be vindicated.”
For the rest of us who are not millionaires, much less billionaires, let their stories be a wake-up call for us. We can learn from these two public men and so many others who lie somewhere in between.
We do not have to search long and hard to see the many other billionaires, unlike Bill Gates, fighting hard to keep their billions to themselves.
The Income Inequality gap is widening. (Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Speaks on Widening Income Equality.) Many diligent men, like Bill Gates, are fighting hard to close this gap, but just as many are fighting just as hard to keep it open. Many wealthy men on the other side of Gates are working to influence appointment of people to Congress who would ensure they become richer and richer by keeping more and more of their wealth.
James Allen, born on November 28,1864, was a master teacher and author of spiritual books, articles and journals. Author of the best seller, "As A Man Thinketh," (1903) and "From Poverty to Power," (1901), his complete works have been compiled in "Mind is the Master." Here's a passage Allen offered on greed, as he and his family fed and observed eating patterns of birds in the Winter.
"If a small quantity of food be given them, they will eat it with comparative freedom from contention. But let a quantity of food which is more than sufficient for all be thrown to them, and fighting over the coveted provender at once ensues. Occasionally we would put out a whole loaf of bread, and then the contention of the birds became fierce and prolonged, although there was more than they all could possibly eat during several days. Some, having gorged themselves until they could eat no more, would stand upon the loaf and hover round it, pecking fiercely at all newcomers, and endeavoring to prevent them from obtaining any of the food. And along with the fierce contention there was noticeable a great fear. With each mouthful of food taken, the birds would look round in nervous terror, apprehensive of losing their food or their lives.
"....it is not scarcity that produces competition, it is abundance; so that the richer and more luxurious a nation becomes, the keener and fiercer becomes the competition for securing the necessaries and luxuries of life. Let a famine overtake a nation, and at once compassion and sympathy take the place of competitive strife; and in the blessedness of giving and receiving, men enjoy a foretaste of that heavenly bliss which the spiritually wise have found, and which all shall ultimately reach."But the power lies within each of us not to be overwhelmed or overcome by these seemingly stronger forces. We must hold to the Truth within us and not be seduced by the world to go the way of the world...and especially not to get greedy as our stock in life begins to rise. Eventually, with enough people on Earth awakening to the Truth, the good for all mankind can, and will, prevail.
"...for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth."- Luke 12:15Moving beyond the lessons of the billionaires and millionaires in the world, we each can begin in each moment to make a choice to eradicate greed in whatever small way we can.
- Greed does not only refer to money, it also refers to selfish thinking.
- Greed does not only refer to food, it also refers to wanting. more than your fair share.
- Greed does not only refer to the rich.
- Greed also refers to the middle class and even the poor, especially if they also carry a "me first," "me only" mentality.
We all can be greedy in our ways, if we act selfishly towards others and want everything for ourselves.
- We all can be greedy, if all we think about, and talk about, is ourselves and what benefits us.
- We all can be greedy if we think only about winning and others losing.
Is it selfish to want to be first?No.
Is it selfish to push others down, or away, so we can be first?
Yes. Can this behavior be considered greedy?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
There are those who believe the world works as they imagine it and that everything in the world has to do with them. Is that selfishness? No. But it is being self centered: This is when we are too interested in ourselves and have little care about the needs or feelings of other people.
Self -centeredness can turn into greediness when we believe everything in the world happens for us, or is about us. The world is huge! Each one of us has a role to play in it. We are not center stage and should not want to be center stage all the time. That, is an element of greed.
So whether it is that we're trying to grab more money, more food, more happiness or attention, it comes back to something basic: we have a void in our Soul. We need to get back to the connection within.
When we do, all the "stuff" that we seek...whether it's money, food, or attention...suddenly fall off as a dominant force in our lives. Greed? We begin to see the ugliness of it.
For Heaven's Sake: Do NOT start to beat yourself up when you notice your self-centered and greedy behavior! Self flagellation solves nothing! We'd all be black and blue, were we to begin taking score of the many, many times we've been selfish. Accept that your awakening to see greed in your actions and behavior is a gift you are giving to yourself!
Remember: No one starts out in the world being fully unselfish. No one starts out in the world seeking the best for others as well as himself.
This is a process of evolution. Bill and Melinda Gates were not born that way; as they grew wealthy they saw the uselessness of "mo money...mo money...mo money" as did these countless others.(The Billionaires Who've Signed The Giving Pledge.)
Awareness is the first key to breaking any tendency towards greed, so that you do NOT gain the whole world, then lose your soul.
I leave you with these two well-known biblical passages to help you gain the right perspective:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust, doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also."
-Matthew 6: 19-21
"...Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."