Material World

As someone pursing a spiritual path, why should I have any interest in earthly trappings? Shouldn’t I want naught and live in poverty? I’ve typically avoided participation within the world, why not continue doing so until I reach a monk-like state?

But you’re in the world. It’s like going to a movie and sitting the opposite way the entire time — or going to a restaurant and ordering nothing but water. Practice your discipline yes, but within the context of active participation. How is discipline necessary if you avoid everything? You can’t strengthen without resistance.

This world is the resistance by which you practice your discipline. To enjoy a game is to play it sincerely, following rules and considering other players. A game is unreal, yet it consumes your thoughts and emotions, it becomes the focus of all your effort. And so too must you engage with this life, fulfilling your role earnestly, playing your part.

But just as with a game, you must maintain an underlying sense of lightheartedness — do so by way of discipline. Foster detachment despite engagement. Preserve a lack of obsession while appreciating all. Sustain a tranquil mind amongst the turbulent. To apply discipline to all endeavors, one must first endeavor — so seek a path and pursue it.

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