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Sex and Money
Paul: Dear James, I know you like stories, so here is the latest in my epic battle with the vasanas.
(1) Relationships. I’ve been in touch with Shanti since the workshop. By coincidence she gave me a ride after the workshop and we agreed to be in touch from time to time and so we are, via Skype. Mostly we talk about Vedanta and there was a period where I felt – and where she agrees – that she was putting herself in the role of “teacher,” but after I objected and she gracefully accepted my objections, we are becoming friends. I like her a lot – she’s a gentle soul with a very good heart and besides that she’s pretty. There also appears to be some mutual attraction but I already know where that leads, unless inquired into, and so it goes. She does appear to have a burning desire for moksa, so she’s a good reminder to me to monitor my desire for moksa.
James: Yes, I love Shanti. Perhaps she has a bit of a case of enlightenment sickness or maybe she’s just enthusiastic with her “sharing.” I believe she will stick with her sadhana. It’s probably just enthusiasm. It’s interesting how the vasanas create “coincidences,” isn’t it? ☺ It seems you like the slender spiritual types.
Paul: (2) Money. As you know, I work in a very large company and I am pretty tired of it and if it weren’t for the fact that I still have about one million dollars on the table for which I need to stay another two years, I would be long gone and maybe just living a simple life. Anyway, I’m making the best of the work situation since, at least at present, it’s hard to walk away from the money. Perhaps some day it will let me go?
James: I could definitely suffer for two years for one million. Hang in there. The key is to decide how much is enough. The problem is that you get accustomed to luxury when you can be just as happy with very little. You have to plot your escape, not just go with the flow. When I went “spiritual” in my mid-twenties I figured I had enough money to last for five or six years, and I got the ascetic idea which meant that I taught myself to enjoy the basics. My mantra was “three square meals a day, a roof over my head and pocket money is all I need.” It was pretty easy, actually, because I was obsessed with enlightenment, so I didn’t notice that I was “doing without.” People used to admire me for it but it didn’t feel like virtue, just common sense. In our culture luxuries have become necessities. So don’t wait for “it” to let you go, develop the self-confidence to let go of it. Anyway, a guy as smart as you with the skills you have is never going to end up pushing a shopping cart full of aluminum cans to the recycling center. If you end up broke, ShiningWorld will give you job and see to it that you are fed and clothed. ☺ We need literate enlightened writers.
Paul: I think of you and Sundari often. Are you in Bend at present or in India? I just looked at the ShiningWorld website for an answer, but don’t see anything there about India although I believe I did.
James: Somebody gave us a nice donation, so instead of spending it on ShiningWorld, we spent it on a trip. We had two feet of snow in Bend. We’re in Oaxaca, Mexico, taking a much needed rest, sitting in the cafés, wandering around, sleeping in and generally enjoying the heck out of life.
~ With love, James