Watch this video, pay particular attention to the QUALITY of the souls here, not the dogma and theology involved:
Honestly, people like the anchorites described here freak me out (in a good way). India has a long, long tradition of wandering fakirs, hermits and sadhus which I’m sure many of you have heard of or seen if you’ve ever visited India.
Likewise Tibet also has a long tradition of yogis, monks or nuns going into seclusion for long-term meditation. Fewer and fewer of them exist with each passing year and the sad part is as they go, so do the teachings as well, since much of their insight is not based on dogma and jargon but rather direct experience.
However, I had no idea that anchorite monks and nuns still existed in the Orthodox world. Whenever I hear about such pure souls like these, it makes me wonder how they can still exist in this age of globalization, instant gratification, nuclear bombs and digital communication. How they can literally devote their entire life to contemplate and attempt to understand the Infinite in solitude and in remoteness.
It got me wondering about the nature of genuine spiritual seeking and I’m pretty sure there are different levels of it. In my opinion, the demarcation line is, without question, the market economy. I know I’ve gotten flack for this in past blog posts but you simply cannot mix spirit with money. I firmly believe that. It was what was taught to me by my first teacher back in Cappadocia as well as the Native Elders I spent time with in Canada and the US. If you do, it won’t last for very long and there’s always inevitably some blow-back. But the very fact that it doesn’t last long should also signal right away the level of authenticity and genuineness involved. It’s like fast-food for the soul. It satiates the hunger for like a minute but the hunger comes back even stronger than ever after a while.
Sure, you can sell your abilities, do tarot readings, astrology readings, psychic channelings, yoga classes which emphasize stretching instead of hard-core Vedanta, books based on your insights if you’ve got an aptitude and talent for it or suggest donations for services rendered, but I don’t think you can sell genuine and authentic teachings which usually come from very deep, painful and hard-won experiences and you certainly can’t sell such intensely personal experiences. They either happen to you or they don’t. You either get it or you don’t. When I watch the people who yell the loudest, “Why not?”, I can almost guarantee you’re probably dealing with someone who can’t even imagine a life which exists outside of the capitalist market economy. Yes, I get it, we have to eat, but we’re not just animals trying to eke out a life. I think we’re more than that.
This isn’t going to be an anti-capitalist rant. My own anarchist inclinations and sympathies are pretty evident to those of you who have been reading this blog for a while now. Maybe I’ll write in another blog post why I’m an anarchist, but I really do think anarchy is the only system we’ve got which acknowledges human beings as creatures with spiritual and social potentials to be fulfilled, not just economic ones. Minds far greater than mine have already written about how radical a philosophy capitalism is and how in its extreme forms eats up everything in sight, all resources, water, land, air, human beings, bodies, life, love, sex, food, shelter, everything and the obsession of infinite growth, infinite productivity and infinite profits eventually starts cannibalizing on itself. We’re already seeing it happen. When a society enters that stage, life and society becomes unbelievably coarse and human life isn’t worth a hill of beans.
The thing with authentic spirituality is that it leads you away from this world, from an existence which is based on a material, mathematically deterministic Cartesian model towards something which very often cannot be quantified and pinned down. Capitalism is its purest form, engulfs you even deeper into the material and physical. There’s literally no room for the soul there. Therein lies the conflict.
Sure, there are many things which money can’t buy, but have you ever noticed they’re usually the first qualities to be missing in a person who is so utterly engulfed in the material, they don’t even “see” what they’re lacking? The lack of manners, character, decency, class, integrity and moral fortitude? Unfortunately, these types are everywhere.
Ultimately, it is about what is negotiable and what is non-negotiable in your own life and your own spiritual journey. The only thing I can add is that when it comes to matters of the spirit, there are some things which are non-negotiable, no matter how you cut it.