There are moments that I look at myself with a cold eye and feel like I've wasted a lot of time, didn't take making a living serious enough, could have done better. That thinking doesn't last long. I remind myself that I have chosen time over money, not because I had something particular to do, but because I did not want to be a part of the rat race. Money the goal? That's not good enough for me. It could have been the overwhelming amount of attention paid to the preacher in the Baptist church, fundamentalist Southern Baptist, preacher so austere who went his own way that the Southern Baptist Association rejected him for membership year after year. He was a devout Bible scholar, self-taught. Scandinavian austerity characterized his life in the fields of the Lord. He was a powerful influence on my thinking. He made a good example for me of a man living his own integrity. Possibly it's from him I came to understand the importance of living by one's own integrity. It's from him, for sure, that I never developed an interest in "the world." That is, the world of commerce.
It was several years searching for a definition of "the world" that satisfied me as something that fits. Also, by now, I'm not so sure it is all that necessary to avoid "the world," to have a spiritual life. Interpreting "the world" as gambling casinos, beer joints, liquor stores, dance places, the easy ones that get focused on the most, I wanted to know what it really meant. I tend to think of the Bank as the world, wanting is of this world, and, of course, the 7 deadly sins. The greatest reason I can see for, as they say, turning one's back to the world, is so one's dying will be easier. I'm thinking as we study the ways of the spirit and live for inner satisfaction instead of body satisfaction called pleasure, when it is time to pass over to the other side, we're already in tune. It won't be such a big transition suddenly going from ego to spirit. In the place I'm at now, I feel like there is no difference between in the body and out of the body, except presence and absence of the body/ego. For somebody whose whole identity is in the ego, it can be a major loss to see it fall away. It's the spirit that travels from lifetime to lifetime, not the ego. The ego is particular to the body and its experiences. The body gives the soul a home, like a conch shell. The ego identifies with the body. I suppose it could be said the soul animates the body the way a hand animates a glove.
The ego and the soul make an interesting divide. If it is a divide. I suppose when the soul leaves the body, it leaves ego with the body. The soul gains its experiences through the ego. I, personally, don't have a problem with ego, in that I allow and guide my ego the best I can by my own ethical standard. We have varieties of ethical standards from person to person. Every one of us lives by our own. Some are developed, some are not. We're all mixed together of various and opposing ethical standards. Putin opposed the ethical standard of the Pussy Riot girls and they opposed his ethical standard. He has power, they do not. He's letting them wallow in the mud of understanding he has power over them. They do not have power over him. Naive youngsters who think outrageous is chic went a bit far challenging the power of a macho man thug with absolute power over them. He's of a generation that does not embrace rock, esp punk street protest rock in church. Of course he does not care anything for church, but his power base does.
What I've come to see is that "the world" is inside self, not outside, like a "house of sin." I recall from the documentary of raising a baby chimpanzee in an American suburban family to see how it developed. NIM. It's the saddest story of any I know. The "psychologist" behind the study concluded after treating the little thing like an object that when it learned sign language, all it did was say, "I want...." Whatever it was, spontaneous I want. Sees something, points and says, "I want..." By the end of the film I had nothing but revulsion for the psychologist. He was so involved in the trees he lost the forest. I've been watching a baby waking up from birth on to 14 months old and walking. Baby is paying attention to words and sounds, sees everything, likes to watch the wind blow through the trees. Baby wants everything she sees. She wants to hold it and look at it, see what it is, what it does. Without using the two words, she tends to start intent for a sentence with I want, either by gesture or vocal appeal. That's the beginning of the ego, I want. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. The first 30 years of our lives are about developing the ego. Ego works like ballast in a ship, keeps us grounded, keeps us upright.