Table of Contents

Money, the key to privilege

Love or money. Why not both? That's Leela's answer, from what I can gather. I just have to keep my priorities straight. My life has always been dedicated to making progress with love. Whenever I've had the choice I've chosen the spiritual quest over getting rich, or even comfortably middle class like my parents. Over the decades I've come to recognize an underlying principle. If I dedicate my life to love money will not be a problem. I'll have all I need and then some. From all I can gather by looking around, it doesn't seem to work the other way. Lives dedicated to money do not look like happy lives to me at any level of success.

Money is easy. Whenever I ask about money Leela gives me the equivalent of an eyeroll. Money is easy, don't ask me about money. Leela has nothing to say about money. It took a while for me to get it. I had to work it out on my own, though Leela was happy to confirm or deny my gropings. When I actually need it, the money will be there. Money's not a problem. Any time spent worrying or scheming about money is time better spent making progress with love. I've wasted an awful lot of time worrying and scheming about money. I'm grateful she hasn't fired me. It wasn't always easy. Before I connected with Leela, money was a legitimate concern. Money is the key to privilege. I learned some deep lessons about privilege when I went very briefly homeless because of my own deluded stubbornness. On the count of seven…

Abdication. Money and privilege are mental constructions: socially agreed conventions we all abide by because our culture runs on them. Money has no real value. It doesn't matter if it's in the form of a gold bar, cash, or credit in a bank. Those are all symbols of wealth, not the real wealth of food, shelter, security and so on up Maslow's hierarchy. You can give money away but no one gives privilege away because it can't be received. No one accumulates privilege except by having money and not spending it all. Privilege relies on having money in the bank and keeping it there. That's why winning the lottery is rarely if ever beneficial to the winner. If I move suddenly into a whole new zone with money I don't have the habits of saving and managing money that rich people have, the habits that helped them get rich and/or stay rich. But I can and did abdicate privilege. I started sleeping in my car parked on the street. Like some homeless dude, which I was very briefly. I now see it was an adventure Leela arranged for me so I could learn some valuable lessons. Two nights were enough to send me running for cover. I could see that even one more night would end me up in the system, courtesy of the police. I would have been forced to flag them down for help. There was no one else to turn to at night. Their options would not have been good even if they'd had the best of intentions.

Betrayed privilege. I abdicated privilege in a controlled way when I joined TH and his crew. I willingly abdicated the privilege of choosing for myself. That's standard operating procedure for spiritual teachers and an important reason not to have one. I gave up control of my life because I believed TH could make better choices. The key element was my willingness: it was my idea to give up control of my life. TH betrayed that sacred trust and damaged me psychologically. His betrayal caused uncontrollable trembling whenever I remembered it for decades. TH betrayed me by delegating the right I had willingly granted him to one of his disciples, a hapless guy who had an assignment: conduct unannounced raids on households in The Community and make everyone sit in a circle while he told them what was wrong with them. I was in bed with my girlfriend when he barged in, waking us at dawn on a Sunday. Neither of us could make out what he said. Then he was back with a big jar of water he dumped on us in bed, shouting I had to join the circle. I'm sorry to say I did. I was that brainwashed. For decades I had episodes of uncontrollable rage at that betrayal. That memory no longer provokes rage. It doesn't bother me anymore because wisdom healed the psychological damage. But it does give me insight about privilege.

Kids' stuff. Money was dreamed up by early farmers. The people who gave us the rest of human culture. Direct barter was awkward and inconvenient, and some genius came up with the notion of symbolic representation of value. Simply assigning value to something with no inherent value (you can't eat gold) to make barter work. Money is and always has always been a mental projection. As such, it's absurdly easy for wisdom to manipulate. Money is child's play.