Question: What is the healthy and enlightened attitude to have towards my financial responsibility to my family? I find it hard to be at peace with the pressure of bills to pay. I can see how my mind is just reacting to anxious thoughts of dire circumstances that are not likely to come to pass, but of course, there are "real" consequences that can't be ignored.
Answer: There are certain rules along the path. One of them is that we must do the necessary interior work to first be good and responsible householders before we can hope to hold the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Everything is in scale and levels. God gives a man responsibility in direct proportion to his willingness to accept it.
(A past chatroom exchange)
Question: On the householder's path, I sometimes find it difficult to stop doing the mental work and start doing the mundane day to day tasks. Any suggestions for getting the same enthusiasm in earning our daily bread?
Answer: Life gives us back moment to moment what we give to it… nothing more, nothing less. Give yourself to Truth as best you can in the midst of your everyday work. Come back to yourself. Be awake. Then your work will not only reward you as its nature is intended to -- i.e., earnings -- but you will earn the contentment that only comes as payment for your wish to be increasingly self-conscious.
(A past chatroom exchange)
Question: How can one possibly deal with the outer world's daily duties, and still strive to go deep into the inner world to find peace?
Answer: Diving into the outer world with all of its daily obligations, and striving to go deeply into one's self are not contradictory ideas. Our present mind sees it this way, but when we will work with true principles, it is right in the midst of the storms that we discover shelter. This shelter has always been there, only waiting to be entered as we see that all storms are self-creations.
Excerpted from Seeker's Guide to Self-Freedom, Page 196
Question: I think that I am on the road to enlightenment, but my thoughts would lead me to believe that only the holiest of holies could ever reach that state, and it is not readily achievable to a parent having to work and raise a family. How do I recognize my progress?
Answer: While it is true the awakened life that attends self-realization may not be for the masses, nothing about this truth precludes the possibility of a good householder establishing a relationship with God/Truth. Anyone who would have you believe that a good, innocent, and holy life is beyond your reach is himself out of touch with reality. Life places each and every one of us in precisely the conditions we need to learn the lessons required for our awakening. Covet no one else's life. Work to uncover the truth that awaits you within your own. And as far as how to recognize your progress is concerned, don't look for growth. When we actually do change our nature, one of the first changes in us is that we are freed from thinking about ourselves at all in terms of being "better" or "worse."
Excerpted from Seeker's Guide to Self-Freedom, Page 251