In case you did not hear the news, a young man was trampled to death on "black Friday" at a Wal-Mart in New York by more than two thousand people who broke down the doors at 5:00 AM in a mad rush to secure the best holiday deals for themselves. When we hear about events like this, a person can't help but wonder, "What in the world happened?"
The official excuse for what caused the mob to rush the store was that "someone cut in line." But, it's important to understand that an excuse is never an underlying cause. Excuses are merely symptoms of an unenlightened mind. If you want to measure the level of a person's spiritual development, measure the number of excuses he gives himself for the way he is, and you will know how far away he is from being a decent person. Decent men and women do not excuse the darkness that compromises them. So, why then do we continue to excuse ourselves for hurting each other?
Most of the products we buy in stores today are made by people who don't want to be there making them...which means very few things today are made with love. Only a very fortunate few work at jobs that they love. So why do many of us continue to work at jobs that we don't like? The simple answer is, "To make money, of course!" And that seems to make good sense, but it is far from the whole answer.
The secret value of money to the human mind, aside from its practical value of being a convenient way to provide basic clothing, food, and shelter, is that it validates who we are. Money validates our very being. It is the vehicle through which we hope to find peace, contentment, and security. The problem is that, in the end, the money we spend our entire lives pursuing does not free us. And how do we know that it does not free us? Because all of us -- from the richest person on earth to the poorest -- spend most of our time doing what we don't want to do, hoping for freedom in a future time that never quite arrives.
The simple fact is that who we really are cannot be validated by anything that we purchase. It is impossible. And the more we try, the more we find ourselves in the grip of the idea that since this possession did not validate me, the next, more expensive possession will validate me. This is part of a vicious cycle of fear and greed that propels the modern human mind to further its own agenda at the cost of anything, or anyone that gets in its way. The same cycle that caused the murder at Wal-Mart.