Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Greed

Greed drives us toward external objects, conquests, symbols, status, or money to fill a void within us: the emptiness of our egoism. This ego edifice we build, this grand construction of who we are, this false self-image, when pricked, shows its true colors. Look just beneath its surface and you see nothing there. We desperately try to assuage that insatiable emptiness in a futile attempt to mask our inner abyss with concrete material goods and symbols.

But that ego emptiness reflects the true emptiness inside us: the real void that opens to the depths through which the voice of God approaches us. Greed cannot console that void, nor even approach it. This points toward transforming our greed from grasping at external fulfillment to searching for inner fulfillment, the only true fulfillment, to open our channel to the depths, to a genuine love for those around us and for God.

But even here, the insidious temptation to grasp enters. Spiritual greed runs after states and experiences, wants spiritual status so that we can brag or preen in front of others or to ourselves. Of course, this is just another absurd, ego-centered distortion of true spirituality. We cannot extract wages from God, like a day laborer. We seek a simple life in the spirit for its own sake; love is its own reward. Only the depths of the spirit can fill our emptiness and offer true contentment, as greed transforms into active service for the benefit of our neighbor.

We all need a certain measure of material goods to sustain ourselves and our families. This very real need is a gate through which greed enters. How much is enough?


     

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