The first question:
A few months ago in the West I read a book by Lama Trungpa, entitled Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, and I got the impression that everything that could be done wrong, I was doing. Then I tried to be more alert, but by avoiding one pitfall I was constantly stepping into another, and so on.
Now my question is: would you be so kind as to speak about this subject of avoiding spiritual materialism?
I am not for avoiding anything in life – not even materialism. Life has to be transformed, not avoided. If you avoid life you will remain immature. Life is a great blessing, an opportunity to grow, a challenge, a constant challenge that helps awareness, centering, grounding. Nothing has to be avoided. That is the most ancient stupidity; man has been living under its shadow for so long that it has become almost part of his blood, his bones, his very marrow.
Materialism is perfectly good in its place. If there is matter, matter has to be absorbed in a total life view. It has not to be avoided; it has to be used as a steppingstone toward spirituality. There is no contradiction between materialism and spiritualism, although it has been told again and again for thousands of years. You have been conditioned so much – the conditioning has gone deep – that nobody ever thinks about it again. It is one of the greatest calamities that have happened to humanity.
Matter is the outer side of spirit; spirit is the inner side of matter. They are not separate. The outside and the inside cannot be separate, they are inseparable, they are inevitably together. Hence, a right vision, a total vision of life will be a synthesis, a synchronicity between matter and consciousness.
Materialism has its own beauty, its own significance, just as spiritualism has its own beauty. But don’t make “isms” out of them. Life is one – it is spiritual and material. In fact, to use the word and between spiritual and material is not right, but languages come from the past. Better will be to make one word out of the two: spirit-matter.
They are existing together in perfect harmony. In you they are existing together – your body, your mind, your soul, they are all existing in deep “at-onement,” attunement. There is a subtle rhythm. They are all part of one dance. The body is not against the soul – it is the temple of the soul.