” Examine yourself to see whether you have within you a strong sense of your own self importance, or negatively, whether you have failed to realise that you are nothing. This feeling of self-importance is deeply hidden, but it controls the whole of our life. It’s first demand is that everything should be as we wish it, and as soon as this is not so we complain to God and are annoyed with people”
St Theophan the Recluse
I have always been a dreamer. A romantic. I have always craved the perfect life. Although, my spiritual inclinations were overwhelming, they never erased my desire for the material. In time, I learnt to reconcile this with the fact that the material was the bridge to the spiritual. Indeed our response to physical things and circumstances was a reflection of our inner condition. And that the material world was not separate from the spiritual but an extension of it. Our soul had taken human form to cultivate its awareness of, and experience itself .
Entrepreneurialism was unconscious altruism. Through business and the spirit of enterprise I and countless others have satisfied the material needs of countless more through creating jobs and so on. The creation of wealth is the elimination of poverty. More profits, should mean more taxes. Which should mean better hospitals, better schools and better communities.
Although, the creation of wealth manufactures a better society it does not necessarily produce cultivation of character in the wealth creator himself. On the contrary, success often leads to arrogance and an inflated sense of self importance. This lust for the material has become all pervasive across the entirety of the social spectrum. We have become ravenous consumers. We are conceived by the powers that be not as thinking, feeling human beings capable of pain and suffering but numbers on a computer screen.
It is said that gratitude is the greatest of all human emotions. Psychiatrists add that it is the only emotion whereby one cannot be depressed at the same time as experiencing it. However, there is something more than gratitude. Which is appreciation. Gratitude is the feeling that we have overcome or avoided something negative. Whereas appreciation is a condition of growth. When we appreciate something, we bless it, we engender its’ growth. In the English language to appreciate means to increase. Appreciation is more than gratitude. It is a divine condition. It is the ever extending nature of the Universe itself. Constantly in a state of expanse of appreciation. In fact all that is is constantly creating or appreciating. Therefore, when we are in the state of appreciation we are in alignment with all that is.
Our failure to appreciate life leads us to seek compensation in superficial pleasures or carnal pursuits. We begin to feel cheated by life. We feel envy towards those whom we conceive to be wealthier, happier, more successful, more popular or even more holy than us. We begin to treat things and people with disrespect. So much so that we become abusers of the Creation, forgetting that it is the architecture of God.